News Briefs

03/31/2022

Google’s Cloud Brings User Intent to Brand E-com Search

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lowe's

Retailers including Lowe’s, Fnac Darty, and Casas Pernambucanas are leveraging Google Cloud’s new technology to improve website and mobile app search experiences.

The tech, which became widely available this week, is built on Google’s technologies to understand user intent and context. For example, when a consumer searches for a “long black dress with short sleeves and comfortable fit” on an e-commerce site, they will immediately get results for that item, according to Google.

This fully managed service is customizable and features advanced query understanding for better results from broad queries and non-product searches; semantic search to effectively match product attributes with website content; optimized results that leverage user interaction and ranking models to meet specific business goals; and security and privacy measures to ensure retailer data is isolated with access controls to delivers search results on their own properties.

[See also: Nike’s Apps Rocket Fuel for Growth]

“With limited customer signals and no historical data, descriptive long-tail searches are some of the most challenging queries to understand,” added Neelima Sharma, senior VP, technology, e-commerce, marketing and merchandising at Lowe’s. “We have been partnering with Google Cloud to give our customers relevant results for long-tail searches and have seen an increase in click-through and search conversion and a drop in our ‘No Results Found’ rate since we launched.”

"Making constant improvements to our website search engines has always been a priority for us as we aim to give our customers a simpler, more customized and enhanced online shopping experience,” said Olivier Theulle, Fnac Darty's chief ecommerce and digital officer. “As we implement Google Cloud’s site search solution on our Fnac Darty websites and are the first French retailer to do so, we expect the solution to deliver increased conversion rates while also offering greater customer satisfaction.”

Fabiano Rustice, CIO at Pernambucanas, said the retailer recorded a 20% reduction in search refinements per user on Black Friday 2021, the largest retail date in Brazil.

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03/30/2022

EnsembleIQ Named ‘Best Place to Work in Chicago’

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EnsembleIQ Comparably award

Parent company of CGT, EnsembleIQ, has been named a “Best Place to Work in Chicago” based on a survey of company employees. Comparably included EnsembleIQ in its ranking due to the company’s outstanding culture and leadership.

EnsembleIQ received “A” level grades for its company leadership, office culture, and overall team. Survey analysis revealed 95% of employees look forward to interacting with co-workers; 81% report they are happy with their work-life balance; 95% are proud to be part of the company; and many employees commonly receive constructive criticism or positive feedback every week.

Comparably awards are derived from sentiment ratings anonymously provided by employees about their workplaces, and winners are determined based on 20 core culture metrics — ranging from work-life balance and environment to compensation and career growth.

EnsembleIQ chief executive officer Jennifer Litterick said, “This study clearly shows that EnsembleIQ employees appreciate our positive culture and strong corporate values. Our employees are the foundation of our business, and I am proud to collaborate with them as we drive growth by delivering actionable business intelligence and connections to business professionals and solution providers in the retail, healthcare and hospitality markets.”

In recent years, EnsembleIQ leadership has transformed the organization into a North American business intelligence company. This has included rebuilding the company’s executive leadership team to include financial, people, operations and content, and communications executives — all especially focused around innovation. 

The company also has created a performance-based culture; recruited high-performing employees from diverse backgrounds with high levels of information services, technology, and emotional intelligence; bolstered morale through new people programs that help connect employees with each other; and provided strong leadership development programs and a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. 

All of these factors have significantly contributed to the evaluation by employees that has resulted in Comparably honoring EnsembleIQ as a “Best Place to Work in Chicago.”

“An organization’s culture starts at the top,” said Comparably CEO Jason Nazar. “According to feedback from employees at EnsembleIQ, they believe their CEO is an extraordinary leader who is creating an excellent workplace culture.”

EnsembleIQ — North America’s leading source of insightful information and actionable connections in retail, healthcare and hospitality — is headquartered in Chicago, also operates out of a Toronto office, and includes team members working remotely throughout the U.S. and Canada. 

03/30/2022

Stride Rite Overhauling Digital Experience, Focusing on Personalization and Enhanced Site Search

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Stride Rite storefront

Children’s footwear brand Stride Rite, under the Vida Shoes International umbrella, is looking to evolve its e-commerce growth strategy and reshape the consumer shopping experience. 

To do so, it has tapped Searchspring, which will create e-commerce campaigns and enhance site search, product recommendations, and personalized experiences across the brand’s e-commerce platform. 

Stride Rite is also redesigning its navigation taxonomy to optimize for conversion and mobile viewing, using tech from CQL to create a website with growth and scalability in mind. The website itself runs on Shopify Plus. 

[Related: Stride Rite Fit Zone Growing Retail Footprint]

According to Brian McManus, executive vice president of Vida Shoes International, Stride Rite’s technical complexity is growing rapidly alongside its expanding list of digital features. 

“Stride Rite’s newly launched tech stack, designed for future growth and stability, lowers our total cost of ownership significantly and empowers our e-commerce teams to focus on content, marketing, and acquisition to cultivate deeper relationships with our customers,“ he added.

This article first appeared on the site of sister publication, RIS. 

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03/29/2022

Snowflake Expands AWS Relationship with Demand Forecasting Improvements

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Amazon Web Services logo

Data cloud company Snowflake is expanding its relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS), to improve demand forecasting and delivery for the retail and CPG industries. 

Customers will now be able to natively access Amazon purchase order (PO) data and Amazon Forecast generated insights from Snowflake’s Retail Data Cloud to better identify variances in product demand and plan for manufacturing and delivery lead times. 

Through this technology, users can leverage brand-level and fulfillment center-level forecasts, and access new data from third-party data providers within the Retail Data Cloud, from Snowflake’s single, integrated platform. 

[Read more: Five Innovations to Improve CPG & Retailer Collaboration in 2022]

Capabilities include the following:

  • Import Amazon PO data into Snowflake to better access, govern, and share data seamlessly across the organization.
  • Improve forecast accuracy using machine learning models from Amazon Forecast to create accurate time-series forecasts to predict demand for variable vendor purchase orders weeks ahead of time.
  • Track product weight or dimension changes to ensure they adhere to manufacturer standards.
  • Improve on-time in-full (OTIF) metrics to enhance organic ranking on Amazon.com, reduce chargeback expenses, and help ensure products are in-stock for consumers to buy.
  • Match correct probabilistic forecasts with SKU sales velocity to help ensure key products will stay in stock and improve revenue.

Rosemary Hua, global head of retail and CPG at Snowflake, said that today’s retail and CPG companies are looking for accurate, efficient, and timely tech solutions that positively impact their bottom lines.

“Amazon.com has revolutionized how retail and CPG businesses sell and deliver to consumers and, similarly, Snowflake has had a profound impact on empowering businesses to optimize their operations and seamlessly collaborate on data,” she added. “Together, Snowflake and AWS can streamline data-driven inventory management for items sold on Amazon.”

03/28/2022

The Honest Company Launches One-Click Checkout

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Honest company

The Honest Company has updated its e-commerce site, now allowing consumers to check out with one click. 

Using technology from online checkout company Fast, the Honest Company is providing consumers with the ability to purchase its products directly from online articles, display ads, emails, and QR codes via one step. The partnership was announced during ShopTalk, and will allow Honest consumers to quickly replenish their products by inputting their payment and shipping information once. 

Honest will also be adding QR codes to its product packaging to allow consumers to more easily reorder their preferred items. 

Fast Checkout is directly embedded on product detail pages on the company’s website, allowing buyers to bypass the shopping cart and subsequent checkout flow. If consumers wish to make additional purchases, they will have an opportunity to do so during the Fast Checkout process. These items are added to the original order, eliminating packaging waste and extra shipping costs. 

Pete Gerstberger, chief digital and strategy officer at The Honest Company, said that the company is evolving to meet the needs and preferences of its consumers. 

[Related: Pete Gerstberger Named Chief Digital & Strategy Officer at The Honest Company]

"Our goal every day is to make it as easy as possible for consumers to discover and purchase our products, while delivering the experience they know and expect from us,” he added. “By implementing Fast's one-click checkout, we're providing consumers another way to shop with us at the click of a button, no matter where they are."

Domm Holland, co-founder and CEO at Fast, said the tech upgrade makes it easier for the Honest Company consumers to order and reorder products, whether via the e-commerce store or a QR scan. 

03/25/2022

Purple Innovation Taps Previous Skullcandy Exec, Jeff Hutchings, for First-Ever CIO Role

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Jeff headshot

Purple Innovation, Inc has named Jeff Hutchings chief information officer, a newly created role that will support the mattress company’s growth plans and innovation acceleration. 

Previously the chief product officer at Skullcandy Inc., Hutchings will leverage his decades-long background in corporate tech, engineering management, product strategy and development starting May 1 at the company’s Lehi, Utah, headquarters. Hutchings will report directly to Rob DeMartini, who was appointed chief executive officer in March 2022. 

[Related: From Mattresses to Invoice Mastery: How Purple Automated Accounts Payable]

Prior to Skullcandy Inc., Hutchings held various roles at car technology company HARMAN International. He stated that joining Purple “presents a unique opportunity to create meaningful impact within the health and wellness industry, helping improve lives and reinventing comfort for consumers."

"I am thrilled to announce that Jeff Hutchings will be joining Purple as our chief innovation officer, bringing his deep experience in leading product strategy and development across different channels to spearhead Purple's innovation journey," said Rob DeMartini, Purple's chief executive officer. "I am confident that Jeff will strengthen our team at Purple and help lead us with innovative new products to help drive growth."