Agency X Podcast: Improving Customer Experience Using Product Discovery with Gina Yuter, Partnership Manager at Syte
Quick Summary This week, John had the pleasure of picking Gina's brain about all things Syte, the leading product discovery platform for eCommerce. They talk about how product discovery works, its applications, and the importance of customer experience in eCommerce.
Below is a transcription of the highlights from our podcast episode featuring Gina Yuter. If you’d rather listen to the episode, it can be found here.
Introducing Gina Yuter & Syte
Gina 2:25 - 2:55 I'm a partnership manager at Syte, so I'm working in partnerships and partnering with digital marketing agencies, system integrators, consultancies, and VC and equity firms, really to create and build these partnerships and to help them provide innovative solutions for their clients to increase online conversions and boost customer lifetime value. Then on the partnership side, obviously, to build awareness of our companies, through co-marketing opportunities and events.
Overview of Syte
Gina 4:04 - 5:16 Every customer, when they're coming on to a website, wants to feel that the product options that are being offered to them are really being tailored to their likes, to their needs, and to their wants. With eCommerce retailers at the moment fighting for customer brand loyalty and retention, it's really vital that they're able to meet the shopping needs of their customers in that shopping session.
Customer experience at the end of the day is the real differentiator between brands. You get good customer experience, and then you get great customer experience. Retailers can't today just offer free shipping or nice packaging, as the customer won't even experience that if the product discovery journey that they experienced wasn't seamless and enjoyable.
Retailers really need to think about every step of the way, even if you know a customer hasn't actually voiced the needs yet because then it can truly show that the brand understands them. At Syte, I think that's something that we pride ourselves in offering–this personalized and seamless customer experience. Because we're actually seeing the results from the product, where brands are seeing, on average, an increase in online conversion rates of around 177%.
Industries Syte Works With
Gina 14:06 - 14:53 We focus on the industries of fashion and apparel, furniture, and jewelry. Our visual AI algorithm has been trained very deeply within these industries. We're working with a lot of merchants that have a significant amount of SKUs, so around 400 to 500 SKUs. We're also working with merchants that are starting from around 100,000 monthly views on traffic on their website per month, because we want to understand the usage that the customers will be interacting or engaging with Syte on the actual website.
The Importance of Customer Experience
John 5:30 - 6:07 You're trying to offer things like free shipping, or expedited shipping, which is important. But that's mandatory, you need to do that anyway in most cases, especially to be competitive. But you want to be able to delight customers, you want to be able to provide them with that personalized experience before they even get to check out, before they even try your product.
The quicker you can develop that loyalty and provide a great customer experience at every single touchpoint, the more likely you're going to retain that customer in the long term because that first experience was amazing.
John 12:53 - 13:39 Merchants really focus on shipping, right, they're really focused on the logistics problems that they may have. But sometimes that's not the number one problem for a customer. People want things as soon as possible, but that might not be the number one thing that's driving a conversion, and it might not even be the number one thing that's retaining customers.
If you have a really amazing product and amazing customer experience, and they're able to find your products, that might be even more important than the logistics side of it. So really trying to understand your customers and also engaging with them and asking them questions is great to do. And then utilizing technology like Syte can really help support some of your goals there.
What is Product Discovery?
Gina 6:42 - 7:46 Product discovery is relatively new, but I guess the simplest way to explain what it is, is the route that a shopper takes when going about trying to find a product online. We typically find when shoppers do come online, someone either is very set on finding a particular item, or they could also just be browsing around. In both cases, the product discovery process and journey should really be as personalized and unique as possible for each type of shopper, because no two shoppers shop the same.
We really believe that product discovery is the gateway to the entire customer shopping experience because when it's done right, product discovery is personalized, it's intuitive. It's basically understanding what your shoppers are looking for before they even put it down into words. So if you're able to match up the right customers with the right products at the right time, and that's really everything. Now we can do that with these new emerging technologies that create the most effective infrastructure and intuitive customer experiences for product discovery, and that's what we're doing through visual AI.
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How Does it Work?
Gina 9:09 - 10:30 Search on a site is very reliant on the metadata that exists on that site, and that metadata is reliant on how a product catalog is tagged. So today, a lot of retailers are manually tagging their product catalogs, it's very time-consuming. It's not standardized. It's a lot of manual labor, and a lot of the time that’s neglected. Your search engine can actually only be as good as what exists in the product tagging.
What Syte is doing is because we're using visual AI, we're able to scan thousands of images in a product catalog really quickly. We deep tag each attribute that is associated with an item in an image, so we're automatically doing deep tagging for you. Then we also provide the text search. So because we're enriching the metadata that's on the site, your text search will be a lot more relevant and accurate when you're actually searching for something online. So for example, if you want to find a pair of jeans, but they're high-waisted, ripped, and stone washed, you could literally put that exact terminology in the search bar and Syte would be able to find that for you.
What Do the Real World Applications Look Like?
Gina 17:31 - 19:20 Shoppers come to websites for multiple reasons, right? Today, I might be coming onto the site to shop for myself. But next week, I might be shopping for my mother's birthday present. So the ability for the retailer to understand what I'm doing on that website in that moment will really elevate the customer experience that I'm having, and would also influence whether I would come back to that site.
That's exactly what Syte’s doing. We're hyper relevant and understanding the intention of why a customer is shopping at that exact moment on a retailer's website. So earlier I mentioned, you know that we're using a visual AI technology to deep tag all the different product images. And that's why when we can see that someone's looking at a product, we can actually understand on a granular level the reasons why shoppers are looking at different products, and what could maybe interest them.
For example, if I'm looking at a black shirt, it's not necessarily just a black shirt. I could be looking at it because it's buttoned-down, or it has a pocket or its formal wear, or it's cotton material. So there are many reasons why I could be looking at the shirt. The personalized recommendations that Syte is actually providing are a lot more relevant and intuitive in really trying to understand the shoppers needs and wants at that moment.
Our brands are actually experiencing a higher lifetime value uplift of around 32.4% than their website average after one month. So it's really showing that we can see that the customer experience that the shoppers are having on these websites is really what's causing them to return to the brand's website.
Gina 22:09 - 22:56 At the beginning of corona, we actually were working with a few furniture companies, and they came to us and said, “Now that no one's coming into our store, no one's looking at our brochures, we aren't able to hand these out. We've built these beautiful rooms with our interior designers, and there's just no way to monetize it. So how can we do this?”
One feature that we have in our visual discovery suite is called shop the room. And what we're able to do is take those beautifully made up rooms in an image and using the visual AI technology, we multi tag all the different objects, and you’re really able to shop the room in one place. So it's a really cool feature. We've actually seen really, really high conversion rates and our furniture companies are really happy.