Online shopping has changed the game for retailers and consumers alike. Why would customers go on a wild goose chase for their desired products nowadays when they can just search them up and have them delivered to their door?
When customers visit your website already knowing what they’re looking to buy, they're less interested in navigating through the different categories of products and more focused on finding specific information about a particular product; whether a coffee machine has the kind of self timer they need, or whether a baby’s car seat will fit in their car. If a customer has difficulty finding something, they're likely to leave your website and go elsewhere—and that's money out of your pocket. That’s why the ability to quickly and accurately extract key attributes from product descriptions is critical. It can take a long time for staff to tag all your products’ listings with detailed specifications, covering every possible keyword, which means it takes longer to get products in front of shoppers. This becomes an even larger problem if you have a large inventory and limited resources—more so if descriptions are formatted differently across different manufacturers.
This is where attribute extraction tools come into play. These tools allow retailers to extract important information from suppliers to share on their websites, making it easy for customers to find the information they need to make a purchasing decision. By doing so, retailers can help guide customers to the right products, ultimately leading to higher sales and customer satisfaction. It’s also possible to tag large volumes of data much more efficiently than could ever be done manually. (Of course, it's important to note that even with automation, it's still necessary to have people check the results. While machines can do the bulk of the work, they aren't perfect and human oversight is necessary to ensure accuracy.)
The evolution of our attribute extraction tool has come a long way - initially, we used a tool to extract information about home printers using Regex to match text strings directly. This worked well, but as printer manufacturers started to introduce new features and synonyms for keywords related to double-sided printing, colour printing, and scanning features, it became harder and harder to match them exactly.
While it's impractical to manually list every possible synonym, our latest approach has simplified the process. Instead of custom-developing the Regex attribute each time a change is made, an API is used to identify the attribute based on its name using natural language. This new approach has made it easier to set up and can be applied to any attribute.
However, our newest version of our attribute extraction tool isn't just limited to printers. By using question and answering models and natural language processing (NLP), retailers can extract key attributes from free-text product descriptions and make them searchable on their website. This allows customers to easily shop for computers using relevant specifications, such as RAM, memory, and screen size, and can be expanded to other products like home appliances, baby car seats, and more.
Another challenge for retailers is that product descriptions are formatted differently across different brands and products, making it difficult for customers to find the information they want. Attribute extraction can help retailers make shopping easier for customers by helping them find the products they're looking for, even when product descriptions are formatted differently.
For example, a customer might be looking for a laptop with a specific amount of RAM and storage. Our attribute extraction tool can help them filter laptops by those specifications, saving time and ensuring the customer doesn’t need to leave your site to find information about the laptop elsewhere. Not only that, we can also use this tool to suggest similar laptops that meet those specifications, providing more buying options for the customer.
As online retail continues to transform the way we do business, it's essential to stay ahead of the game. Ensuring that customers can easily find what they're looking for on your website is critical, and attribute extraction tools are a game-changer in achieving this. If you’re interested in learning more about how attribute extraction could work on your website, get in touch with one of our experts here.