Forecasts estimate US eCommerce sales will cross $1 trillion for the first time in 2022.
The industry has grown more in the last 18 months than in the previous ten years. While Amazon has the monopoly on the eCommerce space, with 40% of all US sales, the opportunity is there for retailers to capitalize on new consumer habits.
Customers want convenience, a personalized shopping experience, and anticipation of their needs. How can artificial intelligence (AI) help you to engage buyers, track trends, and provide a stellar shopping experience? Let’s find out.
AI is constantly evolving. Think of the benefits of online shopping for your customers!
If you’ve set up your eCommerce store with your customer in mind, they should be able to purchase goods with a few clicks of a mouse. They don’t need to leave their house, fight over parking spaces, or stand in endless queues. They can use online price comparison tools to find the best deals. They can order products from anywhere in the country or world.
But with eCommerce growing at a rapid rate, what trends do you need to look out for and possibly implement in 2022?
Before augmented reality (AR), many customers didn’t have the confidence to make big purchases online. How do you know if clothes fit or how a beauty product looks on your skin?
With the introduction of AR, brands and retailers allow customers to ‘try on’ clothes using their phones and built-in cameras, and beauty products can be overlaid on a customer’s face via video. Home décor brands take advantage of AR to showcase furniture in 3D-rendered spaces.
Informed purchases lead to higher conversion rates due to a better customer experience and reduced return rates.
AI gives brands and retailers the tools to personalize every step of the buyer journey. Customers want to shop with brands that offer recommendations relevant to them.
An AI-based recommendation engine can provide highly relevant suggestions for products to upsell or complement a purchase, but to go one step further, companies might adopt a zero-party data approach.
To give customers the ultimate power over their shopping experience, let them choose what they like or dislike to gain insights into their needs, interests, and intent.
To optimize your eCommerce store for mobile, make sure your website is mobile-responsive. Images and videos should fit the screen. Turn links that are hard to view into buttons and make your checkout mobile-friendly.
Another exciting area to focus on is visual search. When customers take a screenshot of something they like and want to find it online, they could upload the images to your site and search for similar items. This goes above and beyond and enables you to make recommendations.
Consumers take advantage of AI voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google search daily. And just like people have adapted to online and mobile shopping, they’re also excited by voice shopping. Voice Shopping is estimated to reach $40 Billion in the U.S. in 2022.
It’s a natural progression to search for products by voice rather than manual keyboard input. With slow average typing speeds among the general public, a voice search is significantly faster and easier. It’s more convenient as you can multitask while searching, and it’s apt for mobile devices, as customers only need to click their microphone icon to initiate a search.
Imagine knowing which products will be popular in a month? If you can anticipate consumer demand and adjust inventory, your operations will run smoother.
Data can be aggregated while customers are shopping or browsing. Which products are in demand? Which products are hardly looked at or bought? Having these insights informs where your focus should be.
Another area to explore is combining data from eCommerce platforms, social media, and brick and mortar sales to create a personalized experience. Record a customer journey, build their profile, and personalize communication for a spectacular experience.
Marketplaces are changing the way your customers' shop. Amazon and eBay used to have a monopoly on a purely digital experience, but marketplaces find shoppers where they are.
Customers might buy from their favorite brand’s website, a Google ad, a social media ad, or even from an app like Shopify. Shopify allows merchants to sell products to customers online, and offers in-store or curbside pick-up.
Brands must capitalize on the omnichannel experience by having a strategy to follow each customer’s journey. For example, one of your customers might like to browse social media for jackets, order direct from your website, and collect their purchases in person. Having touchpoints along that journey is possible with AI.
Companies like Affirm, Klarna, and Afterpay allow customers to buy on credit and split purchases. They can also offer promotions and special offers, including discounts. They serve to decrease cart abandonment and increase conversion rates dramatically.
Often plans are interest-free and promise a handful of equal payments spread over a short period. Younger shoppers are shunning credit cards, and BNPL is an attractive option that helps build merchant and customer relationships.
AI is capable of so much already. In years to come, especially as customers gravitate towards online and mobile shopping, AI will shape the merchant and buyer relationship. You can be at the forefront of the AI revolution by optimizing your online shopping experience and adding truly personal touches to your eCommerce store.