The Gist

  • Expanding capabilities. Shopify merchants now benefit from AI-powered Google Search and recommendations, elevating customer experiences.
  • Revolutionizing retail. First major ecommerce partnership, bringing Google's AI-driven retail search to millions of Shopify brands worldwide.
  • Driving results. Rainbow Shops experienced a 48% increase in search volume and a threefold decrease in bounce rate after integrating Google Cloud's Discovery AI.

Ecommerce platform provider Shopify and Google Cloud announced Thursday that merchants using Shopify’s enterprise retail platform, Commerce Components, can now leverage AI-powered Google Search and recommendations in its online storefronts. Shopify manages the online retail presence for millions of brands in 175 countries, the company said.

Empowering Retailers With Google's AI-Driven Search and Recommendations

While the Discovery AI for Retail platform has been available since March of 2022 and is being used by marquee customers such as Macy’s and Lowe's, Shopify represents the first major ecommerce platform they have partnered with said, Amy Eschliman, managing director of Google Cloud retail industry solutions.

“Google’s retail search is based on Google’s understanding of the customer and it brings that power to the retail site,” she said. “This gives the consumer a better experience because it's helping the retailer understand that customer’s context and understand that customer’s intent, which really helps drive down the number of null searches and that's something that we're very focused on.”

Google’s query understanding and AI-driven product discovery capabilities will recognize typos, acronyms such as “lbd” (which stands for little black dress), nonproduct and semantic entries focused around concepts such as beach vacation or party dress, she said.

Related Article: What You Need to Know About Google Bard

Harnessing Retailers' Own Data to Power AI Search

The AI also optimizes the order in which products are presented to each shopper to increase the likelihood of a transaction. Google’s AI personalizes search results using historical data as well as individual customer behavior to determine shopper taste and preferences.

Although the technology is based on AI, it is not using Google’s Bard generative AI model similar to ChatGPT that the company is planning to integrate into Google Search.

“One of the most important points that I can say about this product is that it is based on a retailer's own data,” said Eschliman, “We don't get any of that individual customer data back into Google. It stays within that retailer’s ecosystem. If they know the customer, they can use past user events … to answer the question.”

According to research from a Google Cloud-commissioned Harris Poll survey, an online retailer’s search bar is the way most US consumers search for products (69%). This is followed closely by general website browsing (63%). But only about one in 10 (12%) say they get exact results for their queries or are presented good alternatives.

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Most online shoppers (81%) will leave an online store if they can’t find what they want and may not go back (82%) if the search results were not relevant.

The Discovery AI integration is available today to all Commerce Components customers, Shopify said. Costs are included in Commerce Components, which is based on usage and customized to each retailer.

Related Article: Next up for AI Chatbots: It's All About the APIs

Rainbow Shops Getting Results From Google Cloud's Discovery AI Integration

After Rainbow Shops, a Shopify merchant and popular retail apparel chain with more than 1,000 stores worldwide, integrated Google Cloud’s Discovery AI for Retail into their storefront, search volume increased 48% while their bounce rate decreased threefold, the company said in a press release.

“Now our search bar can handle almost anything our shoppers throw at it, surfacing helpful product results for nuanced queries like ‘lbd’ [little black dress] … and extremely general searches like ‘Mardi Gras’,” said David Cost, Rainbow’s vice president of ecommerce and marketing. “We’ve also significantly advanced our ability to produce relevant results when a shopper has a typo in their query, which is commonly seen among our many customers now shopping on mobile devices.”

Rainbow also said customers spent less time refining search results and creating redirects to get useful results.

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