While families in the United States were preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday, physical and virtual retailers were getting ready for the real battle, in a hope that they would come up victorious and, of course, insanely rich in a process. Yes, I am talking about the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that in itself represents an unofficial opening for the holiday season. In order to win this battle, retailers are gearing up and getting all of their weapons ready. But what if I told you that their main weapon is actually the power of Artificial Intelligence? You say you do not follow the connection between the two? Well, let me begin my story then.

Search before buy

Do you know that retail stores were using historical data to track sales even long before the Cyber Monday? Well, nowadays with the help of modern tools like online sales and big data they can not only use historical data but also predict your future sales and stay ahead of your tomorrow’s wishes.

Researching products online is a very important part of today’s market, especially considering the fact that the competition now is more fierce than ever, and each purchase is just a few clicks away from buying. In a recent report made by eCommerce Foundation, 88% of consumers make a search online, before buying a product virtually or physically. Easy-to-use and high quality of the search make customers feel comfortable on their shopping decisions while giving an edge to retailers who will succeed in this field more than their competitors. And while consumers browse through various sites, like Amazon, for example, the company can track all of their behaviors on the website: what was seen, purchased, added or removed from the cart. Algorithms then are constructing the analysis and try to predict which of their customers are more likely to buy and what exactly would they want. They need statistics on the products that will generate the most value, through item popularity and profit margins. Those products are ranked based on the customer’s previously shown interest and on how likely he is to buy in a short-term period.

The discounts are based on how likely the product will bring ROI. Machine learning programs consider the value of each product individually and can sometimes even plan ahead. For example, it may leave a product in retail for the whole next year, if it thinks that it will be particularly hot during the next holiday season. They can also increase prices on other high-interest products in order to compensate for the discounted items. Social interest also plays a huge part in all of that. The program tracks what items received positive reviews, which were discussed more, which of them a specific hashtag dedicated. All this info can change the value of a product during the short-term windows of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Tell and sell

Not every company can afford a high-qualified 24/7 customer support team in order to provide individual service for their customers during the event. But with the latest technologies in store and AI developers getting more sophisticated, those investments will not be necessary anymore. Human-like AI bots can talk to your customers in an organic and believable way. Examples in the field speak for themselves, and whether it is Siri, Alexa or IPsoft’s Amelia, they can definitely get the job done while making your customers ready for action. It is to be said, that conversational AI, either through voice, chat or smart speakers, is not only a cute tool you can use but also something that is highly valued by customers itself. In a recent report made by Gartner Research, it is stated that by the year 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without ever interacting with a human consultant. This trend is particularly notable among the younger demographics, in which 60% of millennials reported to be using chatbots, leading to 70% of those who used it, rating the overall experience positive.

Staying on the couch

Recent trends show us that more and more people prefer to make their shopping online with each new year. As an example, last year’s Cyber Monday online sales were around $6.6 billion dollars. And considering the weather in November, the ability to stay in your bed against standing on the cold and try to survive in a crowd of people sounds pretty good to me. Because of that, the overall number of retailers who offer discounts has almost doubled since from the year 2016 to the year 2017 and is predicted to be on the rise again this year. The full price shopping had also gone up during the Cyber Monday, which proves a high interest form the consumer’s side.

The other factor of virtual shopping dominance over the physical one comes in a form of a “prior event research”. Most of the e-retailers are releasing “pre-sails” or at least send everyone the information via emails or banners on what will be happening during the weekend. Many of the discounted items are also not exclusively restricted for Cyber Monday, they are available through the whole weekend. Many retailers even advertise it as the “Black Market Weekend Deals”. Recent trends show us that more and more people prefer to make their shopping online with each new year. As an example, last year’s Cyber Monday online sales were around $6.6 billion dollars. And considering the weather in November, the ability to stay in your bed against standing on the cold and try to survive in a crowd of people sounds pretty good to me. Because of that, the overall number of retailers who offer discounts has almost doubled since from the year 2016 to the year 2017 and is predicted to be on the rise again this year. The full price shopping had also gone up during the Cyber Monday, which proves a high interest form the consumer’s side. The other factor of virtual shopping dominance over the physical one comes in a form of a “prior event research”. Most of the e-retailers are releasing “pre-sails” or at least send everyone the information via emails or banners on what will be happening during the weekend. Many of the discounted items are also not exclusively restricted for Cyber Monday, they are available through the whole weekend. Many retailers even advertise it as the “Black Market Weekend Deals”.

Write me a letter

About the emails. Statista made a report in 2016, stating that an email with a personalized message in it, is more likely to get open. It rates at 18.8% versus 13.1% of emails that were not personalized. It would, of course, be amazing to write each individual customer a personalized letter about your company’s amazing discounts, but in reality, this is of course not practical at all. And this is where AI’s ability to communicate at scale comes in handy. AI can be used for targeted messages, combining people by certain groups, like for example, a person who recently moved to a new place can get great deals on furniture and decorations. According to a 2015 report made by the Direct Marketing Association, targeted and segmented emails generate 58% of all revenue, while Campaign Monitor states that marketers have “found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns."

Suggest the next blog post

Walter Guevara

Walter G. is a software engineer with over 10 years of professional experience. When he isn't blogging or being a CTO he enjoys coding randomly complex things that he hopes many people will get a chance to use one day.

Question or comment?

No comments posted yet

Add a comment

Send me your weekly newsletter filled with awesome ideas
Start
Score: 0
Use the following controls:
snake left
snake up
snake down
snake right