According to a report by Accenture Interactive, “By learning about consumer preferences… companies can significantly increase their ability to stay relevant and competitive. Most importantly, companies that harness the power of advanced analytics to drive their recommendation engines will not only find, but also thread, the needle in the continually growing haystack of consumer data.”

That has certainly been the case at Skis.com, an innovative 36-year-old merchant of ski and snowboard gear and apparel. The company first introduced Commerce Cloud’s AI-powered product recommendations with an three-month A/B split test run during the fourth quarter, which represents the majority of its peak selling for the year. The results were impressive, with product recommendations driving an increase in the number of orders per session, conversion, and average order value.
 
 

The results exceeded our expectations, plus the system was simple to run and operate. It just works. That’s why Product Recommendations will play a key part in our growth going forward.”

Andy Schepper | Chief Operating Officer for Skis.com
Skis.com understands how important personalization is to winning the sale. When it comes to product recommendations, consumers expect a personalized shopping experience where just a few clicks on their phone leads to exactly the right products for their individual needs. After all, skis are not only a big-ticket item but also often represent a bundle of needs (bindings, poles, warm clothes, etc.) that together reflect each customer’s strong personal preferences and tastes.
 

Skis.com was an early adopter of Commerce Cloud’s Einstein Product Recommendations, which leverages leading-edge data science to suggest products for both known and anonymous shoppers across the entire shopping journey, in real time. “We know skis are not a simple purchase,” says Andy Schepper, Chief Operating Officer. “And if we don’t provide our shoppers with an easier, more informed experience, they may simply seek out the lowest price elsewhere. We needed a system to provide relevance for each consumer, so we are making personalized connections for them.”

For example, a shopper who adds a jacket to their cart will be automatically presented with alternative jackets, as well as cross-sell items that speak to their broader needs, like hats and pants to ward off winter temperatures, or the right poles to complement their interest in ski apparel. These recommendations happen automatically with every customer click which, given the enormity of the Skis.com product catalog, both saves time and guesswork for its merchandisers.

 

Each recommendation is powered by Einstein, next-generation artificial intelligence baked right into the Commerce Cloud platform. Einstein models shopper activity and affinities in real-time to predict the most relevant products to promote to each individual shopper. With each click and interaction, Einstein gets smarter, with each recommendation becoming more refined and accurate.

Indeed, that was a key point for Skis.com, which has been on the Commerce Cloud since 2012. “The Commerce Cloud [formerly Demandware] already has all of our product information, browser behavior, and transactions and operates the storefront where the recommendations are shown. It just made sense to adopt the recommendation engine too. This capability was a natural evolution of what we were already doing with the Commerce Cloud,” says Scott Touchette, Director of Technology for Skis.com.

And it’s certainly paid off — Commerce Cloud Einstein has helped Skis.com see an increase of over 7% overall revenue per visitor. “The results exceeded our expectations, plus the system was simple to run and operate. It just works,” says Andy Schepper, Chief Operating Officer for Skis.com.

 
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