Using AI To Bolster Your Black Friday Ecommerce Strategies

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

One of the biggest online shopping events of the year, Black Friday offers ecommerce brands the perfect opportunity to boost holiday 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 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 ecommerce forever

The Facts About Black Friday

Research shows that it’s in every brand’s best interest to optimize their ecommerce efforts for Black Friday:

Black Friday Is a Game-Changing Season For Ecommerce

The holiday season is always an important time for businesses, but Black Friday still remains one of the most popular days to shop — even online. US consumers spent a staggering $9.8 billion online during Black Friday last year.

Black Friday Ecommerce Is Outpacing In-Store Sales

Despite its tradition as an in-store event, online shopping is now more popular on Black Friday, with 90.6 million US consumers purchasing from ecommerce stores in 2022. Compared to the 76.2 million shoppers visiting brick-and-mortar locations to shop the day’s holiday deals, it’s easy to see that creating a Black Friday ecommerce strategy is crucial.

In-Store Buyers Shop Online First

Even if your audience makes an in-store purchase, your online store plays an important role in the buying process. More than half of holiday shoppers who visited a store during the 2023 holiday season said they looked up product reviews and item availability online first.

The Impact of AI on Ecommerce

With so much revenue riding on a successful Black Friday season, it’s important for businesses to adopt the best marketing strategy and harness the right technology to make the most of Black Friday. And no other tool offers more potential than artificial intelligence.

Like every other aspect of modern life, 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 with an efficient and effective marketing strategy.

One of the key impacts of AI on ecommerce 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 ecommerce personalization, AI has also significantly improved operational efficiencies for modern businesses. 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 ecommerce in mind, how can you tap into those successes and use them for your own Black Friday ecommerce wins? Here are a few ways that AI makes it easy to increase Black Friday sales:

Hyper-Targeted Customer Segmentation For Better Black Friday Campaigns

Are you sending the right marketing campaigns to the right customers in advance of Black Friday? If you’re not harnessing artificial intelligence to do so, your marketing strategy isn’t reaching its full potential.

AI plays a crucial role in customer segmentation, enabling brands to analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns that would be challenging for humans to recognize manually.

AI-Powered Customer Data Analysis

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.

An image representing a single marketing view of a customer, potentially showing a dashboard or interface with consolidated customer data and insights.

With a unified view of each relationship your brand has with your customers, AI can identify patterns and trends among different customer groups. It can detect correlations between various customer attributes, behaviors, and preferences, helping you build the most likeminded segments and fine-tune your Black Friday campaigns to speak directly to their needs.

Without the help of artificial intelligence, gaining insights from all these data points would be a monumental task for your marketing teams. It would take hours to build relevant audiences, but with AI, you can create targeted segments in the blink of an eye.

Artificial Intelligence Keeps Your Segments Up to Date

AI can also help maintain the relevance of the segments you build, monitoring and processing data in real time. As your customer data changes with each new customer interaction, your segments can adapt, guaranteeing that your Black Friday marketing is able to respond quickly to new customer behaviors and preferences.

This level of consistent relevance is crucial or brands looking to maximize their Black Friday ecommerce campaigns. It ensures that every message sent is always up to date.

Stay One Step Ahead With AI-Fueled Predictions

AI can even help you 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 Black Friday messages.

With real-time insights into customer behaviors, you can tailor campaigns by when your audience is most likely to engage, serve messages that are most likely to inspire engagement, offer special deals to customers that are most likely to churn, and more.

For brands looking to stand out among countless Black Friday campaigns, predictive marketing can help segment your audience into distinct, significant groups and ensure that customers receive communications that truly resonate.

AI Orchestrates Seamless Omnichannel Experiences

To make the most of the Black Friday ecommerce season, brands need to provide a seamless customer experience for their audience. Modern customers expect a fully-connected shopping journey across multiple channels, whether they are browsing your online store, shopping via a mobile app, or interacting with your brand on social media.

AI Connects All Your Channels

AI plays a crucial role in creating omnichannel experiences by connecting all your channels and data in real time, helping brands orchestrate consistent and personalized interactions every step of the way.

An AI-driven marketing automation platform can integrate data from various sources, weaving all your marketing channels together to provide a unified view of customer behavior and preferences. This integration allows retailers to deliver coherent and synchronized messaging across all touchpoints.

Every Touchpoint Is a Continued Conversation With AI

When all of your interactions work together to offer your audience the best experience, your customers are always encouraged to continue growing their relationship with your brand. There’s no irrelevant campaigns or disjointed channels, which is crucial for guiding shoppers towards Black Friday ecommerce sales.

For instance, with AI powering your marketing strategy, a customer who views a product on your website can receive personalized ads for the same product on social media. If the customer has engaged with your email campaigns in the past, you can send a tailored email reminder about the item’s availability. All their previous behaviors and preferences can be used to fuel your Black Friday marketing strategy, helping you send the right Black Friday deals to the right customer on the right channel.

With AI connecting your campaigns into one comprehensive experience, you can rest assured that all your channels are optimized for cross-channel shopping, which helps each Black Friday campaign perform to the best of its ability. It also makes adding new channels and expanding your marketing strategy an efficient, lucrative task — just ask Mayborn Group, a Bloomreach customer that adopted SMS into its omnichannel marketing strategy and yielded an impressive 7,433% return on investment (ROI) from its Black Friday campaign.

During a season where new and existing customers will be served a wide array of Black Friday promotions, an AI-powered omnichannel approach ensures that your Black Friday sales reach customers on the channels they are most likely to see them and engage with your brand. And by offering a seamless and consistent shopping journey as your shoppers click-through and navigate different channels, you can keep your audience shopping your ecommerce store.

Optimize Black Friday Marketing With Personalized Product Recommendations

Personalized product recommendations are a must for online stores trying to create appealing experiences for their customers. And this is especially true during Black Friday, when your audience’s attention is highly sought after.

AI-powered recommendations make your customers feel like your brand understands their needs and wants, which can lead to increased brand loyalty. Using artificial intelligence, you can offer a selection of products based on each individual customer’s previous purchases, their favorite categories and products, and so much more. And you can incorporate these personalized recommendations into broader marketing campaigns, using AI to plug in unique recommendations for every recipient, from VIP customers to new customers, without having to painstakingly build individual emails for each one.

With recommendations that personalize a customer’s shopping experience, you can elevate your Black Friday ecommerce strategy in important ways, including:

Increased Black Friday Online 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 new 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

AI-Fueled Demand Forecasting

One of the most pivotal challenges of Black Friday is keeping up with the demand of the busiest shopping season of the year. Thankfully, AI can significantly improve demand forecasting in ecommerce by leveraging advanced algorithms and data analysis techniques.

AI Can Keep Monitor Inventory and Predict Demand

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 ecommerce 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 ecommerce businesses to quickly adapt their demand forecasting strategies based on changing market conditions.

AI-powered demand forecasting can help set businesses up for success during Black Friday.

AI Can Foresee Factors That You Might Overlook

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 ecommerce. 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, and AI helps your commerce-driving team prepare and thrive during the Black Friday season.

Elevate Your Shopping Experience With AI Chatbots and Virtual Assistants

Thanks to the power of generative AI, conversational commerce offers a level of personalization that ecommerce stores couldn’t reach until now: bringing the in-person shopping experience of brick and mortar stores to the ecommerce store.

Conversational Commerce Can Provide Vital Black Friday Support

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. Conversational AI can act as a stand-in store attendant to your online audience, able to address common questions and concerns instantly for curious customers, even outside of normal hours.

AI-Powered Chatbots Interact in Real Time

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, ensuring that customers have a good experience with your brand on Black Friday.

With a virtual assistant available for your shoppers to depend on, you can scale your customer support efforts and rely on AI to handle high volumes of queries and interactions from customers.

It’s important to make sure your ecommerce chatbot is available when and where your customers need it — having a virtual assistant that can step in at a moment’s notice, whether your shoppers are on mobile devices or desktops, browsing product pages or visiting their order confirmation page, is important for Black Friday success.

When powered by AI, chatbots can elevate your Black Friday ecommerce strategy and take pressure off your customer support teams during a critical sales period.

Conversational commerce is the wave of the future in ecommerce

Optimize Your Black Friday Sales 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 Composable Personalization Cloud with Loomi AI, our AI purpose-built for ecommerce, since the very beginning.

Loomi AI is the connective tissue between all our products, trained on Bloomreach’s 15+ years of data on how customers shop and search, with fine-tuned models and workflows designed to make end-to-end personalization an intuitive process for marketers. Our AI can learn from your customers, know your products, and help you create experiences that lay out the perfect path to purchase for any audience, on any channel.

With the power of Loomi AI fueling their customer experiences, our customers routinely put their best foot forward on Black Friday, sending 331 million emails via Bloomreach Engagement in 2022 during Cyber Week.

If you’re ready to maximize your business strategy this Black Friday with an AI-powered solution, there’s no better choice than Bloomreach. 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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