E-Commerce sales are about to cross 1 trillion dollars for the first time in 2022 and there’s a tremendous opportunity for brands to reach new customers. But the digital shelf is complicated to manage.
In this episode of Our Best Behavior Podcast, Sean McAndrew (SaaS Sales Director of Behaviorally’s eFluence™ technology division) discusses the creation of eFluence and our AI-powered platform that can help increase conversion rates by 50%.
Matt Salem (Senior Vice President, Client Development) hosts The Our Best Behavior Podcast.
Hi everyone. I’m your host, Matt Salem. And you’ve tuned into another episode of Our Best Behavior brought to you by Behaviorally. Behaviorally the global market leader in evaluating shopper marketing helps brands define and diagnose the behaviors that drive shopper growth. Each month, we share industry insights on trending topics designed to help clients make better shopper marketing.
Today, we’re joined by Sean McAndrew, SaaS Sales Director for our eFluence division, who will be talking with us about eFluence and its flagship product, Flash.PDP. Sean. Great to have you join us today.
Hey Matt. Great to be here. Thank you.
Very, very happy to have you and happy to talk to you today about eFluence and eFluence’s flagship product, as I mentioned, Flash.PDP and I’m hoping we could start with each eFluence, and you could tell our audience what eFluence is all about.
Absolutely. Happy to do that. So, eFluence is a new division of Behaviorally, which is focused on e-commerce image optimization. So, what’s going on with e-commerce right now? The growth has skyrocketed. In fact, according to Insider Intelligence, U.S. e-commerce sales is about to cross 1 trillion for the first time in 2022.
So, this is interesting. Prior to the pandemic, they didn’t forecast e-commerce reaching this milestone until 2024. So, yeah, it is skyrocketing, and there’s a tremendous opportunity for brands to reach new customers and create more online shopping experiences. And this is a new space for brands and one that’s very complicated to manage.
So, what we decided to do was create a division that focuses on growth for e-commerce, and it’s called eFluence. And because we are the leaders in visual asset insights, we felt it was almost imperative to help brands have the best possible visual content for e-commerce to help drive conversion and to help drive sales growth goals.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, forever, Behaviorally has been working with our partners to help them optimize the visuals and the visual expressions used on packaging and in shopper marketing. And now, to take that online seems extremely sensible to me. And if I think about my own shopping experiences online, how much I rely upon images when I’m shopping. I mean, I could see it in my mind’s eye right now. As soon as I hit the page, the landing page, I’m looking at all the images, scanning them quickly. Once I click into those images, I’m looking at further detail of the visuals before I even really read anything. So, that makes a lot of sense to me. I guess what I’d like to hear a bit more about is, you know, how are you helping brands as eFluence? What problems are you helping to solve?
Yeah, Matt. So, we’re solving a problem that is an unmet need for brands, and it’s really rewarding and exciting. In conversations with many e-commerce teams, They’re telling us that managing e-commerce is a real challenge. We actually have an e-book. It’s called “Digital Retail Can Be A Real Challenge,” actually.
And you can check it out on our website. So, it summarizes ten pain points, but I’ll mention just a few, uh, e-commerce teams manage content on an individual SKU level. They’re working with hundreds, if not thousands, of SKUs, and they have to follow retailer guidelines and policies, which are always in flux.
So, it’s a very dynamic world with a lot of different pieces. Most of the efforts thus far have been focused on compliance and making sure content is correct. The right title on the right SKU, for example, is very important. But images are the most important touchpoint in e-commerce as human beings are visual creatures. Right now, they’re underserved.
And brands are going to follow industry or retailer guidelines, but they basically just hope for the best. The testing methods out there are impractical. For example, A.B. testing on Amazon is limited to a few SKUs and lasts anywhere from eight to 12 weeks. But if you get it wrong, you can lose thousands if not hundreds of thousands in sales. Now, our product Flash.PDP is a solution that we came up with that enables brands to give images, the focus that’s warranted through a turnkey, quick, and reliable solution.
Yeah, that sounds great. I understand that a lot of time and energy is spent by these teams on compliance, and for them to have a solution that is essentially automatically going to help them flag images that are suboptimal and provide recommendations to optimize is great. So, I guess that’s the crux of it, but tell me a little bit more about the solution and how it’s happening.
So, eFluence’s signature product is Flash.PDP. It’s an AI-powered SaaS platform that automatically evaluates e-commerce images directly from either retailer sites. And it instantly identifies the top-performing images and images which are different. So, our solution allows brands to seamlessly learn of their best images and identify the ones that are not working So that they can optimize. And, you know, Matt, it’s critical that brands optimize their content images, which can improve conversion rates.
We’ve found in our A.I. models and our studies. Conversion rates can be increased by up to 50% or more. And the platform enables continuous testing, which is pivotal because e-commerce is dynamic. As I mentioned before and the competitive set is constantly changing, and new products addressing new consumer needs are trends are popping up all the time.
So, as brands create and launch new items in e-commerce, they need to ensure that their content is optimal.
So, the way this tool is working, it’s obviously helping images specifically. It’s helping brands manage their images ensure that their images are essentially optimized to best convert sales. But how is it working?
What are some of the nuts and bolts, if you will? Can you take me under the hood just a little bit and tell me how this tool works?
Absolutely. So, um, the platform itself, it was engineered by leading FMCG brands. And what it does is it leverages the world’s largest behavioral database and cutting-edge A.I. So, what we do is we train the A.I. models with e-commerce images and consumer data using A.I. image recognition. Our models detect patterns between visual characteristics, sizes, shapes, colors, and then the data itself. So, here’s an example. I think you’ll like this; it’s in the candy category. The A.I. models might detect that bright colors and large visuals tend to correlate with high taste appeal scores. So, then the next time it sees an image with a bright color and a large visual, it will predict a high taste appeal score.
So, you see, applying A.I. allows us to evaluate thousands of images instantly. And in this fast-paced, dynamic e-commerce world, this is crucial. E-Commerce teams now have a resource at their fingertips that lets them optimize images very quickly and also fits within their existing workflows.
Yeah, that does sound really cool. I liked that candy category example. I might like a craft beer example better, but I digress. Regardless, it all sounds very new—very cutting edge, and I do like that it fits into existing workflows because it sounds like it won’t be adding any burdens to teams and how they’re operating. If anything, it’ll compliment the way they’re operating today and improve their operations by helping them optimize.
So, it really does sound great overall. Let me ask you, what are some of the interesting things that you’ve learned in this journey as you’ve developed Flash.PDP and as you begin to leverage the tool and have piloted it with our clients?
Well, Matt, what’s really exciting and learning that our A.I. is incredibly accurate. That’s, that’s very exciting. You’re predicting consumer behaviors and then matching this up with the sales data.
So, every time we train these models, we set aside a batch of images that the model hasn’t seen yet. And then, we feed these images to the A.I. models, and we compare the model’s predictions to the consumer data.
We’ve done this hundreds of times, and our A.I. model’s accuracy hovers at around 90%, with a very low margin of error. So, 90% accuracy is very exciting. And I mentioned earlier; the platform was engineered with a leading FMCG brands. So one, a leading brand of bath tissue, which had A.B. tested several hero images in Amazon, we ran the same images through our A.I. model, and its predictions matched up with the A.B. tests. Our A.I. was able to identify the same winning image from the A.B. test, the image with the highest sales conversions.
That’s fantastic to hear. I mean, the ability to leverage a tool like this and have the ability to avoid A.B. testing for weeks, if not months, and the expenditure that’s associated with that and the potential losses that could be associated with that, if you’re testing something that’s not optimized, is fantastic. So, I really love that piece right there and that example that you shared.
At the end of the day, looking into the future, in about a year or so, what do you hope to accomplish?
Well, I think because this A.I. SaaS solution is so unique right now to the industry, our mission is really to transform image optimization in e-commerce.
And we do feel it’s an underserved area because the existing tools and processes have not allowed brands to give it the focus that the technology warrants. So, we’re about to unlock sizeable e-commerce growth for brands. And we’re very excited about this. By facilitating e-commerce image optimization, we’ll help brands ensure that they always have the best performing e-commerce images that will maximize their conversion rates.
Very cool. Well, I guess let’s, let’s end on a personal note. What’s Sean’s online shopping experience typically? Are there, are there any categories you tend to look at online more so than others? Do you food shop online? Just curious to know a little bit about your e-commerce shopping repertoire.
Well, I shop a lot online for vitamins and health supplements, quite frankly.
So, you know, we were talking about the whole image and the carousel of images. So, I am probably one that looks; I want to look at all five of those images. I want to, you know, understand the brand. I want to take a look at it. Does it have the right ingredients that I’m looking for? All of those things are very important, and having, you know, the best images suitable for that carousel image is certainly what I’m looking for when I’m shopping.
Awesome. Awesome. I like that. Well, Sean, I really appreciate your time today. Thank you so much for coming on and talking about eFluence and Flash.PDP. I’d like to thank our audience for tuning into Our Best Behavior brought to you by Behaviorally. Sean, appreciate you coming on. And for everyone listening, we’ll catch you next time.