When the global pandemic hit, online retailers had to accommodate Black Friday-levels of traffic. Huge sales spikes happened to everyday items, like toilet paper. There was a significant shift to online pickup orders, even in everyday tasks like grocery shopping. From bulk-buying to online shopping, people are changing what they're buying, when, and how.
The fact of the matter is, during these uncertain times, eCommerce has been keeping the economy running, while enabling businesses to reach customers around the globe. However, the growth of eCommerce is also bringing a wave of consumer data and confusion as to how to handle it. Things have changed. The way we shop has changed. And not all retailers have moved along with the change.
"The online shopping experience has changed in multiple ways," says Roland Gossage, CEO of GroupBy Inc. "One is the number of products people are having on their sites. The site size and complexity has gotten a lot larger and the larger it is, the harder it is to manage."
Now, more than ever, it's essential to understand buyer behavior. Intelligent search, relevant product details, and personalized recommendations can help retailers offer an intuitive, customized online buying experience. Today's customers not only want it-they expect it.
GroupBy Inc., a technology solutions company headquartered in Toronto, offers a well-rounded, feature-dense application that engages customers on a personal level by utilizing machine learning and data enrichment capabilities. The company provides a site, search solution for mid-tier to enterprise retailers. Founded in 2013, GroupBy serves customers in the United States and Canada.
"A lot of retailers have struggled with the move from selling a small assortment of products they have in store to actually selling more products online," he explains.
More products, while not a bad thing to have, can make it more difficult for customers to find things online, especially if there are many categories to choose from. Having software that can decipher what the user's intent is by their actions allows retailers to solve that problem.
That's exactly the service GroupBy offers to its eCommerce clients.
"Looking at the modern tools available, we never really in the past got to the promised land, but now, through technology, the machine can do a lot of the work. In other words, machine learning and artificial intelligence are now being applied," explains Gossage.
GroupBy features an application that delivers highly relevant and personalized customer experiences. By utilizing advanced machine learning and data enrichment capabilities, the company is able to bring eCommerce software to the modern age.
"Most retailers obviously came from traditional brick and mortar buildings. The early 2000s was the switch to online so a lot of people started to build online stores. The very early ones were very rudimentary but now they're rich in content, video, product descriptions, reviews and ratings," Roland Gossage says.
With so many moving parts on an eCommerce website, retailers want to be able to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience. What GroupBy provides is an easy to use "Google-esq" software for the retailer.
"We hide all that complexity and create a very easy user flow so that customers buy more from the retailer."
To break down the application, GroupBy's SaaS-based software provides features for data enrichment, search, navigation, personalization, merchandising, SEO, search autocomplete and CMS. GroupBy excels with complex, large-scale B2B configurations and in dynamic, high volume B2C scenarios.
Technology aside, customer experience has become one of the hottest topics in the eCommerce world. In fact, how a customer perceives a brand has a direct impact on the brand's sales. Satisfied customers tend to stay loyal to a brand and are more likely to recommend them to their friends and family.
For instance, a predictive, intelligent search will get customers exactly what they want and as quickly as possible. It will also increase the retailer's understanding of buyer behavior by providing insights into purchasing patterns and intentions based on what they've typed into the search field. Additionally, features like product filtering focuses on the particular product the buyer is searching for, and finds other items they might be interested in purchasing.
There's also something to be said about the power of personalization. Shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalized shopping, and that's why retailers should attempt to create a deeper engagement with their customers so they can get exactly what they want.
By investing in the right solutions to support customer experience functions, retailers are not only streamlining their websites, but they are also improving their bottom line. As people get used to spending longer periods of time at home, it will be interesting to see whether consumers will continue to shop online, or if they will want to get back out there to the brick and mortars
Whatever the outcome, retailers will need to continue to improve their eCommerce experience as the online way of shopping is here to stay.