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Humanizing the Online Shopping Experience And The Future of Octane AI

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As the ecommerce industry quickly accelerates, we believe it is more important than ever that merchants have the ability to build strong relationships with every single customer, and provide a tailored experience that doesn’t change just with actions, but changes with every aspect and thought of each individual. 

It is our mission to humanize the shopping experience.

To help achieve this mission, and to continue to support the 1,000+ Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants we work with, we have raised $4.25 million in funding from the same investors who backed marketing and ecommerce behemoths such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Hubspot, Marketo, and Stripe (read coverage of this announcement in Forbes). 

By spending over a year quietly and diligently working side by side with the largest brands on Shopify, we have created a technology that solves one of the biggest customer experience problems in online shopping. There is so much more to be done to improve and grow this solution, and we will be working around the clock to continue to push the limits and build the future, but we think you’re going to love what we have today.

So what exactly is the major problem in online shopping that we’re solving?

Let me explain.

The Customer Experience Problem Every Ecommerce Brand Has

If I walked into a beauty store, money in hand, ready to buy my first ever skin care routine, there is one thought running through my head.

Which products are right for me?

This is a huge question for me. I know that there are so many options to choose from, but so many things that could go wrong. What if I buy the wrong product? What if I don’t get all the products I need? What if my skin has a negative reaction?

I’m frozen, staring down the rows of aisles and attempting to figure out where things are. I pull out my phone and try to find an article that is going to help me figure out what I should be getting. I didn’t realize I needed to come so prepared!

Luckily, because I’m in a store, someone who works there walks up to me and completely saves me. They ask me questions about my skin, my concerns, my goals, maybe even my habits, and then they help me put together a routine.

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I thank them, head to the register, and checkout happy. I have found a routine and now I can start on my skincare journey!

Online, the experience is nothing like this.

When I shop online for my first skin care routine it’s like walking into an empty warehouse. Nobody works there and I’m completely alone.

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I’m greeted with the newest products on the home page, a navigation that lets me browse by category, and maybe a link to an Instagram page full of beautiful faces and aesthetically pleasing product shots.

I’m stuck, unsure of what I should buy. Nobody is there to save me. I can’t do this.

I leave, unsatisfied and still in need of a skin care routine.

With almost 2 billion people shopping online, and 98% of online shoppers leaving without buying anything, this scenario I described is happening at a massive scale to every ecommerce brand, in every industry, at every second of the day. Ecommerce stores are missing the human element that makes us, as customers, feel happy and confident.

In order to go to the next level online shopping requires human elements at scale that customers love.

Trillion dollar companies like Amazon understand this and they spend hundreds of millions of dollars improving online personalization.

At Octane AI, we are democratizing this technology for the other 99.99% of online merchants. Here’s how it works.

Imagine if you could have a great conversation with every customer who visited your website, the same way you might when someone walks into a retail store.

This is exactly what the Octane AI Shoppable Quiz does, and it does it really well.

[Octane AI is] filling in all those gaps where you’re getting more of a retail experience versus scrolling on a website” – Alex Tenney, the director of e-commerce for Skinny Mixes

  • Doe Lashes increased their email sign up by 4x by adding an Octane AI Shoppable Quiz to their home page.
  • Bariatric Fusion increased their email sign up by 8x and is generating over 30% of their revenue from Octane AI.
  • BeautyBio saw 28% higher average order value.
  • Skinny Mixes has made over $1.7 million from Octane AI in the past year and now generates over 30% of their online revenue from Octane AI.

The list of Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants increasing revenue, making customers happier, and finding new use cases for the Octane AI Shoppable Quiz is growing every day.

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Shoppable Quizzes can be created by Shopify merchants using Octane AI, without any code, to ask a series of questions, build a relationship, collect contact information, match the customer with their buyer persona, deliver tailored product recommendations, and individually personalize future marketing across all channels (Messenger, SMS, email, and ads).

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As a user of the quiz I can say it’s a very powerful #Dtc #ecommerce #tool @OctaneAI https://t.co/3QFlf4O7od

— Zachary S. Niemiec (@ZachNiemiec) August 21, 2020

All of the data is accessible to the merchant and can be instantly synched to Octane AI’s Facebook Messenger and SMS products, Klaviyo for email, and Facebook and Instagram for ads. Now instead of re-marketing to the customer based on page views and guesswork, merchants can start to implement a real buyer persona marketing strategy.

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Examples of strategies the Octane AI Shoppable Quiz enables for Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants:

  • Ask customers questions, remember all the data, and recommend a unique set of products.
  • Collect email, SMS, and Messenger opt-ins.
  • Track custom Facebook pixel events for answers and product recommendations. Even if the customer doesn’t finish the quiz the merchant can personalize the retargeting ads.
  • Send a different Klaviyo welcome series based on the specific desires, concerns, and needs of a customer.
  • Personalize Instagram and Facebook ads to match exactly what the customer is feeling, thinking, or trying to solve.
  • Send a campaign for a new product to customers who have expressed interest in this exact thing.
  • Create look-a-like audiences on Facebook for customer segments with the highest average order value.
  • Learn new information about customers that you could only know by asking questions.

And this is only the beginning of what Octane AI will be enabling for today’s fastest growing merchants.

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Octane AI’s Shoppable Quizzes can be used in every industry, whether they are designed to help customers pick out the best mattress, narrow down a selection of jewelry, or create a tailored routine.

Pull products, variants, and collections in seamlessly from your Shopify store and use logic that is super simple or as creative and in-depth as you want.

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Want to only ask certain customers certain questions, or show different upsells to men versus women? Want to show different text or images based on the customer’s buyer persona?

Do you want to completely customize the entire shopping experience per person?

That’s just the beginning of what the Octane AI Shoppable Quiz enables merchants to do.

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Using Octane AI to Power Personalized Customer Journey Automations on SMS, Messenger, Email, and Ads

Octane AI is focused bringing customer relationships and personalization to every aspect of the customer journey, and making it easy to manage and coordinate the entire strategy from one dashboard.

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Today Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants use Octane AI for the following key functions:

  • Shoppable Quiz: Onboard and get to know customers when they visit your website and pair them with a tailored product recommendation. Build a profile for each customer on their individual needs, desires, concerns, and preferences and sync this data to your SMS, Messenger, Email, and ad marketing.
  • Popups and Opt-ins: Show call to actions to customers while they are browsing your website. Collect contact information for your marketing strategies. Automatically send messages to customers who comment on your Facebook posts. Drop customers into automated conversations when they click on a special click-to-Messenger ad.
  • SMS and Facebook Messenger Automation and Campaigns: Send personalized messages to customers throughout the customer journey. Cart abandonment, browse abandonment, order confirmation, shipping confirmation, and announcements for new products and sales.
  • Klaviyo Integration: Sync data from the Shoppable Quiz and other Octane AI products to your Klaviyo account so that you can enrich and coordinate sophisticated and hyper personalized emails.
  • Additional Integrations: Octane AI works with an ever growing list of the top apps in the Shopify ecosystem, including Yotpo, Smile.io, Recharge, Privy, JustUno, Gorgias, and more.

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Everything is trackable, measurable, and requires no code.  

It’s here! @OctaneAI has done it again with a robust, easy-to-use, game-changing tool to make a marketer’s conversion and data-collection dreams come true. If you think I’m not suggesting the Shoppable Quiz to every last client you’ve got another thing coming! https://t.co/FEte6fYVkP

— Mandi Moshay (@MandiMoshay) August 21, 2020

The Future of Octane AI

What we have released to date is only the beginning of a much larger and ambitious vision, and I can’t wait to show you what is coming next.

If you want to be in the lab with us, experimenting with our newest breakthroughs, please let me know. Everything we build is done hand in hand with the fastest growing Shopify stores in the world and we’d love for you to join us in our mission to create ecommerce experiences customers love.

If you’d like to get access to our new Shoppable Quiz, you can request an invite here:

Request an Invite

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This article originally appeared in the OctaneAI blog and has been published here with permission.

About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. In the early days of online commerce, he achieved Power Seller status at eBay, which then propelled him to become a founding partner of VisionPros.com, a contact lens, and eyewear retailer. After a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus, where he is a Strategic Advisor helping brands continue to grow and scale with the Shopify Commerce Platform.

To maintain a competitive edge and life of learning mantra, Steve also hosts and produces a top-rated weekly podcast show, eCommerce Fastlane, where he interviews Shopify partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands build and scale lifetime customer loyalty.