Retailers are pushing holiday shopping deals earlier and earlier each year, but for many consumers the Thanksgiving weekend still signals the official start of the gift-buying season. With that in mind, we present some thoughts on how the use of semantic technology may impact your holiday shopping this year.
- Pinterest has gained a reputation as the go-to social network for online retailers that want to drive traffic and sales. Shoppers get an advantage, too, as more e-tailers deploy Rich Pins, a feature made available for general use late last year, for their products, using either schema.org or Open Graph. Daily updated Product Rich Pins now include extra information such as real-time pricing, availability and where to buy metatags right on the Pin itself. And, anyone who’s pinned a product of interest will get a notification when the price has dropped. Overstock, Target, and Shopify shops are just some of the sites that take advantage of the feature. Given that 75 percent of its traffic comes from mobile devices, it’s nice that a recent update to Pinterest’s iPhone mobile app – and on the way for Andoid and iPads – also makes Pins information and images bigger on small screens.
- Best Buy was one of the earliest retailers to look to semantic web technologies to help out shoppers (and its business), adding meaning to product data via RDFa and leveraging ontologies such as GoodRelations, FOAF and GEO. Today, the company’s web site properties use microdata and schema.org, continually adding to shopper engagement with added data elements, such as in-stock data and store location information for products in search results, as you can see in this presentation this summer by Jay Myers, Best Buy’s Emerging Digital Platforms Product Manager, given at Search Marketing Expo.
- Retailers such as Urban Decay, Crate&Barrel, Golfsmith and Kate Somerville are using Edgecase’s Adaptive Experience platform, generating user-friendly taxonomies from the data they already have to drive a better customer navigation and discovery experience. The system relies on both machine learning and human curation to let online buyers shop on their terms, using the natural language they want to employ (see our story here for more details).
- Walmart at its Walmart Labs has been steadily driving semantic technology further into its customer shopping experience. Last year, for example, Walmart Labs senior director Abhishek Gattani discussed at the Semantic Technology and Business conference capabilities it’s developed such as semantic algorithms for color detection so that it can rank apparel, for instance, by the color a shopper is looking for and show him items in colors close to read when red itself is not available, as well as categorizing queries to direct people to the department that’s really most interesting to them. This year, WalMart Labs added talent from Adchemy when it acquired the company to bring further expertise in semantic search and data analytics to its team, as well as Luvocracy, an online community that enables the social shopping experience—from discovery of products recommended by people a users trusts to commerce itself. Search and product discovery is at the heart of new features its rolling out to drive the in-store experience too, via mobile apps such as Search My Store to find exactly where items on their list are located at any retail site.
What’s your favorite semantically-enhanced shopping experience? Share it with our readers below to streamline their holiday shopping!