Cue recently unveiled its new mobile shopping feature, ‘Style Finder’. Now, in an interview with Power Retail, the company’s Chief Information Officer, Shane Lenton reveals insider details on the development process.
Released late last week, Cue’s latest mobile website feature is designed to “enhance customer experience and cater to mobile trends”.
“Mobile purchases are our number one source of online revenue, with up to 70 percent of visitors coming from mobile devices,” says Lenton.
With innovation reportedly at the centre of everything Cue does for its customers, Lenton says that Style Finder was a natural step forward for the company’s mobile shopping experience.
“Our traditional search feature on the website is heavily utilised by our customers particularly on mobile, so we see this as an opportunity to streamline the search process for customers who have seen a look they love online or in real life. We have already seen impressive results from the recent launch of shoppable Instagram and Style Finder is complementary to these shopping trends,” he says.
How the Style Finder Feature Works
According to Lenton, updating and using the Style Finder mobile shopping feature is fairly straightforward.
“Our 30 plus new styles are photographed each week for our e-commerce store. These images are named and uploaded to the Alibaba cloud image search solution via our Application Programming Interface (API) integration where they are scanned and indexed.
“When a customer uses the image search feature on our mobile website, this image is pushed via API to the Alibaba cloud image search solution for processing and then the solution returns the styles that are the closest match and we display these styles for the customer in order of relevance to view and shop.”
Working with Alibaba to Utilise its ‘New Retail’ Technology
Alibaba has recently made an appearance in Australia, with the opening of two New Retail pop-ups in Melbourne and Sydney earlier in the year that showcased some of Alibaba Tmall’s omnichannel shopping features.
By partnering with Alibaba Cloud, Cue is one of only a few Australian retailers to utilise this innovative new technology, and according to Lenton, the process was very straightforward.
“After researching the current offerings in the market, we concluded that the Alibaba Cloud was the right choice for us and forms part of our overall strategic partnership with Alibaba.
“Alibaba’s New Retail technology is both innovative and inspiring, so we were thrilled to partner with them on this technology,” he says.
“The Alibaba team in Australia have been great to work with. They have been the conduit between our team and the Alibaba team in China resulting in this project being one of the fastest and most hassle-free implementations we have done.”
The Challenges and Successes Faced During the Development Process
As with any technological innovation, Cue did have a few challenges to overcome while bringing the Style Finder shopping feature to fruition. Lenton says that there were two main challenges that needed to be overcome, both to ensure maximum user experience of the end product.
“The two main challenges we faced were ensuring we provide a frictionless user experience for our customers, and fine-tuning the technology to ensure the results are relevant to the items searched.”
Luckily, through the retailer’s work with Alibaba Cloud, the two businesses were able to develop a program that meets Cue’s main goal of “achieving accuracy and relevancy”. This careful attention to detail also ensures ‘Style Finder’ stands out from other similar apps on the market.
“We have put a big focus on delivering a complete look with the results displayed to the customers and achieving this sets us apart from some of the other solutions in the market, rather than a single category result. This was very important as some of the looks uploaded could have four plus items featured from various categories.”
Lenton also believes that this new shopping feature will deliver strong returns for the business.
“Due to the high volume of traffic we receive to our websites from mobile devices, we believe this will have a great uplift to our conversions for customers, who are using the search function to find the styles they are looking for.”
What’s Next for Cue’s E-Commerce Development?
Re-iterating the fact that innovation is a core focus at Cue, Lenton says there are still plenty of projects designed to improve customer experience in the works.
“We recently launched 30-minute Click & Collect for customers shopping on all touch points, whether that be online, in-store or via our customer care team.
“This week we have also launched our “WeChat Official Accounts” for Cue, Veronika Maine and Dion Lee to support our strategy in targeting Chinese consumers.”