Artificial intelligence is now more accessible than ever, and the pilfering of customer data to boost AI-powered product recommendations isn’t just an Amazonian tool, as more and more direct-to-consumer brands are leveraging this data to improve conversion.
Amazon sits atop a culture of innovation using machine learning, deep learning and artificial intelligence, not all of which was developed in-house, as the technological infrastructure that forever jolted e-commerce. Having the guts to fail forward and define a new landscape with the customer, and content, as king is unignorable and reverberations are still felt among fashion e-tailers, small and large.
The product review feature reel captures user-generated content, wherein anyone who shopped a product and had the time to provide their feedback becomes either a good faith testimonial or scathing blast to brand loyalty; it’s similar to word-of-mouth, yet it’s Internet-friendly, and it provides quick confidence to online shoppers.
And in two separate surveys, online customer reviews are seen to generate trust and inform purchasing decisions. As eMarketer reported from Bizrate Insights data earlier this year, nearly 25 percent always referenced reviews, 40.8 percent often referenced reviews and 25.6 percent occasionally looked at online reviews. Separately, BrightLocal, a search results focused company aiding small business, spotlighted in a survey from last year that eight in 10 U.S. Internet users “generally trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”
Increasingly direct-to-customer brands are leveraging technology to contextualize purchases with user-generated content. Raising $101 million in funding and employing more than 300 employees globally, Yotpo is one cloud-based marketing solution tapping into user-generated content as a source for garnering customer loyalty and referrals while aiming to advance customer lifetime value with its advancements in smart filters, recently launching its Yotpo Focus suite of widgets for e-commerce usage.
As an official partner to Google, Facebook, Shopify and Magento, companies such as Yotpo aim to differentiate themselves from Amazon by semantic grouping — ensuring brands don’t display multiple variations of the same topic filters, thereby consolidating similar terms such as “cost” and “price” which are for the most part viewed as one item in the minds of the end-consumer. Similarly, their proprietary technology employs machine learning to test and optimize the best topics and reviews for prominent display onsite, serving as a highlight reel for products.
Justifying a need to cut through the noise and chase the celebrity appeal, the use of smart filters, such as provided by Yotpo, serves valuable to customers who are seeking exact product recommendations from their social media outlets, perhaps spotting a pair as they scroll through the imagery on their feed. With “A-list celebrity” clientele, such as Cardi B and the Kardashians, Fashion Nova, the privately owned Los Angeles-based “ultra-fast fashion” company, is known for blistering into digital resonance with tight-fitting and affordable fashion – and 14 million Instagram followers to match.
E-commerce ruled by social media means demand is resurgent, and the products are many. Following this landscape of fast and even faster fashion, direct-to-consumer brands such as Fashion Nova now employ its own AI smart filters, in addition to now listing a few products on Amazon, despite an earlier WWD article wherein Fashion Nova’s chief executive officer and founder Richard Saghian said, “[They] don’t need to work with Amazon.”
Regardless of whether they need to work with Amazon, DTC brands should think like Amazon in order to stay current, and one way is through this smart filtering and user-generated content in the form of product reviews.
And with recent data from Texas-based bridal and formalwear e-commerce business, Revelry, the deployment of two AI-powered widgets, including the smart filters and user review highlight streams generated 59.8 percent engagement rate and a 7.6 percent conversion rate, with 97.4 percent of total sales being from customers that engaged with Yotpo widgets.
Through the widgets, LauraLee Baird, head of marketing and brand specialist at Revelry, spoke of the added “confidence in our brand and products,” and utility for customers who don’t have “to comb through numerous reviews on site.” Other companies employing AI-powered review features include Away, Glossier and MVMT watches among other newcomers.