How did Jerome's go live with AI-powered
site search in just 21-days?
The history of Jerome’s goes back to 1954. Jim Navarra – the founder of Jerome’s, emphasized upon better prices and faster service (plus a smile) while offering the countless options for furniture selection since the early days. Their founding principle has been offering the best to every family – best prices, best selection, and best shopping experience. Today Jerome’s has a total of 25 stores and revenues in the hundreds of millions. A lot has changed since the last 66 years but a few things remain as such. The desire to make every customer feel welcomed, and treating customers like their own family
Home & Furniture
more time spent by
customers who use
search on the website
However, there has been a paradigm shift towards online shopping, click and buy model in the last decade. Shoppers are headed to online stores looking for products be it grocery, fashion, apparel, electronics, or for that matter furniture. On one hand, this online model gives the convenience of making a purchase anytime anywhere to the shopper, it opens a pandora box of challenges as well as opportunities for a retail store. From building the online presence to be able to show the most relevant products to the shoppers – online shopping is a strategic shift and a cautious decision a retail store takes.
Challenge of providing the Best Shopping Experience!
The challenge is when shoppers enter a furniture store – there is an expansive display of products a shopper can look, touch, and feel. Plus there is a sales executive assisting the shopper through the entire purchase journey. But the moment you turn online – the definition of shopping experience changes entirely.
From finding the right products at the right time to be able to choose bundled products – the entire journey of discovering the products has to be seamless. This needs to be an organic evolution from entry to exit of the shopper.
Our instinctive nature is to start browsing through product categories or start searching for products in the search bar available on the website. This depends on the behavior the user prefers. Shoppers who search for products on the website are 2-3X more likely to end up buying the products. However, if you do a traffic split, only 30% of the website visitors end up searching for products – the remaining choose to navigate. It’s clear that the need for a robust and smart search solution for an eCommerce store is imperative.
“There is quite a bit that goes into that decision. Integration with a 3rd party system, keeping up with the UI of the online store while deploying the new solution, understanding what goes on behind the scenes to enable relevance, how the search is personalized and nailing the product discovery experience makes the entire process cumbersome and challenging. It’s complex but you have to get it right so customers find the best products”.
Executive Vice President Digital at Jerome’s Furniture.
Finding and Onboarding the right solution
Scott remembers evaluating multiple solutions back in 2013. One being SLI System which was absolutely painful to install. It didn’t fit in naturally to offer the best online shopping experience. It served up in a sub-domain which just wasn’t natural and the results were just OK.
Jerome’s ended up partnering with an in-built search of an eCommerce platform – but the search turned out to be clunky, UI was dated and the overall end result suboptimal.
Jerome’s was looking for a solution that could understand the shoppers as they would and there was a 1:1 personalization at a shopper level. Most importantly, onboarding and going live had to be with ease and not a mammoth task.
“We were looking for a solution that was easy to deploy, and smooth to onboard. The search solution had to talk to our shoppers establishing 1:1 conversation. Speed and Cost were two primary deciding factors for us in choosing the right solution. Unbxd combined all of these and understood our business requirements well. This helped us gain confidence in believing Unbxd to be the right solution for us.”, adds Scott.
The Unbxd’s Midas touch!
Scott has been closely involved with the product discovery space and how the industry has been evolving over the years since 1995, over 25 years. This level of deep involvement made Scott the search evangelist at Jerome’s. His in-depth understanding of the commerce search and possible nuances helped Jerome’s make the right decision in choosing Unbxd. When you ask Scott, he has a long answer to the question
“Unbxd was enabling AI-powered relevant search for other major furniture stores out there. The product has evolved to maturity with many advanced features and capabilities that make Unbxd stand out from the competition.50+ AI-models which self optimize while understanding the shopper behavior and affinity make the search a wonderful experience for any online shopper (visiting the online store powered by Unbxd).”- Adeel Murtaza (Head of Ecommerce Technology FoodServiceDirect.com)
From different queries such as black leather sofa to red cotton ottoman, Unbxd’s NER (Named Entity Recognition) model understands every single word in the query. It tokenizes each word in the query to map it to the desired attribute and return the most relevant product. Unbxd deploys other AI models such as QCP (Query Category predictor), Intelligent fallback mechanism, autocorrect, catalog auto enrichment to ensure the shoppers are shown the most relevant products while they type in the search query.
“Many stores and executives hesitate to call it out but the SOW and POC are some of the key pain points for any team to arrive at a decision. And they happen at a very early stage of the buying process. Unbxd had our attention from that very instant. The web developer, project manager along with their entire team took it upon themselves to understand the business use-cases and draw an execution plan which made the entire onboarding and go-live process super smooth and simple.”
Unbxd took Jerome’s LIVE with the onsite search solution within 21 days which no other solution could have done. Jerome’s team could see enhanced search results for search queries and product listing pages. The solution worked perfectly!
Over the top of it, Unbxd also offered a hybrid recommendation into the solution which ensured relevant suggestions to the shoppers along the purchase journey. Use-cases such as viewed also viewed, bought also bought, more like these, complete the look, etc. are a part of the plug and play offering of Unbxd.
What worked for Jerome’s is the quick realization of benefit with a search solution. Jerome’s could leverage the algorithms faster than they could anticipate and start reflecting in their analytics. Furniture is a mature segment to deal with, shoppers are very demanding but Unbxd’s AI-powered search solution simplified the entire onsite shopping experience for these shoppers with its slick search and merchandising techniques.
“The human element is the key to having a successful relationship with our customers as well as our vendors. Unbxd’s mature technology, choice of algorithms and the layer of personalization over top of the site search solution gave us the confidence to choose the site search solution with less inhibition. In addition, working with Unbxd was an excellent experience, the people are very nice and super easy to work with. That goes a long way in my book. The solution was curated each and every place available on the website like we could in our retail outlets. The painless implementation (with 21-days go live) was cherry on top.”, says Scott Perry, Executive Vice President Digital at Jerome’s Furniture.
Jerome’s has seen a 39% increase in conversion from site search, and an 8% increase in the Average Order Value post enabling search on our website. The page load speed is less than a second which makes the shopping experience very smooth. Overall, customers that search products on the site are finding what they want and staying on the site 42% longer than they were with the old search solution. The new search is giving the best shopping experience for Jerome’s customers – keeping their 54 years long promise intact!