With the road to conversion getting more competitive than ever before, it only makes sense for brands to do everything they can to enhance the online shopping experience.
We caught up with Dan Harding, Head of Business Development at Envolve Techto hear more about their unique affiliate publisher model that uses AI and machine learning to convert online chat and act as an extension of your brand's client support team.
CJ: Tell us about Envolve Tech. What makes your brand unique?
Dan: At Envolve Tech, we created a unique site conversion tool, our Virtual Shopping Assistant, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to answer customer questions and make contextual recommendations to website visitors, creating an engaging new sales channel. Our technology allows us to surface relevant product recommendations in real time, based on what customers are asking via the Virtual Shopping Assistant.
We officially launched into to the wonderful world of affiliate a year ago at PI Live in London, and we’re now live with 50+ advertisers both in the UK and the US.
CJ: What problems does your business solve for?
Dan: Research shows that 60% of customer queries are missed sales opportunities. Our Virtual Shopping Assistant is there to make sure these sales aren’t slipping through the net. On average, we’re helping the advertisers we work with convert an extra 5-8% of site visitors into online sales and in most cases, boost AOV by up to 10%.
It’s also worth mentioning the insights we’re able to share with our clients and how these are helping to find holes in their websites and overall marketing strategy. The customer voice is extremely valuable if you choose to harness it with our technology.
CJ: How does affiliate fit into your business model?
Dan: Affiliate makes up the commercial model for our technology. There is no upfront build fee, monthly subscription, or contract. We receive a commission when our Virtual Shopping Assistant converts a sale via our widget. This means the barriers are extremely low for advertisers, as they can test our technology in confidence. It’s in our best interest for the artificial intelligence (AI) to work well in our tech solutions, so advertisers can benefit from our quality assurance.
CJ: This seems like a unique opportunity in affiliate. Are there other providers like Envolve out there?
Dan: The AI space is vast, ranging from off the shelf chatbot providers to enterprise level bespoke builds. Currently there is no one delivering such a sophisticated level of AI while also incorporating real time product recommendations. This makes the opportunity and future extremely exciting for us and the advertisers we’re working with.
CJ: What trends do you see arising within affiliate or the digital space and how are you handling them?
Dan: A key trend that we’re seeing across the world of business and affiliate in particular is AI/machine learning and how it's being used to help with optimization and reporting. There is also a surge of tech providers like us who are harnessing a type of technology that will make up a huge part of the digital landscape.
Personalization is another big one, with more of us expecting a more personalized experience online. The likes of Amazon have been doing this well for years, but with the increase of easy to access AI, individual advertisers are starting to be able to rival the big guys.
CJ: Given all the uncertainty right now, where do you see the future of digital media?
Dan: In light of the current challenges we’re all facing, the future of digital remains a bright one. As more of us work from home—whether we like it or not—our day to day lives will become more virtual. However, this provides huge opportunities for digital media and we’re already seeing that shift in consumer shopping trends.
CJ: Any current accomplishments that you’d like to share?
Dan: After only one year in the affiliate space, we were lucky enough to be shortlisted for three awards at this year's Performance Marketing Awards. We walked away with a high commendation for Best Consumer Conversion Platform. Next year we hope to walk away with the award and maybe a few more.
Being an AI focused business, as you can imagine our product roadmap is as long as London to LA. We’re really excited about the year ahead and all the new releases we have planned for our clients.
CJ: What are next steps if a brand wants to partner with you in the CJ network?
Dan: If you're an advertiser looking to partner with us it couldn’t be easier. We simply join your affiliate program via CJ. All we need is your product feed or a CSV export and a list of your most frequently asked questions (in most cases we can get this from your website).
Once we have all of the above it's over to our team to start building and training your virtual shopping assistant. On average it takes us around 2-3 days before we’ll have something ready for you to test.