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Commerce Experience

Using AI To Bolster Your Black Friday E-Commerce Strategies

By Carl Bleich

08/02/2023


With the holiday season just around the corner, online retailers are already starting to prepare for the most anticipated time on the e-commerce calendar — Black Friday. 

One of the biggest online shopping events of the year, Black Friday offers online retailers the perfect opportunity to boost sales and attract a new wave of loyal customers. To make the most of this holiday shopping season, it’s crucial for businesses to have a well-defined strategy in place.

While Black Friday preparation can seem daunting and overwhelming, the rise of artificial intelligence — specifically generative AI — can help save your commerce-driving team time and money this holiday season. 

That’s because AI can be an invaluable tool for online retailers to prepare for the holidays and maximize sales potential. Whether it’s demand forecasting, personalized product recommendations, or customer segmentation, using AI is your online store’s best bet to drive meaningful increases in your average order value this Black Friday. 

Generative AI is changing e-commerce forever

The Impact of AI on E-Commerce 

The online retail industry has undergone a remarkable transformation with the widespread adoption of AI. Online shopping experiences have become more seamless and personalized, catering to the unique needs and preferences of consumers. This shift is largely driven by the power of AI, which allows retailers to meet customer expectations in an efficient and effective manner.

One of the key impacts of AI on online shopping is the ability to deliver highly personalized experiences. By leveraging AI algorithms, retailers can analyze vast amounts of data to understand individual customer preferences and behaviors. This enables them to offer tailored recommendations, promotions, and advertisements, elevating the overall shopping experience.

In addition to e-commerce personalization, AI has also significantly improved operational efficiencies for online retailers. AI-powered solutions optimize inventory management, automate supply chain processes, and streamline order fulfillment. These advancements minimize costs, increase productivity, and enable retailers to make data-driven decisions based on insights gathered from AI analysis.

Moreover, AI has revolutionized the customer experience in online shopping. Conversational AI tools, such as chatbots, provide immediate and helpful responses to customer inquiries, while virtual assistants guide shoppers throughout their journey. These technologies not only enhance the overall shopping experience, but also generate valuable customer data that helps retailers understand preferences and purchasing patterns.

The impact of AI on online retail is far-reaching, transforming the way businesses operate and interact with customers. With AI-driven personalization, optimized operations, and enhanced customer experiences, online retailers are better equipped to meet the demands of today's shoppers and drive business growth.

How AI Can Help You Prepare for Black Friday

With the impact of AI in e-commerce in mind, how can you tap into those successes and use them for your own Black Friday e-commerce wins? Here are a few ways that AI makes it easy to increase Black Friday sales:

Personalized Product Recommendations

Personalized product recommendations are a must for online retailers trying to create better experiences for their customers. 

These AI-powered recommendations help your customers to feel like your brand understands their needs and wants, which can lead to increased brand loyalty. Personalized product recommendations are important for several reasons:

Increased sales and conversions: Personalized recommendations have a significant impact on purchase decisions. When customers are presented with products that are highly relevant to their interests, they’re more likely to make a purchase. And since Black Friday is already one of the largest shopping days of the year, personalized product recommendations will only help drive more revenue. 

Improved customer retention: Personalized recommendations help build customer loyalty and encourage repeat purchases. When customers receive suggestions that align with their preferences, they’re more likely to return to the website or app for future shopping needs. This in turn increases your likelihood of having first-time customers make a repeat visit after Black Friday is over.

Cross-selling and upselling opportunities: Personalized recommendations enable businesses to suggest complementary or higher-value products to customers. This opens up opportunities for cross-selling and upselling, where customers are encouraged to purchase additional items or upgrade their purchases. This can boost average order value and overall revenue.

Personalized product recommendations drive revenue and repeat purchases

Demand Forecasting

AI can significantly improve demand forecasting in e-commerce by leveraging advanced algorithms and data analysis techniques. 

There isn’t a more important time to get your product inventory correct than Black Friday weekend. AI-powered forecasting models can analyze large volumes of historical sales data, market trends, customer behavior, and other relevant factors to make accurate predictions about the demand needed to satisfy online shoppers on Black Friday. This helps e-commerce businesses optimize inventory levels and ensure product availability.

AI algorithms can also continuously monitor and analyze real-time data from various sources, such as social media, customer feedback, competitor pricing, and website traffic. This enables e-commerce businesses to quickly adapt their demand forecasting strategies based on changing market conditions.

Additionally, AI can identify patterns and correlations in complex datasets that humans may overlook. By integrating external data sources such as weather forecasts, economic indicators, and social media trends, AI can provide a more holistic view of demand drivers and help businesses anticipate demand fluctuations.

AI's ability to analyze vast amounts of data and learn from patterns and trends makes it a powerful tool for improving demand forecasting in e-commerce. It enables businesses to make informed decisions, reduce stockouts, minimize inventory carrying costs, and provide better customer experiences.

Having the proper inventory for holiday shoppers is essential to being able to increase your online sales. Let AI help your commerce-driving team with this on Black Friday this year. 

Chatbots and Virtual Assistants

Thanks to the power of generative AI, conversational commerce is making offering a connected customer experience for your webshop much easier. 

Conversational commerce is the process of using automated conversations and technologies — with the help of AI — to create more engaging customer experiences while shopping online. This includes using chatbots and virtual assistants to power on-site conversations that assist with customer support or checkout. 

Why is this important on Black Friday? The ability to offer 24/7 customer support via AI when your website is buzzing with customers will allow your commerce-driving team the time and freedom to work on more important tasks. The conversational AI will be able to address common questions and concerns instantly for curious customers, even outside of normal hours. 

These AI-powered chatbots can analyze customer inquiries in real time and provide responses instantly. They can handle a wide range of frequently asked questions, such as order tracking, product information, shipping details, and returns or exchanges.This engagement ensures that customers are having a good experience with your brand on Black Friday and helps your commerce-driving team scale its efforts by relying on AI to handle high volumes of queries and interactions from customers. These chatbots and virtual assistants, when powered by AI, can play a crucial role for your brand on Black Friday. 

Conversational commerce is the wave of the future in e-commerce

Customer Segmentation 

Are you sending the right marketing campaigns to the right customers in advance of Black Friday? AI plays a crucial role in customer segmentation by enabling brands to analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns that would be challenging for humans to recognize manually. 

AI-powered systems can gather data from multiple sources, including customer interactions, purchase history, website behavior, social media, and more. This data is then integrated and organized to create a comprehensive customer profile, or single customer view

AI algorithms can analyze the collected data to identify patterns and trends among different customer groups. It can detect correlations between various customer attributes, behaviors, and preferences.

Since AI systems can process data in real time, brands are able to respond quickly to changing customer behaviors and preferences. This ensures that the messages sent are always relevant and up to date. So when your Black Friday marketing messages are going out, you can rest assured that your customer segments are updated and your customers aren’t receiving irrelevant marketing materials.  

AI can even predict customer behavior based on historical data and patterns. This helps with anticipating customer needs and preferences, enabling brands to proactively reach out to customers with tailored messages.

Plus, you can use AI algorithms to automatically segment customers into distinct groups based on similarities in their characteristics and behaviors. This segmentation allows brands to tailor their messaging for each group, ensuring that customers receive communications that resonate with them.

Power Your Black Friday With Bloomreach’s AI 

While the popularity of AI has skyrocketed thanks to the rise of generative AI models recently, artificial intelligence is nothing new to Bloomreach

With 30+ AI-related patents, we’ve been powering our Commerce Experience Cloud with AI for over 12 years. Our customers routinely put their best foot forward on Black Friday, sending 331 million emails via Bloomreach Engagement in 2022 during Cyber Week. 

Bloomreach is the only company that uses AI to connect who your customer is to every channel in the customer journey. If you’d like to learn more, check out how your company can amplify your marketing intelligence with Bloomreach Engagement

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Carl Bleich

Head of Content at Bloomreach

Carl works with Bloomreach professionals to produce valuable, customer-centric content. A trusted expert with over 15 years of experience, Carl loves exploring unique ways to turn problems into solutions within digital commerce. Read more from Carl here.

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