ODOSCOPE post product-lists-made-relevant

Suppose a user visits your online store for the first time and looks for inspiration. All he knows is that he wants to buy something, but not exactly what yet. He clicks on one of the categories in the menu and ends up in one of the product lists. Will he find relevant products there? Unfortunately, the answer in most cases is “no”. The result: potential customers leave your shop without buying your products.

Optimization potential of product lists

A Baymard Institute usability study of 19 leading international e-commerce sites found that 67 to 90% of users bounce from e-commerce sites with mediocre product list usability. In contrast, only 17 to 33% of users bounced from e-commerce sites with optimized product lists, even though they were searching for the same products. This equates to a four-figure number of lost leads for shop owners! The authors also describe how many sites use a fundamentally flawed “one size fits all- approach”. This makes it much harder for users to find relevant products.

These findings are consistent with our own experience. Our internal data shows that 70% of people use product lists. But only 35% find a product that is relevant to them. This equates to a 50% error rate. So for many retailers, the likelihood of a purchase from a product list is like a coin flip.

To beat the competition, every corner of the online shop is optimized: Product descriptions, product images, their names and alt tags, internal links, landing pages, etc. Unfortunately, the product listings, which are the “shop window”, are often neglected. As we have seen, there is a lot of untapped potential in this area. The product list is the digital counterpart to the product display in the physical store and is considered the hidden champion in e-commerce.

Product list sorting according to seller relevance is not enough

Unfortunately, many online retailers are still lagging far behind this trend. They often present the same product lists to all their visitors. These are usually sorted according to the top sellers for all customers in the respective country. Some retailers also place products with a higher margin (e.g. private labels) at the top of their product lists. In the worst case, however, these are less relevant from the user’s point of view than branded articles with a lower retail margin.

Many inspiration-seeking visitors therefore quickly leave the shop again. In the worst case, they continue browsing in a competitor’s online shop. The problem is that up to now, shop operators had no way of displaying individualized product lists for both unknown users and long-standing regular customers.

Individually relevant content through situationalization

With situationalization, i.e. the use of situational data, you can solve this problem. Thanks to a real-time AI-technology, a Customer Engagement Platform is able to execute all processes from analysis to display of product lists within 20 milliseconds. Situational tracking data from the data warehouse serves as the basis for displaying individually relevant content.

Features such as referrer, channel, device, browser or anonymous location of the visitor have a high influence on the visitor’s shopping behavior. For example, you can display the most relevant products to an Android user from New York directly in the first place, without needing personal data from him or her.

Subsequent analyses take user interactions with the content into account. This results in a constantly optimized feedback loop. Like personalized shelves, you can show each visitor the most relevant products in the product lists – adapted in real time to their current shopping situation. This allows you to target even unknown users.

The system only needs situational data to individualize your online shop.

Full automation for work relief and cost savings

In contrast to conventional, manual product list maintenance, the ODOSCOPE CEP works fully automatized. This way, online retailers save considerable effort and reduce their costs for maintaining product lists. This allows shop managers and product owners to focus on strategic issues instead of reordering products or coordinating these activities several hours a week (→ read more on AI-powered merchandising).

However, you remain in full control of your online shop. A control panel gives you a constant overview of all optimisation measures. You can also easily integrate your company’s own business logic. With just a few clicks, you can increase the weighting of your objectives in the individual redesign of product lists (e.g. strengthening own brands or increasing conversions).

Highest performance values and shop visitors who stay, buy more and come back confirm this approach. You achieve a 20% increase in sales and more through more relevant content.

Integration of further data sources & personas

But apart from situational data, a Customer Engagement Platform is also able to use other data sources for optimization. This can be data from your CRM, ERP or PIM. This means that information about the customer’s purchase history, stock levels or product return rates can be incorporated into the optimization of content. Also personal data of the customers can be integrated.

Many e-commerce companies also work with buyer personas of their users. Personas are idealised groups of people with specific characteristics or usage patterns. In this way, the marketing or product team should focus more on the concrete user needs. With the help of a Customer Engagement Platform such as ODOSCOPE, these long-term developed personas can be enriched with situational data, i.e. become even more concrete. The shop with its content – product lists, product detail pages, etc. – becomes even more relevant for the specific user.

However, the integration of other data sources and personas is as different from company to company as the tools and interfaces used. Please feel free to contact us, so we can analyze your individual requirements and increase the success of your online shop together. We are already working successfully with many companies. For example with PETER HAHN or asambeauty. In our case studies you learn how companies like them use ODOSCOPE to increase their sales and reduce their costs at the same time.

Originally published by Sabine Lassauer, ODOSCOPE: 5.2.2018 – last update: 15.09.2023