What Is Shopping-as-a-Service?
By Carl Bleich
What Is Shopping-as-a-Service?
Table of Contents
Artificial intelligence is transforming the way that consumers shop online, and the generative AI boom has opened up a world of possibilities for digital commerce companies to offer personalized experiences to their customers.
Grounded in conversational commerce and conversational AI principles, shopping-as-a-service use cases are becoming increasingly popular as a strategy to optimize customers’ online shopping experiences without overly taxing commerce-driving teams.
Powered by generative AI models, these shopping-as-a-service use cases can be used to help shoppers find exactly what they’re looking for quickly and with minimal effort. For e-commerce shops, this means that shopping experiences can be tailored to fit individual user preferences and existing customer data, resulting in improved conversions.
Let’s learn more.
Conversational commerce, conversational AI, and shopping-as-a-service all have very similar definitions in that they power personalized conversational experiences for online customers.
Specifically, shopping-as-a-service combines the convenience of online shopping with personalized assistance and tailored recommendations. It goes beyond the traditional transactional model and aims to provide customers with a seamless and delightful shopping experience.
By implementing shopping-as-a-service, customers essentially get a personal shopping assistant who understands their tastes, budget, and needs. This innovative approach leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand customer preferences and make relevant product suggestions.
Shopping-as-a-service combines technology, e-commerce personalization, and convenience. It allows e-commerce shops to offer seamless and curated experiences that make every customer journey enjoyable and fulfilling.
How Shopping-as-a-Service Works
Shopping-as-a-service works by using automated conversations — powered by generative AI — to create the most engaging online shopping experience possible. It allows customers to have an engaging conversation with your brand without requiring the people on your commerce-driving team to power the details of that conversation.
These shopping-as-a-service use cases are becoming increasingly popular and important for e-commerce shops, especially for brands looking to grow and scale. The AI powering the technology can not only automate processes for your team, but can also effectively turn conversations into conversions.
By facilitating customer engagement from these shopping-as-a-service use cases — which include voice assistants, SMS, MMS, chatbots, and even e-commerce search bars — websites now have an easy way to connect with shoppers and provide them with an optimally personalized experience online.
Shopping-as-a-service solutions do this by tapping into the natural language processing (NLP) ability of generative AI. These NLP techniques turn online conversations into structured data that can be used by brands to gain useful insights into what customers want from their favorite retailers.
With AI-enabled chat and other shopping-as-a-service tools, businesses can power two-way conversations and use the results of those conversations to better understand customers, power personalized experiences, and increase conversions.
The Benefits of Shopping-as-a-Service
There are clear benefits of implementing shopping-as-a-service use cases for both brands and consumers. Let’s consider each angle.
Benefits for Consumers
Personalization. Convenience. Efficiency.
Is there a better way to concisely sum up what consumers want from e-commerce brands? Shopping-as-a-service solutions are designed to give shoppers the personalization, convenience, and efficiency they crave without overworking your e-commerce team. This will ultimately wind up providing consumers with a shopping experience that’s truly tailored to their individual needs.
With shopping-as-a-service tools, customers have easy access to the products they’re looking for and a personal assistant (powered by AI) to help them find it on your website. This saves time and effort, and eliminates the need to visit brick-and-mortar stores or even browse your competitors for their products of choice.
Customers are provided a personalized shopping experience via the zero-party data they exchange with the conversational AI, and that data is then used to better understand customer preferences. Knowing this, your brand can surface relevant and personalized results to customers and minimize the time they spend sifting through irrelevant search results or aimlessly browsing.
Shopping-as-a-service tools also optimize the entire shopping journey (from anonymous browsing to checkout) to make it more seamless. Since every step of the journey is truly conversational, any customer support issues that arise can be taken care of with the help of conversational AI.
Shopping-as-a-service puts the consumer at the center of the shopping experience, offering unparalleled convenience, personalization, and support.
Benefits for Brands
This innovative new approach also has significant benefits for brands. While e-commerce personalization helps both parties, there are certain things that make shopping-as-a-service attractive to brands (that don’t impact customers).
Consider the relationship-building ability that shopping-as-a-service tools can offer. While that may sound odd because relationship building sounds like a uniquely human trait, using conversational AI to help build relationships with your customers has deep benefits for brands.
First, consider the end result of a successful conversation on the customers’ side. A successful conversation and conversion will lead to a greater sense of brand loyalty and trust — all at no time or labor cost to your commerce-driving team since AI facilitated the conversation.
Being able to create positive brand experiences such as personalized product recommendations, exceptional customer support, and seamless transactions will keep shoppers coming back for more.
Also consider what shopping-as-a-service can do to help you gain a competitive advantage and stand out in the market. By embracing this innovative approach, brands differentiate themselves from competitors and position themselves as forward-thinking and customer-centric. This unique selling point can attract new customers, retain existing ones, and solidify the brand's reputation in the industry.
Additionally, the data insights and analytics that can be generated from these conversations are second-to-none. This allows brands to learn more about customers and market trends and adjust business operations accordingly. This can help guide strategic decision-making, product development, marketing strategies, and more.
Bloomreach and Shopping-as-a-Service
As the popularity of shopping-as-a-service use cases soar online, Bloomreach has prioritized shopping-as-a-service use cases and product features to offer our customers the easiest possible way to facilitate personalized experiences online.
Both our Engagement and Discovery teams have been working on new innovations powered by the latest advances in generative AI. While AI has always been integral to what Bloomreach does (as seen by our AI-related patents), we believe that the recent advancements in generative AI are going to open incredible doors in the world of e-commerce.
The future of e-commerce is powered by AI and we’re looking into numerous ways to help brands interact with their customers in authentic, conversational, and brand-appropriate ways — whether that’s through commerce search, marketing channels, or elsewhere. Bloomreach is the only company that uses AI to connect who your customer is to every channel in the customer journey, and we can’t wait to unveil even more exciting AI features.
Can you imagine a limitless future for commerce that’s powered by AI? At Bloomreach, we can. We believe we’re on the edge of something massive and that e-commerce will be changed forever.
Bloomreach Clarity: The Next-Gen Shopping-as-a-Service Solution
To make sure your business stays ahead of the curve, you need a solution that does more than what’s expected from a shopping-as-a-service tool — you need Bloomreach Clarity, a revolutionary conversational shopping AI built for a new world of e-commerce.
Bloomreach Clarity is trained on real-time customer data, your product catalogs, and our 13+ years of data on how customers shop and search, offering every customer the most personalized and relevant experience whenever they interact with your brand.
It goes beyond the current scope of conversational chatbots to serve as a product expert, engaging shoppers in conversations that are authentic and specific to your business. It can help your customers find a product they’re looking for, guide shoppers who don’t have a specific product in mind, make personalized recommendations based on every customer’s unique needs and preferences, and more.
And these conversations connect across every channel, always picking up right where customers left off. Conversations can start anywhere, continue everywhere, and offer limitless possibilities.
Interested in learning more about Bloomreach Clarity and exploring new ways that conversational AI can revolutionize your business? Sign up for the waitlist to join the conversation before it begins.