Presented at Activate Product Discovery 2021. Learn how to build out your digital commerce customer journey using Lucidworks Predictive Merchandiser.
Katie Boschele, Lucidworks Product Manager
Tom Allen, Lucidworks Director, Commerce Applications
Tom Allen: Thank you for joining this session to talk about building your customer journey with Lucidworks Predictive Merchandiser. We are so excited to walk you through journeys that your customers will follow on a daily basis, and how you can build them out in the Predictive Merchandiser application.
I’m Tom Allen, director of commerce applications at Lucidworks. I’ve been with the company for a little over a year, but I was with Cirrus10 for nine years before that, where we specialized in product discovery.
Katie Boschele: I’m Katie Boschele, product manager for the UX experience of all applications at Lucidworks.
I’ve been with the company for over two years, and previously worked for a fortune 40 home improvement company in their digital commerce space. Tom is going to dive right in and talk about the beginning of your customer journey, by using Predictive Merchandiser to build out your landing pages.
Tom Allen: There’s an adage among the boating community.
“The two happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day you buy the boat, and the day you sell the boat.”
When I was much younger, my dad achieved one of his dreams in life and bought a boat. I have a lot of great memories from those boats. I’m in Seattle, and we were able to visit the San Juan islands and visit parks that you can only get to you by private boat.
After buying the boat, my dad had no idea what came next. It was all just a brave new world to him. Back in those days, he just walked into a boating supply store and asked what he needed. And a sales associate intercepted him in the store and guided him through all of the equipment he needed. My parents found out that the boat price is one thing. Equipment, parts and moorage add up fast. They quickly realized that owning a boat is incredibly expensive. My dad has now gone through this boat buying and selling cycle three times. Each time the most excited I’ve heard him is when he bought each, and then when he sold them.
The other day I was in the car with my dad and he told me that he wants to buy another boat. I think he hasn’t learned from this experience too much, but it’s just too good of a opportunity to pass up in life. So let’s dive into that experience as a new boat owner.
So as a new boat owner, what are the things I need on board to be compliant with Coast Guard Regulations? In today’s e-commerce world, that store employee isn’t there to guide you. So let’s walk through this shopping experience. Let’s say I’m a new boat owner, and I’m trying to helm my boat safely. I remember, you know what? I need a fire extinguisher on my boat. So I go to Google and I search for boat fire extinguishers. This is the result I see. I start scrolling through them. I see two results for a boating supply store. One’s an article, and another is a category landing page. That article is great, but I don’t feel like reading that right now. So I click on the category landing page.
So I’m on this category landing page for fire extinguishers. And I look at some of them. Then I scroll down and I see this article mixed in with the results. It draws my eye towards it because it’s very obviously not like the other things on the page. I then open that article, then I start
learning about all the other things I’m going to need to buy. This is covering all of the different equipment you’re going to need, by US Coast Guard regulations. I scroll down to the 16 to 20 foot boats, which is the one I just bought. And I see this visual distress signals, and I hadn’t even thought of that before. So I click on that link and I start browsing for flares, and I find a flare that will fit my needs and buy that. And then I go back to the article and I find more of the products I need.
This is a journey where I knew I needed to buy one thing, but I wound up buying so much more. If you’re just showing products on your landing pages, you’re going to miss these types of opportunities to sell more products, more different types of products. So how do we build this experience?
First of all, it’s vital to get non product content like articles and guides into your index, and you need to have quality content. This needs to be guides that actually will help customers find out the different things they need. Once that’s in your index, you can start to create the links for the journey. If Fusion doesn’t know about it, we can’t link to it. The other thing is, once it’s indexed, you can apply machine learning and manual rule creation. In this case, it’s mixed in with the results but you can also separate it out into other zones on the page, but we’ll get to that later.
Now Katie, will dive into expanding those experiences, and how you can cater your product detail pages to increase average order value and conversion.
Katie Boschele: “Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them.” Marc Jacobs.
I love, love, love this quote. I am an experienced person through and through. I do feel that experiences mean the most. When you’re wearing something, you remember, you know, a dinner you went to, or a conference you spoke at, as you go to pull those things out of your closet, those memories come back to you. And to me, not as a fashion expert, like that is what fashion means to me, is like those experiences I have in the fashion.
So let’s talk about Fashion Look-Books. As a shopper, I found an article in a magazine that made me want to hunt for a specific style. Once I found my favorite product, I was able to complete and enhance my outfit. So guys, I am finally going on a trip, like leaving my home and actually going somewhere, staying somewhere else, going with immediate family, and just going to have a good time. I didn’t think I would ever be so excited to take a vacation, but after being on lockdown for a year, I’m completely ready to head to the beach.
That being said, and hearing what I’ve heard on Tik Tok, about no side parts or skinny jeans, thanks Gen Z. I began to wonder if my beach wardrobe was still in today’s style. So I headed on over to a current fashion magazine to find some great summer style inspiration.
I’m semi old fashioned and semi-conservative when it comes to my clothing. So when I came across this article for “20 Pretty Lace Dresses You’ll Wear All Summer Long.” I knew I had found something trendy and fashionable that I could add to my wardrobe, not only for my trip, but for girls nights, or anything else that came up in the future.
So after that, I headed on over to a fashion forward boutique and started sifting through the casual lace dresses that they had to offer. I came across this gorgeous Midi length lace dress that I knew had to come on my trip with me. But what I really love about these product detail pages is the opportunity as a non-fashion forward woman, not only to see other dresses with similar style as to what I’m looking for, but also the style guidance coming from their “How To Wear It” zone.
They’re showing me jewelry, shoes, bags and hats that I might not have thought of, to make this dress into a statement outfit. So now with my dress in the cart, I’m tempted to up my conversion, because that sun hat is phenomenal and who doesn’t need a new pair of shoes to go with a new dress guys.
Tom Allen: So now you’ve heard that shopping experience. Let’s talk about how to build that with Lucidworks. Rather than just handling search results, Predictive Merchandiser’s templating engine allows you to drive the product detail page. These product detail pages should be supporting more than just that product’s info. You can fill the other zones with articles, recommendations, and all other types of products. Lucidworks recommendations can
fill that in automatically, and keep the user journey going. Additionally, you can build Look-Book templates. You can think of these as like category landing pages but using collection, and styled differently by the front end.
So now that we’ve talked about what to do in the beginning of your customer journey, and how you can expand the experience, let’s move on to how you can keep the journey going, and going beyond that product content.
Katie Boschele: “Create the things you wish existed from the depths of your precious soul. Bring your ideas to the surface and then give them space and love to grow.” – A poem by Kristin Pierce.
I’ve always been a very independent person, so when the COVID pandemic started, my work travel schedule came to a screeching halt. Instead of spending many hours on the road like I was before, I was now spending those many hours at home. And so this is when I began to pick up my Do It Yourself hobby.
Let’s dive into like a Home Improvement Do It Yourself story. As a do it yourselfer, I’m not only looking for help on my project, but also to be directed to that product I might need in relation. So Home Improvement Do It Yourself projects skyrocketed an astonishing 16.6% year over year increase in 2020 due to COVID related lockdowns, with no sign of slowing down as we barrel into the 2021 year. More people are spending their time and money at home, and they’re strapping on their tool belts and getting to work on home improvement projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I myself am one of them, guilty as charged. I started doing everything around the house. I decided since I’m working from home constantly, rather than being on the road with my customers, it was time for a full office makeover. I wanted to build a full length wall desk, with the remaining space from the desk to the ceiling being bookshelves. My first stop was Pinterest to find inspiration.
Bam, this is great, this is kind of what I had in mind, and I think we’re getting somewhere. Oh, this is a really cool storage idea because my printer sits out, I don’t use it most of the time, it’s an eyesore. Let’s put it in a cabinet like it’s shown here. Oh my God, finally, this is exactly what I’m looking for. My next thought was, Oh man, I am not a handy woman. Where do I even start? And what do I do next? And these are all questions that do it yourselfers, all over the United States are asking, when they begin to tackle their projects for the first time.
So I headed on over to a well-known home improvement website for details. In their non product content pages, I was able to find an article related to my project. “How to Build a Media Wall and Desk.” While this article isn’t exactly what I’m looking to build, It was similar, and it gave me an opportunity to dive into my project. This page offered my do it yourself brain step-by-step instructions, tools, and needed products that I would need for my project.
I was able to put my focus into identifying these items and what I would need to gather to make my project happen, based off of recommendations zones in the non product content. Now I’m ready to buy and plan what I want to build.
Tom Allen: So before, we saw articles mixed with natural search results. In this case, we’re separating them out into a separate zone on the page. We can use Predictive Merchandiser’s templating engine to build multiple zones on one page, all in one request to Fusion. And a merchandiser can set this up without any technical expertise or having to work with the development team.
And with that non product content index, we can set up recommenders to suggest articles for the category page. Just remember, you can always override those recommenders and pin articles that you think are most relevant.
So now it’s time to discover your Lucidworks journey, and how you can build all of these customer stories with Predictive Merchandiser.
Katie Boschele: So Tom and I walked you through beginning your customer journey by utilizing landing pages, to show non-product content in their own zones or mixed in with your search results. Then we moved on to expanding that experience by including related products and “complete the look” recommendations on your product detail pages. And finally, how to keep the journey going beyond the product content by creating quality guides, or how tos, to inspire your customers and ensure that they lead to the discovery of more products in your catalog.
All of these great customer journeys that we walked you through today can be built in the Lucidworks Predictive Merchandiser tool.
Tom Allen: Predictive Merchandiser is made from the ground up to be easy to use for merchandisers.
You can see search results real-time, you can modify those results, and then see those changes as you make them. When you’re ready, you can publish these to production. You can boost products to the top of your results or even pin specific items to the exact location you desire.
You can also bury or completely block a product from the result. Predictive Merchandisers templating engine moves Fusion beyond just search, and intuitively lets merchandisers control the regions on each page. And as always, you can merchandise everywhere. And with the upcoming smart recommenders that can be included on any page, you can keep that customer journey going.
Thanks for building your customer’s journey with Lucidworks Predictive Merchandiser.