Google Cloud introduced a series of item discovery tools to boost retailers' e-commerce capabilities and create personalized customer experiences, the company announced on Tuesday.
The tools include Recommendations AI, which lets retailers provide tailored product recommendations across all channels; Vision API Product Search, which lets shoppers search for products using images and provides them with similar items; and Google Cloud Search for Retail, which provides retailers with advanced search functionality, according to the company announcement.
The Recommendations AI and Vision API Product Search tools are available to all companies, but Google Cloud Search for Retail remains in private preview, per the company announcement.
Google recognized that retailers needed tech tools to meet the needs of today's customers, especially as consumers shift their spending online and seek personalized experiences, Carrie Tharp, vice president of retail and consumer at Google Cloud, said in a statement. The company noted in its announcement that retailers face newfound pressure to prioritize e-commerce functionality as the COVID-19 pandemic drives an online surge.
Major retailers have been revamping their digital offerings to provide consumers with personalized shopping experiences. In November, Saks Fifth Avenue relaunched its website to center on "fashion, ease and personalization." EBay also implemented a series of personalization features for shoppers aimed to show customers items that suit their interests, including tailoring sales offers and showing customers a curated homepage.
But as consumers shop more online, retailers face a challenging problem: How do they give consumers a tailored experience without overstepping privacy boundaries?
Research suggests consumers want retailers to cater to them but not at the expense of their digital identities. More than half of consumers (53%) believe brands and retailers should prioritize their digital anonymity more, according to a 2020 Episerver report. And about one-fifth of consumers worldwide said they switched to a competitor that adheres to what they perceive to be better data practices, and 57% of American consumers would forego personalization to safeguard their privacy, according to a survey from The Conference Board and Nielsen.