Buyers eagerly anticipating the Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) deals for big purchases is now an annual ritual. Not so long ago, most holiday shopping was done at physical storefronts, shopping malls, and supermarkets. But things have changed drastically with the rapid boom of eCommerce.
BFCM has already set a new milestone for online shopping in 2020 with a surge of 22% (YoY), accounting for $9billion. And, despite the re-opening of physical storefronts, 2021 does not seem to be any different in terms of online shopping. Seventy-four percent of shoppers expect to purchase online this year, according to a Publicis Sapient poll.
A poll by the Black Friday website suggests that 52% of customers are willing to take advantage of promotional offers and discounts on this day. Additionally, internet buying on Cyber Monday is predicted to grow by 61% this year.
AI can be the game-changer during BFCM
Retail businesses are experiencing a robust digital transformation, especially after the pandemic-induced lockdowns. Machine Learning (ML) powered by big data can help businesses forecast demand and personalize services by leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI).
As an eCommerce business, you can benefit from propensity models that help predict consumer behavior based on the data you have about past purchases. Since ML engines are built on top of artificial neural networks that can mimic the learning process in human brains, they achieve an increasingly higher level of accuracy with more usage.
AI can also help estimate the number of products and inventory holding you need “on-hand” to account for upselling and cross-selling. Furthermore, it enables you to efficiently plan for and manage pricing, logistics, and distribution during BCFM sales.
With the why behind the use of AI clear, it’s time to know how you can leverage AI this BFCM for eCommerce success. Check out these smart ways to leverage AI and outgrow competition.
Online stores witness a 220% traffic boost on Black Friday, according to Adthena’s data. One way to make the most of it is to use AI that optimizes conversion. This is where recommender systems pay off.
Recommendation algorithms pioneered by Amazon have redefined the eCommerce market as almost every online store now uses it. Increasingly, many eCommerce businesses use data from a variety of third-party resources to estimate what a customer will purchase next based on their recent purchases.
Product personalization is possible when you know what your customers recently purchased. For instance, if your customer bought a new smartphone on Black Friday sale, leverage AI to offer extended warranty and screen-protection plan under “usually bought together” suggestions. This way, you can use AI both — to upsell and cross-sell products through product suggestions.
AI-powered e-commerce tools like Dialogue can deliver personalized product recommendations along with tailored messaging. Its #Recommender displays automated related product suggestions on the product page, collections pages, and home page.
Ultimately, you benefit from analyzing your customers’ purchasing behaviors who return to your business time and time again. Machine learning tools can help you predict customer repurchase habits and preferences.
Additionally, if you use proper data labeling techniques and high-quality annotations, the AI model can easily learn it and complete the tasks properly. This will help you provide a more tailored experience for customers using the right data for remarketing.
Cross-sell successfully with product recommendations
Personalization is easy if you’re a small store in a city having a one-to-one relationship with your customers. But most e-commerce retailers don’t work that way and have too many diverse shoppers for personalization to be effective.
Most buyers are sure of what they want to buy during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Therefore, if visitors fail to find products they are looking for quickly enough, they will exit your site and move elsewhere.
Using AI to understand what they are looking for is key to ending their search quicker and cross-selling other relevant products. Many eCommerce giants are well aware of this — which is why you’ll see tailored suggestions on Amazon, eBay, Spotify, and Netflix, among others.
That’s why it’s crucial to provide smart products & customer segmentation to tailor product suggestions that make way for upselling and cross-selling opportunities. An online store that personalizes product suggestions with AI may drastically enhance their order value and total income.
Preference profiles that include precise, attribute-level product tags in addition to customer data to create suggestions on every page of your website, improving the likelihood of cross-sells.
The browsing activity of site users is tracked, and they get suggestions that fit their preference profile. Returning guests’ recommendations are much more significant.
Convert hesitant shoppers with custom pop-ups
You don’t want to lose out on customers who have already trusted you in the past by placing orders. If you are running a store on Shopify, it can maximize holiday revenue by identifying and presenting relevant, interesting, and supplementary products based on their behavior.
For instance, if your visitors scroll down to a Product Details Page (PDP) after viewing a product or jump between PDPs, it suggests they are not finding anything they are looking for and, ultimately, may leave your site.
You need to implement methods to control such dropouts, especially amidst the BFCM sales. One such method involves showing popups that appear when a visitor is about to leave your site.
When this browsing behavior occurs, you can place an exit-intent smart pop-up programmed to display offers. It helps:
- Retain potential customers
- Reduce cart abandonment
- Improve conversion rate
When AI takes over these operations, shoppers are immediately provided with discounts and offers that match their preferences. You can decide for what you’d like to customize the pop-up? Upselling the latest version of a product that your customer is interested in or cross-selling a relevant product related to your customer’s recent interests.
Send personalized remarketing emails
Machine learning can overcome the challenge of accessing real email customer touchpoints by mining data and design preferences profiles.
You can also use an AI-powered solution to automate data collecting, saving you time and providing useful insights on your customers/website visitors.
AI unlocks access to key customer data to segment your email marketing efforts into hundreds of internal sub-campaigns. Imagine using this data for follow-up emails post-sales with an intent to benefit from brand recall.
So, you can implement AI in this BFCM to compose email subjects better, target users under defined categories such as “frequent buyer”, “recently acquired customer”, “frequent window shopper”, etc. It then uses these data sets to generate topics that increase your open and click-through rate, ultimately resulting in more revenue.
Here’s a quick example to understand this better:
Assume that a shopper adds an item to their basket but then leaves the website without making a purchase. Some people may react positively if encouraged to act after a short time, whereas others choose to ignore it.
By integrating behavioral data or past data from comparable customer categories, AI assists in determining the optimal moment to approach the prospective customer again. Thus, if your triggered email campaigns are automated, they will have a higher probability of success.
So if a customer bought a new laptop on the Black Friday sale, AI can help you sell a relevant laptop-related add-on product on Cyber Monday.
Emails may also be scheduled far in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday so that shoppers have plenty of time to learn about the excellent offers they’re going to receive.
Time to level up your selling
Calling the BFCM eCommerce competition “fierce” would be an understatement.
AI can be your secret weapon. Effective implementation of AI during BFCM is all about engaging shoppers at multiple touchpoints to make their experience pleasant, and leading them through the buying journey and beyond.
As a still-nascent technology, AI will continue to develop, enabling you to better understand consumer behavior, and ultimately help implement strategies that’ll boost your eCommerce performance. But for now, it’s time to scale up your BFCM selling with the aforementioned tactics.