E-Commerce Best Practices

E-commerce is changing, and artificial intelligence is the catalyst. As algorithms powered by deep neural networks evolve and learn, the bond between retailer and consumer strengthens. What should be the new e-commerce standards in this shifting landscape?

Intuitive product discovery

Consumers resist outright persuasive tactics, yet are increasingly impatient. Thus, addressing individual needs instead of assumed desires is critical to customer confidence. Past practices have included using visitor segments to create targeted landing pages and showcasing best-selling products or new arrivals. However, customer segmentation fails to recognize customers behave differently at various times, on various devices.

Visual discovery, on the other hand, is addressing customer needs because shopping is a visual engagement, one that does not always translate into words. AI that targets visual cues forms a more intuitive dialogue, delivering more personalized results.

For example, Etsy uses image recognition to help customers locate products. Their belief in the importance of innovative product discovery is exemplified by their acquisition of Blackbird Technologies in 2016 and their hiring of those with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning expertise. Companies are increasingly investing in AI for visual product discovery because old practices that rely on tagging and words are insufficient in capturing customer needs.

Integration with Social Media

Integration of a retailer’s product catalogue with social media is another development gaining momentum in e-commerce. For example, Pinterest’s “Shop the Look” feature adds tappable circles to clothing items found in pins. Upon tapping the circle, Pinterest directs you to the store in which the exact item can be purchased. Such features introduce more immediacy and engagement to traditional social media marketing. Retail sponsorship with social media celebrities will also be streamlined with this technology.

Staying Fresh

Updated web designs are not only important to your customer’s shopping experience, but to your customer’s brand perception.

Past practices for optimizing web design include A/B Testing and multivariate testing, however these will not keep up with the demands of the new generation of customers. Constant updating and variance is required to engage user interest and prevent the boredom that plagues millennials. Updating UI and UX perpetuates the perception that your brand is relevant and exciting. Elements of newness and unfamiliarity grabs the attention of the user, spurring engagement on your site. Thus, new practices will include the automation of optimization through the application of AI.

Mobile first

Mobile interfaces are not usually designed to intuitively deliver product awareness to consumers, so this should be at the forefront for a marketer. Mobile targeting needs to be concise, optimized, and up-to-date in a world where mobiles are increasingly the most essential technology.

Targeted advertising and follow-up email

Hyper-targeted follow-up emails are powerful tools in customer retention, and respond to the sense of frustration that existing email advertising (cloned or impersonal content) incites. For example, a message sent to customers to remind them of products they recently viewed, or products visually similar to those they viewed, will rekindle interest. Simple, personal touches promote credibility.

Learn how Sentient Aware can help you adapt to innovations in e-commerce.