EXCLUSIVE: Sur La Table boosts e-commerce results with generative AI

Chadwick Radaz
Chadwick Radaz, director, Sur La Table

Sur La Table is leveraging generative AI to transform digital performance.

Chain Store Age recently spoke with Chadwick Radaz, director, Sur La Table, about how the kitchen and culinary retailer utilizes generative AI technology from Bloomreach to optimize a wide variety of processes relating to its e-commerce operation.

What business issues was Sur La Table facing?

Before teaming up with Bloomreach, we faced several pressing business challenges. Our existing e-commerce search and merchandising tool wasn't delivering the customer experience we envisioned. 

Customers struggled to find products using our site's search bar, and our basic out-of-the-box product recommendations weren't driving results or integrating well with our tech stack. In addition, we lacked visibility into where these recommendations were coming from, making it tough to optimize our merchandising strategy and drive the e-commerce performance we envisioned. 

Overall, Sur La Table needed to revamp our digital experience to better showcase products and improve key metrics like average order value (AOV), revenue per visitor (RPV) and return on investment (ROI). 

With Bloomreach Discovery in place, we've tackled these issues head-on by integrating it seamlessly with our existing tech stack, enhancing our technology and customer experience to better meet the needs of our shoppers.

Why did you select a generative AI-based solution?

Sur La Table needed a solution to address our specific business challenges — product discovery, outdated e-commerce tools, disconnected product recommendations, limited merchandising insights and suboptimal e-commerce performance — and provide advanced capabilities to enhance our digital experience. 

With our previous search and recommendation tools lacking sophistication, we needed a solution that could understand customer intent and deliver tailored product discovery experiences. Bloomreach's generative AI-based approach met these requirements and offered customizable merchandising capabilities and actionable insights for strategy optimization.

A few of us also had success with Bloomreach at a different company, so that experience, paired with the immediate lift in search AOV and ATC rates upon implementation, instilled major confidence in the capabilities of its generative AI technology. 

Ongoing generative AI optimization is an added bonus, helping us ensure continuous improvement by delivering relevant, personalized experiences at scale while streamlining operations and improving internal workflows.

How do you apply generative AI in your enterprise?

Sur La Table leverages generative AI's capabilities across multiple business areas, including product discovery enhancement. Generative AI powers our site search to understand customer intent and return ultra-relevant results. It also generates personalized recommendations on product pages to encourage larger baskets and higher AOV.

In addition, we tailor merchandising for seasonal promotions, sale events and global site enhancements. The insights we gain allow us to optimize strategies with clear performance attribution, which has been invaluable for initiatives like creating redirects for sale-related searches to boost conversion.

Behind the scenes, generative AI streamlines operations by applying best practices, including automatic facet selection and weighting for better filtering. This solution has minimized the need for manual oversight and freed up our team for more impactful work.

Can you discuss results in greater depth?

Sur La Table has been very impressed with the outcomes we've achieved since incorporating Bloomreach generative AI technology. In terms of customer experience, we have had over 9 million visits to our AI-powered recommendation widgets and delivered a 7.6% increase in AOV for site search and a 6.6% lift in ATC rate by improving relevance and lifting engagement by 14.3%.

Generative AI has also helped us boost merchandising performance by leveraging data insights to optimize seasonal promotions and implement global facets, leading to a 13.2% surge in category AOV. We've also reduced manual oversight time since using AI to automatically apply best practices, freeing our teams to focus on more impactful initiatives.

Are there any future plans for generative AI you can discuss?

We are excited about upcoming digital integrations that'll further enhance the Sur La Table digital experience. Sur La Table is continually exploring ways to leverage AI capabilities to innovate and improve our customer journey, as well as curate and create content at scale. 

[Read more: Sur La Table rolling out same-day delivery via Walmart partnership]

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