Insight (Innovation Data Analysis) From Google to Amazon: The Technology of Shopping Adopted by Big Tech

18 Apr 2024
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New technologies have begun to provide unprecedented opportunities and new experiences for both consumers and retailers in the e-commerce environment. We will examine recent trends in AI and virtual-related technologies that not only promote sales but also enhance the online shopping experience and increase customer satisfaction.

1. Generative AI for Personalized Shopping

Google is leveraging AI technology to enhance the customer experience in online shopping. As part of the updated version of Google Search, known as the 'Search Generative Experience (SGE)', Google is testing various new features primarily for users in the Americas. Among these features is a gift recommendation tool that suggests gift ideas tailored to specific user requirements, helping shoppers find the perfect gift.

Video1_Google Introduces Generative AI in Search

Taking it a step further, Google has launched a feature that generates realistic versions of items users want (e.g., leopard print hoodies or metallic puffer jackets), allowing users to match the closest real products to what they've envisioned within the Google shopping ecosystem.

Image1_Google's ongoing experiments with generative AI in Search, image generation search examples.

Amazon recently introduced Rufus, an artificial intelligence assistant that helps with shopping by answering individual users' questions about products. When users start typing or speaking a question in the search bar of the Amazon mobile app, a Rufus chat box activates at the bottom. Customers can ask direct questions about Amazon's vast array of products, as well as about customer reviews, the community, and more.

Image2_Amazon's experimental AI assistant Rufus

This AI assistant simplifies the online shopping experience by understanding the specific requirements users have for products and guiding them to the appropriate items, thus enabling users to find products that best meet their needs. Although currently in beta and not perfect, as it learns more, it is expected to completely transform the shopping experience of customers.

2. Shopping Experience Satisfying Diversity

Last June, Google expanded its virtual try-on feature, which had been applied to women's tops, to men's tops by the end of the year. This feature uses AI to visually show how each item would look on 40 models considering various sizes, body shapes, and skin tones. This function bridges the gap between online shopping and the in-store fitting room experience and enhances consumer trust in their purchases.

Image3_Google's Virtual Try-On Example

According to Google, after the introduction of this feature, customer satisfaction with related purchase products increased by 30%. As of 2023, Pinterest, a photo-based social platform with over 480 million users worldwide, launched an AI-based skin tone filter in 2018, and a hair pattern filter in 2021 that allows users to find images of people based on the texture of their hair. In September last year, they introduced a body type filter, establishing 'Inclusive AI.' Through this, Pinterest can now provide images of people with similar features to the user from a selection of over 5 billion images.

Image4_Pinterest's Inclusive AI

This can attract more second-generation users who have higher expectations for personalized content and spend more time on platforms compared to other groups. Last year, Pinterest's monthly active users increased by more than 7% each quarter, and at a September investor event, it was revealed that 42% of its users are Generation Z. In particular, the introduction of the 'Shop the Look' feature, which allows users to post lifestyle product ads that fit the mood of their Pinterest boards, and a function that directly leads from the vision board to retail sites with a single click, is expected to create synergy. According to user reviews, 70% of users find the products recommended by Pinterest to be highly relevant.

Image4_Pinterest's Consumer Data

42% of Pinterest users are Gen Z.

70% of users find Pinterest recommended products highly relevant.

3. Efficient Search and Purchase Connection

The beauty platform Revieve, utilizing artificial intelligence and augmented reality, offers 'Match My Look,' which analyzes beauty looks from images uploaded by users (from social media, magazines, images on phones, etc.). It identifies the exact makeup products that compose the look and provides a purchasing path, enabling users to achieve their desired beauty looks.

Image5_Revieve Match My Look

This maximizes the advantages of online shopping, enabling more personalized and efficient shopping experiences. A new technology has emerged that improves customer experience even in the popular second-hand purchasing among Gen Z consumers. Beni is a Chrome extension that notifies users if there is a resalable product matching the product they intend to buy during shopping. When shopping on about 1,000 sites including Nordstrom, Nike, and Reformation, it searches for used products on over 30 markets ranging from The RealReal and Grailed to smaller marketplaces like Kidizen and Gear Trade, provides a list of the second-hand products available, and allows users to click on a product they like and directly navigate to that second-hand market to make a purchase. The consumer then pays a fee to the partner market.

Image6_Chrome extension Beni

Efforts to provide a better customer experience continue, such as adding features that allow users to filter for verified product lists, returnability, or specific options regarding fee levels. With the introduction of AI and virtual technologies in e-commerce, a significant transformation in the fashion industry is anticipated. The innovation of AI-based search that supports personalized shopping, reflects diversity, and maximizes efficiency will drastically change the future e-commerce shopping experience.