One word: Hedonism. The single biggest drive of customer engagement and loyalty is the hedonic value that derives from your brand. That may seem like a bold statement but hear me out. Hedonic value is defined as the value a customer receives based on the subject experience of fun and playfulness (Babin et al., 1994). In other words, the degree to which a product/service triggers emotions and creates pleasant experiences.
This may range from the excitement from finding a bargain to the comfort of the smell of warm cookies. Each brand or retailer will have their own hedonic incentives. The problem faced by many brands is the move from physical to virtual experiences. When our customers go online, we lost much of our ability to engage. Luckily, what remains is largely visual, a very powerful tool if thought about carefully.
The first preference for an infant is the shape and characteristic of a human face. There is a biological incentive for all of us to search for certain stimuli. Some scientists have looked into what it is that we like to see and we quote from their research:
This is an insight into the type of tools and experiences we should be creating for our customers on our websites. It must be both novel and familiar. The novelty drives interest and the familiarity drives comfort and safety. We will be suggesting a way on how to do this after a few notes on why much of the current thinking about cart abandonment does not address the most pressing need.
When we look at discussions about websites, we found statistics such as average cart abandonment rate of around 70% quoted extensively. Reasons given vary from shipping and taxes to difficult forms to fill in. This may be the case at the point of sale, but there are many more activities that goes on before the point of sale. Imagine you are at a marathon. If there are clear instructions and signs on where to go you will be able to seamlessly cross the finish line. However, if there are no people directing you to the right direction then there is a possibility you will take the wrong turn, end up lost, give up. and go home because you cannot find the finish line.
What happens before? We know about half (54%) of consumers leave sites because they could not find what they were looking for. About 64% say there is not enough information. So it is not better shipping that customers need, it is better UX. The inability for customers to locate information is a UX problem, and it has a material effect on a brand’s bottom line.
Baymard found that 31% of all product finding tasks ended in vain when users tried using search. Furthermore, among the top 60 eCommerce sites, a whooping 70% of the search engines are unable to return relevant results for product type synonyms. Even more shocking is that many stores do not have what the user is looking for or the search engine is not fully capable of understanding what the user searched for and the clients get a “No Results” page. Baymard says that 68% of eCommerce sites have a “No Results Page” implementation that is basically a dead-end for users, offering no more than a generic set of search tips.
We now come back to our scientific research. How can we create both novel and familiar actions? This is where Visual AI shines. At Delvify, we combine Visual AI with advanced statistical algorithms to show clients the familiar look and similar items with the novelty of ranking and boosting products that are interesting or new. The customers can see familiar categories but laid out in novel formats. You can think of Visual AI as a new autocomplete function. You look at an image and want to see something familiar? No problem, the AI will populate the probable results. As you get closer to what you want the AI resolves the issue in favor of the customer.
Does this work? Search usability testing reveals that having autocomplete suggestions is not about speeding up the user’s search. The true value comes from how autocomplete suggestions can assist and guide users towards better results. When autocomplete suggestions are done well they can inspire users about the types of queries to use, and assist users in selecting the right search scope.