Love the Customer, Respect the Algorithm

The Top 10

After a series of interviews with e-commerce leaders managing the sharp end of digital shopping, we collected the “Ten E-Commerce Pain Points We Can Help You Overcome”.

One of the biggest pain points included how to stay on top of the search results. In e-commerce, you can be “winning” at one moment and not the next as the digital shelf is in a constant state of flux. Learning how the algorithm on each e-tailer site selects and deselects content is now a key skill. Each retailer has their own set of rules and guidelines which adds to the complex nature. We have long argued that to “win” – one must go beyond just mere compliance and fulfillment requirements.

AI powered algorithms are here to stay. However, there are levers within our control, particularly with PDP (product description page) content.

AI is Already Nudging the Consumer

Prolific author and academic, Cass Sunstein, asserts that nudges fulfil two criteria: “A nudge is an intervention that maintains freedom of choice but steers people in a particular direction.”

AI is already a part of our daily lives when you stop for a moment and think about it. How often does Amazon’s “Recommended for You” prompt your purchase? That’s AI.

We’re oftentimes drawn into Instagram after receiving a push notification. We watch longer when the Netflix algorithm automatically just plays the next episode immediately. Google’s auto-suggest options nudges us to click on certain search results links. This is all AI.

While some (and rightly so) have raised concerns about privacy, the balance is how do we enjoy the benefits of curated assortments and relevant resources without the compromise to data privacy? AI has numerous advantages for the customer as well as the marketer. Just like in our daily lives, customer journeys are “managed” from the very first point of contact – especially in tech sales.

Following the Data

Winning in e-commerce means embracing AI as a short cut to help in decision-making. Data has shown that the hero image thumbnail is critical in decision making and therefore, we can assume that more attention should be given to that content to ensure that it is right every time.

Today, digital assets are created by a formula to help with the pace and scale of having to manage thousands of SKUs across numerous e-tailers. These general formulas dictate size, color, and use of brand SKUs. For some, it’s more successful than it is for others.

Though image formulas are valuable in raising the general standard, they are not sufficient to ensure each, and every single SKU is successful. It lacks the binary sharpness that indicates whether this hero image will work or won’t work, which is so crucial in the shopper journey.

AI can help find patterns for us, sift through the massive quantities of data, and helps us focus our time improving images that actually drive shopper conversion as well as meet the retailer’s guidelines. By utilizing the power of AI, it’s a sure way to beat out competition by knowing more about your library of digital assets.

Words Without Deeds

Though we have gotten better at collecting and processing metrics at speed and scale, there are two factors that block the path to activation:

  1. The brand and retailer trading relationship is disbalanced. Brands are simply correcting elements that are highlighted as non-compliant and there is little shopper insight research applied. When working at warp speed to ensure your PDP is compliant, quite often, insights doesn’t make it to the top of the list.
  2. Some e-commerce sites are open to customization while others work by a strict handbook that is based on consistency. There’s no point in re-wiring the process or being creative when there’s no room to allow for creativity or branding.

Most e-commerce team’s resources are stretched thin. Compliance handbooks and rules work for the retailer but just because an image is compliant does not mean it is effective in getting the shopper to put the item into their cart. Predictive analytics can help analyze thousands of data points in one sweep, allowing the algorithm to accurately help brands predict shopper responses.

Let AI Take on the Bulk of the Work

Oftentimes, we say “unseen is unsold” and it is still crucial in the context of e-commerce. For e-commerce, it means the SKU must have page prominence and optimized images that are both clear and appeal to the shopper.

AI is the marketer’s ally in simplifying the decision process as it can shift through all the images on e-tailer sites and compare it to the others in the category to inform the marketer which images work and which are deficient. With the right tools at your disposal, you can automate and streamline processes while providing stakeholders with results in a clear and easily understandable format.

Introducing Flash.PDP

Digital marketers know: better images equal higher conversion rates.

Flash.PDP™ leans on AI to help accurately predict winning thumbnail images and those to ditch, based on visual image recognition to the source data.

Easily uncover what’s working and why with instant, accurate results using Flash.PDP™!

For a free demo today, contact us at


Adrian Sanger helps insight start-ups, scale-ups, and established agencies bring winning products to market. He is a Director at eFluence™, the technology division of Behaviorally. He has helped in the build of Flash.PDP™, from the very beginning and now works with clients to shape the program and realize the value. He is a classically trained researcher, assisting C-level Insight teams in tackling their biggest growth challenges, including finding market opportunity, elevating their product strategy, and positioning, and developing winning go-to-market. Connect with Adrian on LinkedIn.