An amazing 2022 & laying the building blocks for 2023
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When my co-founder Tariq and I started Shopbox AI in 2020, we set out to change how online retailers serviced their customers, moving from generic product suggestions to a digital version of the traditional in-store shop assistant. Our first product, the AI Shopping Assistant, began this process and resonated with quite a number of retailers who joined the platform in 2020 - 2021, and continue to reap the benefits of increased customer experience and resultant sales uplift.
But 2022 has been transformative.
As a retail technology company we recognise that you either innovate or stagnate. With this mantra in mind, from a product offering perspective, the team delivered advances in the Shop Assistant and mid-year released our curated homepage grid, providing an Amazon-style shopping experience which has gotten an amazing reception from existing customers wanting to upgrade and net new retailers. Subsequently this was enhanced with our self-serve grid builder, empowering the retailer to configure their own homepage and offering to their site visitors. Further product releases saw the addition of AI-powered product carousels and with an eye to the future and the Enterprise market, opening our API to provide real-time intelligence to other business systems.
When I talk to a prospective retailer, and they describe our solution as ‘genius’, I know we’re doing the right things!
I’ll be honest and say that at the start of 2022, our awareness in our home market was on the low side. I’m delighted that as we approach the end of year, this has reversed and the name recognition of Shopbox AI has vastly increased. Our enhanced solution offering and the buzz it has created in the sector is a contributing factor, but as things opened up, we got out more into the community. We joined retail advocacy organisations, Retail Excellence Ireland and RetailNI, to help support the important work they do across the island of Ireland. We also invested in marketing and content, creating 150+ pieces of insight and knowledge building content and more than doubled our LinkedIn audience.
We attended and participated at a number of domestic and international events such as our partner StudioForty9’s Excellence in eCommerce, the eComm Live Conference, Retail Excellence Ireland’s Digital Summit, where I was on stage with our client schuh, speaking of the benefits they have experienced, attended eCommerce Expo Berlin with Enterprise Ireland, the Dublin Tech Summit, Business Beyond Borders, eCommerce Unpacked plus many more.
Left: Shopbox AI team celebrating their win at eComm Live awards in Dublin
Right: Alan Gormley (CEO, Shopbox AI) presenting at the eComm Live event in Belfast
We have also been recognised by the community, becoming a finalist in two categories at the AI Awards in November, nominated for two National Digital Awards happening in 2023 and the ultimate prize, winning eCommerce Software Tool of the Year at the eComm Awards in September.
All of this positive exposure and reputation building has opened many doors as partner organisations and online retailers began to see Shopbox AI as a competent and trustworthy partner with solutions that can help them address challenges they are facing. We added new partners such as Blueygreen, Matrix Internet and Ireland Website Design and deepened our relationship with existing partners such as Crest Ireland, StudioForty9 and ChannelSight. We more than doubled our customer base in 2022, adding marquee names such as Rocks, McElhinneys Department Stores, Trinity College Dublin, Foxford, Arboretum, TileStyle and EZ Living while continuing to expand internationally with retailers such as Kitlocker, Best Beds Direct and Soyaconcept (our first Nordic client). We also expanded into new sectors such as food & beverage, welcoming Kerrigan’s, Village Butchers, Molloys Liquor Stores and Whelehan’s Fine Wines to our family.
In closing, none of the success we have enjoyed this year would have been possible without the support and confidence of our business community, advisors, investors, partners, customers and last but not least our fabulous team at Shopbox AI. I’m personally so grateful for everything you have done to make 2022 an amazing year and setting the stage for 2023.
Alan & Tariq