Ecommerce Expo 2023 came and went! The Nosto team spoke to tons of exciting brands and we were delighted to see our keynote session, Growing shopper engagement and online revenue with intelligent product discovery, attract a full house. During this session, we dug into the concept of intelligent product discovery. We welcomed our clients, Dermalogica and Casio, to speak about how they’ve been succeeding and innovating in this space.
Here are our highlights from the talk.
Leveraging Smart Merchandising
To set the stage, our very own Phil Gregory, Regional Head of Customer Experience at Nosto, explained the essence of intelligent product discovery. Phil explained how this combines AI, machine learning, and data analytics to ensure that shoppers find the exact products they are looking for, and by analyzing factors such as brand preferences, color choices, and purchase history, intelligent product discovery to take online shopping to a whole new level.
From there, our client Monique Green, Ecommerce Manager at Casio, led the discussion towards the importance of merchandising within product discovery. Monique explained how, with a small ecommerce team overseeing various aspects of the website, time is a precious resource—which merchandising helps with significantly. Monique said, “What Nosto has done is managed to give a lot of time back to the team.”
Monique then explained how such merchandising rules ensure that Casio’s category pages are relevant for their shoppers, prioritizing the most pertinent, in-stock products.
“We put merchandising rules in the back-end so that if a given product’s getting more clicks, it would move to the top of a user’s search results. Or, if it’s out of stock, it would move to the bottom. And that’s just constantly working in the background”
As a result of such efforts, Casio saw an increase in engagement in just a few weeks, particularly on product listing pages (PLPs), some of which (particularly low-trafficked ones) weren’t prioritized prior to using Nosto’s Category Merchandising because of the manual effort this would’ve required. Monique stressed how “…the [Casio] team has spent less time doing merchandising but our metrics have improved”.
Kevin Rowlands, Senior Ecommerce Growth Manager for Dermalogica UK and Ireland, also shared Monique’s emphasis on Nosto’s merchandising in the product discovery journey. Kevin said he found it “…really surprising that not only does merchandising give time back to the trade team, but it drives better conversions than if we did it manually”.
Kevin went on to reveal how Dermalogica takes its merchandising to the next level. He spoke about how they don’t only set rules in alignment with business objectives, but also subject them to rigorous A/B testing to determine what’s most successful for conversion—which, Kevin said, is “much better than normal human thought”.
For example, currently, Dermalogica is A/B testing the ‘revenue per view’ attribute by prioritizing it across their top 3 three traffic categories for another layer of user interaction.
Relevant Product Discovery
Next, the panelists engaged with how personalization is an integral part of intelligent product discovery. Phil led the discussion, raising how customer expectations of having shopping experiences entirely tailored to them, are only growing.
From here, Kevin delved into Dermalogica’s innovative approach to personalizing the product discovery journey, and spoke about how this linked to their skin analysis technology, “Facemapping is a data collection tool that we use on-site. It allows a visitor to upload a picture of their face. The picture gets scanned, and a user answers a few questions that help us recommend the right products for them”.
Kevin went on to explain how, thanks to Shopify and Nosto, Dermalogica can personalize the entire customer journey using the findings of their Face Mapping analysis to make every interaction relevant and serve products tailored to their specific skin type.
Kevin outlined this hyper-personalization as a key thing for Dermalogica: “I think it’s going to be one of the biggest things that we do this year. To make sure that we’re growing all of our business metrics around LTV, conversion rate, but crucially to make sure that we’re doing personalization for a meaningful reason and for something that the customer will find rewarding.”
Following this, Monique spoke about how Casio maximizes space on its product display pages (PDPs). By displaying different varieties of the product a shopper is viewing, such as color options and watch face sizes. Monique said this ensures that customers can easily find the product that resonates with them, making the product discovery journey relevant.
Monique gave an example of this– on one of their best-selling product they included all colorways on its PDP and within the first seven days, experienced over 30% add-to-basket rate.
Balancing Automation and Human Touch
The discussion then led to the importance of utilizing AI and other automation capabilities whilst retaining a human touch for customer on-site experiences.
To begin with, Kevin highlighted the importance of collecting quality data for effective personalization, emphasizing how meaningful recommendations stem from feeding accurate data points. Kevin said, as an example, Dermalogica’s Face Mapping tool is a perfect balance between automation and conveying that human touch. It achieves the same result that a customer would get from a professional skin therapist in a store by having the customer provide information.
For Kevin, being able to leverage powerful data creates unique impressionable experiences for their customers. “Nosto is a great tool for being able to make use of all those data points and surface the correct content and the correct product recommendations. And really it’s quite limitless in terms of what you want to show people.”
Monique explained that Casio does leverage Nosto’s intelligent AI for Search and Category Merchandising to help streamline efforts, cutting through their larger product catalog and delivering relevant results.
Following that, Monique mentioned how the unique human touch at Casio is for a specific division, showcasing that AI can complement human expertise. Monique finds that, due to the small product range when it comes to Casio’s calculators,, it’s simpler to have their in-house experts manage it and have that human influence where it’s easy to do so.
Achieving Loyalty without Heavy Discounts
Next, the panelists delved into how their brands can rely on intelligent product discovery to maintain brand loyalty without having to use the likes of big discount strategies like many brands do.
As a high-end skincare brand, Kevin said that Dermalogica avoids discounting strategies to maintain its premium branding. Instead, Kevin shared that Dermalogica has found content pop-ups and FOMO messaging on PDPs, such as ‘trending products’ or displaying how many people have purchased in 24 hours to be effective.
Kevin elaborated that Dermalogica have also been experimenting with A/B testing the likes of free shipping offers to drive conversions. Through this, they segment customers and show half free delivery messaging and the other half free delivery after a certain spend threshold to determine the best-converting messaging.
“We simply wouldn’t be able to do this without tools like Shopify and Nosto…”, said Kevin.
Like Dermalogica, Monique described how Casio similarly avoids big discount strategies. Monique said that both Casio and G-Shock have a clever content pop-up that is triggered when a shopper highlights and copies a product’s SKU or product name, as though they’re going to search for the product elsewhere to hunt for a better deal This pop-up essentially shows the shopper a discount code to use at check-out, to prevent them from bouncing to look elsewhere.
Monique stressed the impact of this particular pop-up, explaining how Casio, for example, has witnessed a 20% conversion rate for that campaign alone.
“We’ve managed to improve our retention rate, reduce our bounce rate, stop customers going to competitors because they found that discount code that they’re essentially going to look for.”, said Monique.
For Casio and Dermalogica, the impact of improving product discovery has been hugely beneficial. Not only has it improved the lives of their ecommerce team saving them crucial time but it has also delivered results from conversions, to AOV and even loyalty. It was amazing to hear from Nosto clients about how they’re testing, innovating, and perfecting their product discovery journey.
See you next year at ecommerce expo 2024!
If you’d like to learn more about strategies to improve your brand’s product discovery that are in line with your business goals then reach out to our ecommerce specialists who are happy to help.