Most retail leaders say AI plays an important role in search strategies: survey

2024/03/22 Innoverview Read

Dive Brief:

  • More than a quarter of retail leaders foresee AI expanding its role in search experiences in 2024, according to a survey of 1,100 senior business and IT retail decision-makers released Monday by Algolia and Coleman Parkes Research.

  • Three in 5 leaders believe AI has an important role to their business’s search strategy, while just 4% say that AI isn’t an important consideration at all. Respondents cited improved accuracy and relevance as the two biggest roles AI can play in search.

  • AI will also enhance search personalization. A majority of leaders said they already personalize search results based on customer preferences and behavior, and nearly one-third of those who don’t currently personalize search results plan to do so in the next 12 months.

Dive Insight:

AI-powered search is hitting the mainstream, with retailers including Walmart and Victoria’s Secret rolling out the technology to enable new digital shopping experiences.

AI-powered search works best when it’s augmenting existing search experiences beyond what was previously possible, according to Kassi Socha, director analyst of marketing at Gartner. 

The technology can recommend products based on where a shopper is on their journey or the challenges they are trying to solve, Socha said. One example is fashion brand Zalando’s AI assistant, which can offer outfit recommendations based on information like the occasion at which it will be worn.

"That is when the power of generative AI comes to life within the search experience," Socha told sister publication CX Dive.

The key to ensuring AI-powered search has a significant positive impact is thinking about the customer first, Socha said. AI should enrich the customer journey, whether it is enhancing the search experience or enabling better personalization.

“Retailers who are spending time to think about the use cases that would enhance the customer experience — not just make operational efficiencies come to life for the organization as a whole — are those that are winning with consumers,” Socha said.

(Copyright: RetailDive Most retail leaders say AI plays an important role in search strategies: survey | Retail Dive)