Will from Searchspring talks about the growing use of data in the eCommerce industry & how data personalization becomes the key factor for customer acquisition
“By getting the right product in front of the right shopper at the right time, retailers can eliminate friction in the path to purchase and ultimately drive increased conversions”
1. Tell us about your role in Searchspring?
I was hired into Searchspring as the CTO in September 2019 after Searchspring had acquired a second ecommerce company, Nextopia. I was brought on to help understand the state of each platform, what the future should be for each of the products and how the engineering teams should be structured to help get to that future state.
2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I worked as a Sales Engineer for Endeca when they made a beachhead into the Canadian market – Endeca at the time powered the search and nav of 50% of the IR 100. After that, I co-founded GroupBy Inc who was subsequently asked by Google to build a replacement ecommerce platform for the deprecated Google Site Search.
3. How do you think technology is upgrading the marketing Sector?
The ubiquity of cloud computing reduced the barrier to entry into ecommerce to almost zero. As technology matures, for example, search, the feature sets that were only achieved by the IR 100 are now commonplace for entry level stores. We will see this trend continue with the democratization of machine learning.
4. How has a data-driven approach empowered ecommerce sellers?
Reporting is key – measuring everything a shopper does and then having the ability to act on that data with tools that are simple to use
is a requirement to growing your shopping base, and invading new market segments.
5. Can you explain how your Ecommerce Site Search helps in increasing shopper conversion?
A seamless ecommerce search experience helps shoppers find the products they’re looking for, quickly. Searchspring’s search solution enables retailers to return accurate search results, with full control over product order and display. Site merchandisers can dynamically boost the results that are most likely to convert, while demoting irrelevant or out-of-stock items. And, with features like redirects, autocomplete, and autocorrect, shoppers never have to land on “no results found”. By getting the right product in front of the right shopper at the right time, retailers can eliminate friction in the path to purchase and ultimately drive increased conversions.
6. How will your boosted ecommerce personalization engine benefit your customers?
Online traffic is up (by now you’ve seen that ecommerce experienced 10 years of growth in just 8 weeks). But, we all know that traffic is not revenue. 80% of shoppers say they’re more likely to buy from a brand that personalizes the shopping experience. That’s why we recently acquired 4-Tell’s personalization engine and have integrated their AI driven personalization into Searchspring’s recommendations. Our customers will be able to deliver 1:1 personalized recommendation to individual shoppers, with curated cross-selling, contextual awareness of the shopper’s activity, and much more.
7. What features of your Reporting & Analytics solution for ecommerce players differentiates it in the market?
Searchspring’s reporting gives retailers enhanced understanding of how shoppers interact with their store. Search reports offer insights into which terms led to “no results found”, as well as which terms are performing well and generating the most revenue. Likewise, product reports outline which items are converting, and which PDPs require optimization. All of the data is incredibly easy to view, understand, and act on – that’s where Searchspring really differentiates from other reporting platforms.
8. What advice would you like to give to technology Start Ups?
Running an ecommerce store has the same uptime requirements as a nuclear powerstation 1 minute of downtime has significant impacts on revenue, repeat customers, and your brand.
Build with good test coverage so you can change your product as the market evolves – it evolves faster than you might think.
9. What work-related hack do you follow to enjoy maximum productivity?
Put an event in your calendar that repeats every six months titled “All of your processes are now wrong, throw them out and start again”
10. How do you prepare for an AI-Centric world?
I don’t think the world is becoming AI centric but I do think it is valuable to be able to view problems through the lens of an AI solution so this is a skill that is required for all engineers that work at Searchspring.
11. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent times?
We are planning to support global reach which requires infrastructure around the world and an understanding of the locales in all the regions we want to expand into.
12. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
The team doesn’t support me, I support the team. We hire brilliant, empathic people and we try to get out of their way. My day is mostly hiring great people, trying to design useful processes and reduce friction throughout the product and engineering organization.
13. What movie inspires you the most?
Movies don’t inspire me. Books inspire me – go read “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy”
14. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?