Algolia Helps Co-op Overcome Pandemic-Driven Online Demand

Algolia Recommend Boosts Conversion Rate by 39%

Algolia, the leading API Platform for Search & Discovery, today announced that Co-operative Group (the Co-op), one of the United Kingdom’s largest food retailers with more than 2,500 local, convenience, and mid-sized grocery stores and 65,000 employees, has implemented its search and recommendation products enabling Co-op to rapidly scale its online food shopping experience and differentiate its offering.

By using the Algolia Search & Discovery platform, Co-op enables shoppers to make purchases online that are delivered to their homes with rapid delivery options including same-day delivery or a “click-and-collect” service for in-store pick-up. By introducing this new approach implementing Algolia Recommend, Co-op increased conversion rates by 39%, saw 45% growth in customer orders as additional items were added to shopping baskets, and improved overall customer experience.

“Like many businesses, Covid-19 forced us to reevaluate our online presence and build an expanded digital infrastructure coupled with an innovative delivery system”

With a hybrid shopping experience – basically an in-store and online experience – Co-op offered their customers a safe and convenient method to shop during a time when Covid-related restrictions on consumer movements were in place. Co-op’s hybrid shopping approach also attracted new customers, who enjoyed the new delivery choices.

“Like many businesses, Covid-19 forced us to reevaluate our online presence and build an expanded digital infrastructure coupled with an innovative delivery system,” said Gareth Cottiss, e-commerce development manager at Co-op Food. “Working with Algolia allowed us to improve and scale the online customer experience quickly. Importantly, it enabled us to serve a wide array of customers’ needs through our e-commerce platform, as well as operate more efficiently with our partners, such as Deliveroo and Amazon, who offered same-day, hyper-local, immediate delivery on top of our own store-pick-up.”

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The pandemic created another problem – retailers across the country experienced supply chain issues and product shortages. To ensure a good customer experience, it was critical that Co-op only offered items that were available in local stores. With Algolia’s blazing fast indexing and hyper-localization capability, Co-op was able to instantly update their website and provide a robust, accurate search experience, ensuring customers are only offered what is available in individual stores or offered alternatives. This ability to recommend suitable alternatives for out-of-stock items ensured that customers stayed with the retailer rather than bouncing to competitor sites.

Cottiss also noted: “Additionally, we were able to further fine-tune consumers’ search experience using Algolia’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered Dynamic Re-Ranking ensuring we serve up the most relevant search results for our customers. We also use Algolia Recommend to further boost engagement through AI-powered carousels that feature relevant content for online shoppers to discover new items or special offers.”

“The retail industry has been reshaped by a number of factors—including the rise of e-commerce and omnichannel, changing customer behavior and hyper-personalization, and growing supply chain complexity. Worse, consumers are becoming more connected, less loyal, more informed, and ultimately channel agnostic—all of which were exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Bernadette Nixon, chief executive officer at Algolia. “The Algolia Search and Discovery platform provides a robust tech foundation that boosts performance across the board. Co-op can offer reliable, personalized offerings that are optimized using advanced analytics and which can be updated in real time and supported by attractive digital content. Additionally, they are able to seamlessly integrate their online and offline channels with smart digital services that significantly improve their customers’ experience.”

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