AI-Powered Search on Shopify: How it Benefits Stores and Customers

Discover how adding AI-powered search to Shopify enhances customer experience, boosts conversion rates, and increases sales for large stores.

Introduction

Shopify is one of the foremost names in the ecommerce industry, empowering merchants across the globe with a user-friendly way to sell goods online. The platform generated $5.6 billion in revenue in 2022 alone, and it’s home to more than 2.1 million live stores (as of June 2023).

However, searching for products on Shopify stores with over 1,000 SKUs can be challenging in several ways. Not only does the sheer number of goods available make the process daunting for newcomers, but misspellings and filtering limitations can also make it difficult for users to find the most relevant products.

As a result, Shopify store owners that rely on traditional search solutions may find trying to maximize product visibility and convert new customers frustrating (to say the least). Fortunately, AI integration in ecommerce is becoming more commonplace, and it offers the potential to enhance search functionality on Shopify.

With that in mind, Shopify launched a new AI-powered search feature designed to recommend the right products to customers. The new tool, Semantic Search, analyzes image data and text related to products to provide more relevant search results.

Using AI-powered search on Shopify stores can deliver a stronger customer experience by helping them find the right products in less time, which may lead to higher conversion rates and increased sales.

At the time of writing, though, Semantic Search is only available to Shopify Plus users. That means store owners that don’t currently need to use Shopify Plus, or can’t use it, will miss out. Nimstrata’s Search & Discovery app is designed to level the playing field.

So, what benefits can Shopify store owners expect when using AI-powered search? In this article, we’ll explore the key reasons why AI-powered search is invaluable to Shopify store owners and customers, and how Nimstrata’s Search & Discovery app for Shopify can help. 

What is AI-Powered Search?

AI-powered search uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to provide users with more accurate searches. It is being launched on many websites, apps, and online platforms (e.g. Shopify).

While legacy ecommerce search engines we use every day utilize simple keyword matches and algorithms built on strict rules, AI-powered search focuses on context, user behavior, and search intent to provide highly relevant results.

Key features of AI-powered search include: 

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) for analyzing a user’s natural language when searching, so the search tool can understand the intent and context. 

  • Machine learning algorithms that learn from users’ previous searches, behavior, and preferences to improve their search results. 

  • Relevance ranking algorithms to identify which results for a specific search are most relevant, based on popularity, intent, and other factors.

  • Personalized search results based on users’ previous purchases, search preferences, and past interactions to boost relevance.

Some of the biggest tech companies in the world are exploring AI-powered search. For example, Google’s Vertex AI Search (formerly Discovery AI) enables retail businesses to utilize “Google-quality search, browsing and recommendations” on their applications. 

This is complemented by Recommendations from Vertex AI Search (formerly Recommendations AI). Companies can use this to provide users with real-time personalization powered by the latest machine learning models.

While some store owners may be concerned about potential issues surrounding AI-powered search, specifically data privacy, Google’s Vertex AI Search doesn’t share your data with other users. Your data will remain isolated, and comprehensive access controls provide valuable peace of mind.

Benefits of AI-Powered Search for Shopify Stores

Here are the three main benefits AI-powered search offers Shopify stores.

Improved Customer Experience

No Shopify store owner can afford to underestimate the importance of a great customer experience. Around 60% of U.S. shoppers will stop buying from a company after multiple negative experiences, even if they’re fans of the brand or products. For 17%, just one negative experience is enough to chase them away. 

It’s crucial that businesses on all scales, from brand-new Shopify stores to those with years of success behind them, take customer experience seriously. By embracing AI-powered search, Shopify store owners can improve the quality of their customer experience by providing faster, more accurate search results.

Autocomplete suggestions and synonym recognition will help shoppers find the products they’re looking for on Shopify. Additionally, they can expect a personalized search experience based on their past behavior, reducing the time and energy wasted on browsing product pages.

Increased Conversion Rates

As it’s easier for customers to find the products they’re looking for at Shopify stores using AI-powered search, conversion rates are highly likely to increase. 

A stronger search experience reduces the frustration of scouring page after page of irrelevant results while customers try to find exactly what they need. This results in a lower risk of users abandoning carts out of sheer annoyance before they complete the transaction.

The increase in relevant recommendations with AI-powered search boosts the chances of customers making larger purchases too, increasing average order values.

Boosted Sales

Securing sales from new and returning customers is paramount for Shopify store owners. As AI-powered search improves the discoverability of products, it can lead to higher sales by recommending the right product to the right person at the right time. 

Furthermore, personalized recommendations will help store owners seize opportunities for cross-selling and upselling. This will be presenting customers with other goods they’re genuinely likely to be interested in, rather than an odd assortment of products that bears little connection to their past purchases.

Crucially, AI-powered search can provide store owners with data-driven insights that help them optimize their product listings and inventory management. That can help them get the right items in front of the right shoppers.

Nimstrata’s Search & Discovery App for Shopify

Nimstrata Search & Discovery app is the first and only fully managed service designed to connect stores directly to Google Cloud Vertex AI. With Nimstrata’s app, Shopify store owners can sync their product catalogs with Google Cloud and put state-of-the-art AI-powered search, browse, and recommendations on Shopify stores within minutes. 

If you run a Shopify store, you can stay in complete control of your data and merchandising settings in Google Cloud with this app. Adding AI browsing to collection pages streamlines merchandising, and you can take advantage of real-time data streaming with instant updates to pricing and inventory. 

Nimstrata’s app makes it possible to implement Vertex AI Search and Recommendations from Vertex AI Search into your Shopify store in one day. That’s far more efficient than the traditional process, which is usually a consulting project lasting six to eight months.

The first enterprise customer to use Nimstrata’s Shopify app, LOZURI, achieved outstanding results after just a couple weeks. LOZURI, specialists in luxury and rare fashion products, wanted to increase its conversion rates from product search and discovery.

After a two-week period of A/B testing with Nimstrata’s Shopify app, LOZURI achieved 38% growth in overall conversion rate and a 40% increase in revenue per visitor

Conclusion

AI-powered search offers Shopify stores an extensive range of benefits, including a better customer experience, higher conversion rates, and increased sales. More personalized search results, improved product discoverability, faster results, greater relevance, and more opportunities to upsell or cross-sell all combine to make AI-powered search a powerful asset to any Shopify store.

If you find yourself struggling to compete with other Shopify stores, even in the most niche of niche markets, implementing an AI search solution into your storefront could help you stand out. You’ll make the search and transaction process more satisfying for customers, which will increase your likelihood of achieving more sales, generating greater revenue, and cultivating loyal buyers.

Install Nimstrata’s Shopify app yourself for a free 14-day trial or book a demo with an expert to learn more.

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