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There are few atmospheres as unique as that of a conference exhibit hall: the air always filled with an indescribable buzz fueled by coffee and jetlag, marketers hungry for leads, attendees hungry for the latest and greatest swag, and everyone just plain hungry. (Will lunch be boxed sandwiches, or did they splurge on a buffet this year?) Amidst the bustle on the eTail Boston show floor, one booth in particular was buzzing — literally. The Algolia booth stood in the middle of the Sheraton ballroom producing a neon blue glow that, if not for the hotel walls, could probably be used to guide ships into the Boston Harbor!

Beyond the glowing booth facade, however, was a more exciting buzz. One produced by a team that was energized to share how AI-powered search is a game-changer for retailers. Read on for a recap of our time at eTail Boston 2023.

Group of people stands in front of a neon-blue exhibit booth.
The team smiles in front of our glowing booth!

Conversational AI: Not just a product or a party trick

It’s no surprise artificial intelligence was a topic of many conversations at eTail, and the keynote session “Answering The Demand For Convenience With Seamless Experiences” was no exception. Algolia was represented on the panel by Nick Panvini, Director of Enterprise Sales, North America who sat alongside industry experts from The Home Depot, Manhattan Associates, and Aetrex.

The key point of discussion was the rising expectations of consumers in the post-pandemic era. As shopping habits evolved, so did the demand for convenience and efficiency. Nick highlighted how Algolia NeuralSearch, our AI-powered vector search engine, is breaking new ground by understanding long-tail queries, those unique searches that traditional keyword search engines struggle to comprehend. This, he explained, is a game-changer, ensuring that customers always find what they are looking for.

“The thing about conversational and generative AI… is it has to become a business practice, right?” argued Nick. “For brands, that is attached to measured outcomes and KPIs. It’s not just a product or a party trick. And I think we’ve all been on the receiving end of this at some point when you get into a chatbot experience that makes you play 20 questions before you can check into your flight or change your reservation. So there’s a lot that can be done there, but it’s got to be measured.”

A crowd of people watch the panelists speaking during the keynote session.
Nick Panvini, far right, represents Algolia during the keynote session.

Addressing retail challenges and opportunities with smart search

In addition to our participation in the keynote session and our presence in the exhibit hall, we also sponsored a networking dinner and conducted an interview with RETHINK Retail.

During the interview, Algolia’s CEO, Bernadette Nixon, was asked about the biggest challenges and opportunities facing retailers today. One prominent challenge discussed was the competition for consumer attention in an era of inflation. To address this, personalization emerged as a crucial factor in retaining customers. Bernadette highlighted that 91% of consumers prefer to shop with retailers who provide personalized offers and recommendations, a testament to the power of tailored experiences.

Echoing Nick’s thoughts during the keynote panel, Bernadette also emphasized the untapped potential of long-tail queries. To solve this, Algolia NeuralSearch anticipates customer desires by understanding nuanced search queries and providing relevant results beyond just keywords. This not only ensures a smoother and more successful shopping experience, but also boosts customer loyalty but also opens up new revenue streams for retailers. Stay tuned for the full video interview from RETHINK Retail!

Algolia's CEO stands in front of the exhibit booth for a video interview.
Bernadette Nixon, Algolia’s CEO, being interviewed by RETHINK Retail.

Revolutionize the retail experience for your customers

Request a demo to learn how Algolia NeuralSearch addresses and solves challenges for retailers while offering the best digital search experience for shoppers. During the demo, our team will showcase how we’ve combined our classic keyword search with fast, scalable, and affordable vector search, resulting in the first and only end-to-end AI search platform that enables businesses to achieve results like these:

  • 65% decrease in zero search results (Frasers Group)
  • 17% increase in conversion rates (Frasers Group)
  • 9% increase in clickthrough and conversion rates (Everlane)

Find us on the road again at one of our upcoming events!

About the author
Marissa Wharton

Marketing Content Manager

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