Today, online stores thrive as they have never been before. E-commerce businesses are continually looking for new ways to attract online shoppers and grow sales. One of many keys to success lies in following current market trends. That’s why, in this article, we will take a closer look at five major e-commerce trends.
What springs to your mind when you think about shopping? Do you visualize staying in a long line, paying in cash, and dealing with all sorts of customers and shop assistants? As dreadful as it may sound, 40 years ago, that was the only shopping reality. Since the late 1990s, we have been able to comfortably lean back on our armchairs, scroll through thousands of products and buy them with just one click. That’s what online shopping is all about.
Online shopping has become so natural for us; we buy clothes, furniture, and even food on the Internet, and it’s all being conveniently delivered to our homes. The popularity of e-commerce business nowadays is undeniable. But what is there in electronic commerce that made it so irreplaceable?
What should you know about the e-commerce business?
The most important thing to recognize about the e-commerce business is that it never stops. Along with technical developments and customer expectations, online shopping is constantly changing and growing. When Jeff Bezos opened Amazon in 1994, it started as a digital bookstore. Moreover, not many people owned computers in their households at that time. Fast forward to 2022, and Amazon is one of the largest online stores (or rather marketplaces) with a variety of different products, shipping worldwide. There is no time to waste in the e-commerce business.
More and more companies and businesses open online stores to meet their customers’ expectations, which changed significantly in the last 30 years. Just a few people now are willing to physically visit the store and spend their free time waiting in lines, dealing with crowds, noise and smells. Rather, they prefer to conduct a purchase in their own homes peacefully. Therefore, e-commerce stores face more and more challenging demands.
Despite the difficulties the e-commerce business has to overcome every day, it has become a huge success worldwide. One might think there is a secret ingredient hidden; the key, however, is consistency and constant development. Sounds well-worn? It works with e-commerce just fine!
Consistency is needed for the customers’ feeling of safety and reliability. Having seen the advertisement of your services, the customers want to see similarities and familiar elements once they decide to visit your online store. It is extremely important in building good customer experiences.
There is no other way in the modern, ever-evolving technological world than development. E-commerce faces changes every day, be it personalized content, different SEO expectations, or mobile-friendliness. However, it can successfully fulfill these demands because of the awareness of the modern market.
The e-commerce business implements multiple techniques to satisfy online shoppers and increase revenue. For some time now, we’ve been able to spot specific e-commerce trends that shape this market. What is becoming most desirable in 2022? Let’s find out!
Top 5 e-commerce trends
Augmented reality (AR) has already been used by a few companies, for example, the creators of the Pokemon Go game. It changes the game of online shopping significantly, especially when we think about products that we would rather see, touch, or measure in real life. AR makes it possible to “introduce” these products into reality without leaving your home.
Customers want to be noticed by their favorite brands; that is why it is extremely important to take care of personalized content. It is created on the basis of information collected by machine learningalgorithms, and it provides messages aligned perfectly with the particular customer and their needs and interests.
Even though some of us may not fancy talking to shop assistants, it is important for customers to quickly and conveniently find the product they are looking for. If this process lasts too long during online shopping, customers may get frustrated. Chatbots are a way out of this situation; programmed and automated, they provide great customer support. Moreover, thanks to personalization and AI, chatbots are becoming more intuitive and able to provide well-tailored content.
Devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant gained their popularity quite a while ago; customers have discovered the convenience of voice searching. More and more people are in possession of smart speakers, but even a smartphone is frequently used for this function. This is a crucial message to the e-commerce business as the content accuracy and keywords will be at stake here.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the most widely-used technology in any kind of online business. Personalization, product recommendations, chatbots, advertisements – all of these, and many more, start with AI. E-commerce businesses make use of it mostly in terms of customers’ preferences, activities, and tendencies to create a more engaging online shopping experience. There is no doubt that AI has changed the reality of e-commerce, and along with its development, it will remain a key factor.
Marketing nowadays has become as demanding as ever before; with the constantly developing technology and rising customer expectations, businesses are striving for tools and techniques which can make their services more efficient and satisfying. There are many ways in which marketers try to engage customers; most of the activities, however, tend to be repetitive, monotonous, and time-consuming. With an overload of information, plans and goals, it is almost impossible to provide a fast-working, effective service that would persuade your customers to stay. Luckily, there is a solution: Marketing automation.
In this article, we will discuss the principle of marketing automation and the reasons why in modern businesses, it is no longer a nice-to-have but a definite must-have.
What is marketing automation?
Automation generally refers to transferring or replacing manual activities and repetitive tasks with automatic ones. In other words, the processes which were previously done entirely by people can now be conducted by automation software.
Marketing automation is this kind of technology. It is usually referred to as software that automates marketing activities and processes to increase the effectiveness and precision of campaigns, messages, and advertisements. As stated before, organizing and performing these repetitive tasks manually is a great challenge for both employees and the business itself; in situations like these, marketing automation platforms come and save the day.
How does marketing automation work?
The most crucial role of marketing automation is gathering and organizing information about customers’ experiences and activity. The customer data is available through different channels which are used to maintain communication: Emails, social media, applications, and websites.
The use of marketing automation software makes it possible to automate all the necessary activities which have to be done by marketers. This way, they are no longer obliged to spend long hours sending emails, posting on social media, or even creating ads or campaigns. All of these processes are performed by the software, which, thanks to its machine learning and automation, provides more efficient and streamlined results.
Why does your site need marketing automation?
Automating your processes will bring plenty of benefits to your business. Let’s take a closer look at the essential ones.
Efficiency. Both your business processes and your team will benefit from marketing automation. As stated before, it frees up your marketers from repetitive tasks and time-consuming activities. Thanks to automated processes, your employees can focus and spend more time on other, more creative aspects of the marketing business, such as planning and organizing campaigns.
Accuracy. This seems to be a broad term, but mostly it refers to reports and analyses of your customers’ experience. Yes, information can be collected and analyzed by marketers, but this solution may have a few gaps. Let’s take, for instance, differentiating warm and cold leads – while your team has to spend a great amount of time searching and guessing who can become a part of your potential audience; marketing automation does it precisely on the basis of the online activity.
Personalization. Automating marketing processes is connected not only with accurate but also personalized content targeted to particular customers. The information gathered by the marketing automation software makes it easier to create well-tailored messages aligned with customers’ personal experiences.
Management. With marketing automation, each and every important aspect is categorized, segmented, and labeled to help the team organize their work. It is also much easier to conduct such processes when everything has its own place, and one click is enough to start an activity. Automating online marketing campaigns elevates your business to a higher level, providing you with more aligned, personal content, better timing, and bigger efficiency. But how can you implement it in your company?
Popular marketing automation tools
Before deciding on a proper automation tool, it is important to consider a few aspects of your business and company goals. What is the size of your business? Some tools will work better with smaller companies. However, if your business is thriving, you can afford more expensive, hence more advanced marketing automation tools. What are your goals? Are you focused more on sending emails, or maybe more processes need to be covered? Having answered these and other necessary questions, have a look at some popular choices on marketing automation tools:
HubSpot – An all-in-one tool providing basic functionalities
Marketo – A mature, well-known tool perfect not only for marketing but also for sales processes
Eloqua – Exceptional, advanced, but also top of the line
Omnisend – Perfect for creating well-tailored, personalized content for your customers
By choosing a marketing automation platform that matches your business expectations perfectly, you will certainly make the most of marketing automation.
Customer engagement (or customer loyalty) is one of the e-commerce holy grails. Every online entrepreneur wants to have loyal customers who frequently go back to his or her store in order to buy more products. But why is this customer engagement so important? What are the benefits for your business? And what can you do to enhance brand loyalty in your business? Let’s find out!
Topics related to customer engagement frequently come back on our blog. Last time, we talked about a customer engagement strategy [link]. In that article, we told you a lot about designing a strategy (and available techniques) and implementing it in your online business.
Loyalty programs, personalized customer experiences and product recommendations, online reviews, and marketing campaigns are all great ways to achieve brand loyalty. Every effective customer engagement strategy should be based on such actions.
What is customer engagement?
On the one hand, customer engagement is rather intangible. After all, being a loyal customer can mean different things to different people. Some may think that brand loyalty is all about just not buying competitors’ products. Or that after purchasing the product, the customer should treat it with the utmost care to show how precious it is to them.
The marketing world, though, had to coin a more measurable definition of customer engagement. Frequently, we define customer loyalty through the fact that customers often go back and purchase more products. If you run an online store and you have a customer that places an order once a month – you’ve got yourself an engaged customer.
Of course, the frequency of shopping is not the only factor. After all, many online stores sell products that don’t need to be replaced every month, correct? For instance, if you sell skis and snowboards, it is rather unlikely that customers will need new skis every month. But they can come back to buy a jacket, or maybe a new helmet. In such a setup, even buying something once a year can mean that you have a loyal customer.
What’s important is that the engaged customerdoesn’t forget about your brand after one purchase and goes away forever. On the contrary, they stay involved with your brand, which can mean that they:
Follow your social media profiles and do that willingly
Subscribe your newsletter
Frequently visit your store for new offers and discounts
In other words, a loyal customer is an active customer.
Why is customer engagement important?
For starters, loyal customers are ready to buy from you more than once. That means that with them, you sell more products. Selling more products offers many significant advantages! Your business is more stable and reliable (which is very important, especially in these troubled times). You can test new marketing tools and introduce new products to your offer. And finally, you can plan expansion with confidence.
Loyal customers are usually also so-called early adopters. This means that they are interested in every new product that you offer, even if it is a complete novelty on the market. The best example: Apple, obviously. People are willing to spend many hours in lines just to get the latest iPhone, even though there are no significant differences compared to the previous model. And they are willing to pay a lot of money for these products! That is, by far, the best example of brand loyalty in action.
How to improve customer engagement
It all starts with two things:
The quality of the products that you offer
Your customer service
Both these elements have to be as good as possible. People are willing to buy again only when satisfied with the first purchase. Make sure you treat each new customer with care. Show it in every element of your business.
Here, personalization is of paramount importance. Customers are especially interested in smart product suggestions – you should introduce them in your store. You can create a loyalty program or a VIP club that rewards people for buying more products (e.g., with discounts, free delivery, or other purchase-related benefits). Other elements comprise subtle reminders about your offer (you can use push notifications or newsletters for that), regular discounts and promotions, attractive prices, and other marketing techniques. Even typical ads can be perfect for growing customer loyalty. That’s because nowadays, people are flooded with news and impulses. They can simply forget about your offer, even if they were satisfied with the service provided. That’s why it is so important to say in touch with them.
And if you are looking for a personalization solution for your online business, drop us a line. At RecoAI, we specialize in product recommendation algorithms that use AI. With our help, your customers will get the best product suggestions they can imagine.
The use of recommendation engines is ubiquitous nowadays. Many companies are constantly improving their algorithms to make accurate individual recommender systems. Facilitating the user’s journey by offering a personalized offer also builds customer loyalty by anticipating their needs. For the user, recommendation systems save time as they no longer have to search for the right product in the entire catalog. Let’s check how you can build a recommendation engine, reach similar users, and enhance user experience.
Generally speaking, personalization generates a sense of uniqueness; it makes each user feel important and understood. As a result, companies that actively use recommendation engines and build customer loyalty observe an increase in the conversion rate and average order values (AOV). However, before we get into the details of the topic, it’s worth defining a recommendation engine.
What is a recommendation engine?
A recommendation engine is an algorithm based on artificial intelligence or a machine learning system that generates product recommendations in real-time on the seller’s website. On large e-commerce sites, several recommendation engines or algorithms can coexist. In such a setup, each algorithm plays a specific role, for example, up-selling, cross-selling, or monitoring the behavior of other buyers. In other words, as the name suggests, the tool “recommends” diverse products to Internet users visiting your online store.
The recommendation engine can also personalize offers in newsletters or suggestions contained in retargeting campaigns. You can use many criteria to filter these recommendations, either individually or in combination. Like other AI systems, product recommendation engines generally gain performance over time through learning.
How the recommendation engine works
The recommendation is usually based on three basic steps: Gathering information, classifying data, and making recommendations.
STEP 1: GATHERING INFORMATION
At this stage, it is necessary to define the user’s preferences. The user is always at the center of the whole recommendation engine. For this purpose, the recommender system collects various information about (and from) the users, including product reviews, time spent on a given product tab, purchasing history, visited categories, etc.
STEP 2: DATA CLASSIFICATION
The classification correlates the collected information about the user with the products available in the online store. That allows you to build a data model.
STEP 3: RECOMMENDATION EXTRACTION
The recommendation system can extract a list of products from the previously built data model to recommend specific products to the user.
Types of recommendation systems
Recommender systems are always based on user data. Here, depending on the nature of data in your store, different types of systems can be implemented:
Content-based recommendation systems suggest similar elements or content for users that have previously searched for, viewed, bought, or rated positively something similar. For this, the system must determine the similarities between the objects. Accordingly, content analysis is performed. In the case of streaming services (for music), the recommendation engine, for example, evaluates the songs according to their structure.
COLLABORATIVE RECOMMENDATION SYSTEMS
This type of recommendation system is based on observing users with similar behaviors in a suitable method. If a group of users has been very interested in a particular object in the past, the system will continue to recommend it.
HYBRID RECOMMENDATION SYSTEMS
The hybrid approach combines the two forms of recommender systems that we discussed above. Hybrid recommendation systems use a variety of machine learning methods. In most cases, model-based or memory-based methods are used. The memory-based process uses all stored classification data and identifies similarities between users or objects. The result serves as a forecast basis for joining objects that have not yet been extracted. Model-driven recommendation services, on the other hand, follow machine learning principles. Based on that data, the system should create a mathematical model that can be used to predict users’ interest in a given product. Amazon uses this form of recommendation system extensively.
It’s time for your steps
The personalization of your offers is becoming increasingly crucial in digital marketing. Typical ads are very quickly identified by users and, therefore, often are overlooked. However, by implementing a recommendation system, you can attract customers’ attention with appropriate information and a personalized approach. Thus, your chances of conversion will be much higher.
To implement a recommendation engine in your e-business, you can use our help. At RecoAI, we offer an artificial intelligence system that analyzes real-time user behavior on your website and effectively offers them the products they are looking for. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to find out more. We are happy to answer all your questions and help you stay ahead of the competition with the power of recommendation.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are two disciplines that substantially transformed many sectors and industries. Among them, marketing is one of the essential ones. Thanks to marketing artificial intelligence, companies can conduct more effective and accurate marketing campaigns. Today, we want to show you how artificial intelligence changes marketing.
In fact, artificial intelligence and machine learning are two IT sectors that can significantly change the way you promote products and services. In some situations, it’s even possible to benefit from techniques that otherwise would’ve been impossible.
What is artificial intelligence marketing?
Marketing AI is a discipline that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve marketing campaigns. Usually, AI marketing is based on data analytics. Therefore, to make the most of marketing AI, you have to know your users’ profiles, their expectations, needs, and habits. Thanks to AI marketing, you can improve communication with your target audience, enhance the efficiency of marketing campaigns that you run, introduce new products and services to your offer, and measure the results of your efforts accurately.
Today, the marketing world is data-driven. This means that whatever you do, it all starts with data collection and processing. All AI tools require customer data to operate as intended. And speaking of AI tools, what are the main components of AI marketing?
AI Marketing: Components
There can be many such components based on your needs and the business profile. However, typically, we can mention five major components that makeup almost every marketing AI application. They are as follows:
NLP (natural language processing): This technology is immensely important when it comes to intelligent assistants such as chatbots and voicebots.
Automated processes: Marketing AI is all about working without your direct supervision. With this technology in your company, you don’t have to worry about adjusting every single element of your campaign – AI technology does that for you.
Content generation and optimization: Today, content plays a key role in everything marketing-related. For starters, it’s a core component of every SEO campaign. With marketing AI, you can create and optimize content so that it satisfies both users and Google bots. Many SEO tools have built-in artificial intelligence or machine learning features.
Personalization and segmentation: These two go hand in hand. Segmentation allows you to divide your target audience into smaller groups (segments) with specific profiles (e.g., needs, interests, purchased products, purchasing habits, etc.). Personalization, on the other hand, enables you to reach these segments effectively. With personalization, each customer (no matter who they are or what they are interested in) gets offers and communication that fulfills their expectations.
What are the benefits of AI marketing?
Well, the benefits of using artificial intelligence in your marketing campaigns are quite apparent, aren’t they? First off, AI marketing takes your marketing campaigns to a whole new level. Marketing campaigns that are created and optimized using intelligent algorithms are usually far more effective. Secondly, thanks to marketing AI, you can lower the costs of your campaigns. That’s because AI-powered algorithms can help you achieve better rates for displaying your ads. And thirdly, adapting this technology to your ecosystem helps you save a lot of time. Thanks to automation, the vast majority of aspects related to preparing and optimizing marketing campaigns can be done much quicker, sometimes – even without your involvement.
Examples of artificial intelligence in marketing
Up to this moment, we mainly talked about theory. Now it’s time to show you some real-life applications of marketing AI. Let’s have a look.
UNDERSTAND MARKETING DATA: GOOGLE ANALYTICS INTELLIGENCE
Google Analytics is one of the primary tools of every marketer. Many people don’t know, though, that it comes with advanced machine learning features. Google Analytics Intelligence is a set of tools and features built-in the Google Analytics platform to help you understand and act on your marketing data. For instance, Analytics Intelligence uses machine learning to model conversions and build audiences.
IMPROVE PRICES IN YOUR STORE: DEALAVO
Dealavo is a platform that uses artificial intelligence in their platform called dynamic pricing. With it, online store owners don’t have to monitor how prices change in the market. The algorithm does that for them and adjusts prices accordingly without human supervision. There is also a possibility to set some pre-defined rules, so you don’t have to worry about lowering the price too much.
RECOAI: INTELLIGENT PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS
Yes, marketing AI is precisely what we do here at RecoAI. Our ML-based algorithms help you provide users with smart product suggestions. As a result, you can promote products that are most likely to hit just the center of a specific person’s interest. Product recommendations are very important in e-commerce, but other online businesses can use them as well.
Personalization is likely the best way to achieve the e-commerce’s sector holy grail – customer loyalty. Having loyal, returning customers means that you can steadily grow your business. In this article, we will show you how you can introduce e-commerce personalization to your online store and what benefits you can expect from that.
Almost every e-commerce report says the same thing – a personalized shopping experience is a must-have today. People expect that your store will know them and their needs and act accordingly. But before we start talking about various e-commerce personalization techniques (we have four of them for you), let’s talk about e-commerce personalization. What it actually is and why it’s so important today.
What is e-commerce personalization?
The ultimate goal of e-commerce personalization is to deliver personalized experiences in your online store. In practice, this means that:
Customers that are logged in see their details (online stores frequently greet logged customers by name), and they see personalized product suggestions.
You gather data about your customers and their activity (e.g., viewed products and categories, purchased products, asked questions, shared reviews) and use it to improve customer service.
You use personalization techniques, e.g., upselling, cross-selling, smart product suggestions, and shopping advice (e.g., chatbots offer such a service).
Why is e-commerce personalization important?
Two reasons: First off, your customers simply expect that. In the recent Gladly.com report, over 70% of customers said that personalized customer service is more important than personalized marketing. Customers expect you to know their details, purchasing history, and interest. You can achieve that with decent analytics software and intelligent product recommendation algorithms.
Secondly, with this strategy, you sell more products and can expand your business. Most likely, there are diverse customer segments in your store, correct? Each of these segments requires a different approach and offer. A quick example – if you have a fashion store showing women’s coats to a teenager who’s recently purchased a pair of sneakers is just a waste of time. But with personalization, your product suggestions are better tailored and, thus, effective. As a result, you can encourage customers to buy more products and return to your store more frequently.
E-commerce personalization examples
Volcom, an American lifestyle clothing brand, uses smart product recommendations that, depending on the products that you view, present different products. These recommendations are presented in every product tab, right after the product details:
And here’s another example: Levi’s offers their customers to personalize the products they purchase. That offer is called customized & personalized clothing, and customers can decide what color, graphic, and text they want on their item, e.g., a t-shirt:
Now, let’s take a look at our list of four proven personalization techniques.
Effective techniques for personalized shopping experience
CONTINUOUS SHOPPING FOR RETURNING CUSTOMERS
Your store should remember each logged customer. When a user places an item in the cart, don’t delete it from there when they go somewhere else or view other products. If the purchasing process was stopped at some point, help your customers restore it to the point where they stopped it. Show that your store “waits” for the customer to return and finish their order. You can even send them some subtle reminders, e.g., via social media and push notifications.
CREATE PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
As you know from our other blog posts, personalization is actually a very wide term that can refer to the site’s layout, products, and discounts. Create personal recommendations comprising products and special offers. Some stores use birthday discounts, maybe that’s an idea for you? This way, you show your customers that you value them and want to fulfill their needs.
PERSONALIZE YOUR EMAILS AND CAMPAIGNS
Every email you send and every marketing campaign needs to be personalized as well. Start your email with something like “Dear Emily”, or “Hey, John!”. This way, you build more personal, deeper relationships, and customers will surely appreciate that. It’s the same story with your ads and campaigns. They also should be filled with customized recommendations and offers. Again, don’t offer a discount for women’s furs for someone who’s clearly interested in shorts and sneakers.
USE USER-GENERATED CONTENT (UGC)
That last element is also important as it enables you to give voice to your customers. With user-generated content, your customers can share their opinions about the store and the products that you offer. Enable them to post comments, share them via social media, and rate products (e.g., from 1 to 5). You can even go one step further and offer the possibility to publish product tests, unboxing, and other materials that are product-related. Again, creating a space just for your customers shows that you are serious about building long-lasting relations with them.
To provide you with the best experience possible, we use technologies such as cookies to store and / or access information about your device. Consent to these technologies will allow us to process data such as your browsing behavior or unique identifiers on this website. Some features and functions may be adversely affected if you do not consent or if you withdraw consent.
Functional Always active
The storage or access to technical data is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service expressly requested by the subscriber or user, or solely for the purpose of carrying out the transmission of a message over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
Technical storage or access that is only used for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
Storage or technical access is required for the creation of user profiles in order to send advertisements or track the user on a website or on several websites for similar marketing purposes.