This post is sponsored by BigCommerce.
Consumers today have unprecedented access to information, which means they have more autonomy when it comes to purchasing decisions, especially with digital commerce. Merchants know that it is no longer possible for them to solely rely on traditional customer experience strategies to cultivate customer loyalty and increase sales. A brand’s ability to compete requires thinking outside the box.
Technologies such as artificial intelligence can help retailers boost their ecommerce strategies by enhancing personalization, harnessing data, increasing engagement and building brand loyalty in an age of less loyal customers.
While AI use in retail is still in its infancy, retailers have a rich and ever-growing trove of customer data at their disposal, which puts AI in retail on a path to reach a value of $6 billion this year, according to market research firm Fact.MR. The firm predicts that by 2033, AI use by retailers will balloon to a valuation of $85 billion globally.
Incorporating AI into your retail strategy can boost:
- Customer experience
- Customer satisfaction
- Brand loyalty
“If you are looking to deploy AI into your ecommerce model, instead of trying to do everything at once, focus on investing in the areas you think can have the biggest impact. For some retailers that might be a chatbot to help answer simple questions or a solution for product recommendations, while others might benefit from product categorization for feed optimization. The key is to do what makes the most sense for your business,” says Fiona Norton, Senior Manager, Product Marketing at BigCommerce.
AI helps personalize the shopping experiences
Using AI in combination with big data, merchants can customize customer interactions by making product recommendations based on individual preferences and purchasing behaviors. AI offers insights into shopping habits and real-time browsing history — enabling retailers to tailor recommendations and optimize search efforts. Shoppers can feel confident they are getting product recommendations based on their past activities with a site, rather than logging on and seeing the same products that have been selected for a home page. By bringing that data into focus and using data insights, retailers can strengthen customer relationships.
Personalization plays a vital role in fostering customer loyalty and trust. By providing customers with relevant experiences across all channels — from website navigation to personalized emails or SMS messages — brands create unique connections that drive sales and satisfaction in the digital world.
Knowing the needs of your target audience is key for successful personalization; treating each individual as more than just another generic buyer requires retailers to customize every touchpoint along their journey. Realizing this, retailers are looking to harness the power of their data through AI. According to research by Statista, more than 80% of industry professionals include AI technology in their online marketing efforts.
“We’ve done research that shows shoppers, especially Gen Z and millennials, are willing to share personal information in exchange for personalized shopping experiences. However, it’s important to note that privacy is still a concern, so many might be willing to share their email, but less inclined to share their social media, notes Norton, adding, “Retailers should be up-front about what information they collect and how they are using it. Once you develop that trust with your customers, you can really start using AI for personalization at multiple touch points throughout the journey.”
While AI offers a range of benefits, retailers must also be aware that it raises ethical questions about consumer data privacy and the ability to deliver reliable predictions of consumer behavior. Safeguarding customer data is paramount as enterprise retailers continue to use AI to personalize the shopping experience.
What’s ahead for AI and ecommerce
AI has the potential to revolutionize personalization, allowing merchants to customize the experience for each user. Looking ahead, more retailers are expected to harness the power of AI to drive profound transformations in their customer engagement, gain useful shopper insights and create brand loyalty.
“AI solutions help retailers in many ways, specifically by helping analyze vast amounts of data and automating processes. This enables retailers to make better predictions, be more efficient with their resources, and most importantly, deliver the shopping experiences that drive trust and brand loyalty,” Norton says. “At BigCommerce, we believe in open commerce so that merchants can use the best tools and solutions for their needs. With our open, two-way APIs, we make it so that merchants can more easily integrate with leading AI search, recommendation and personalization engines,” Norton concludes.
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