An eCommerce merchandisers job is hard! Their responsibilities range from needing to deal with product categories to optimizing search results, product data, descriptions, photos, to managing upsells, landing pages, promotions, offers, supporting external marketing campaigns AND still needing to adapt to a super dynamic landscape and ever changing business requirements. Did I mention that most of the time, these eCommerce professionals are working with multiple platforms, each working in their own way? Oh, and think about the data. There is SO much data out there and each customer is unique in their own way, making it super difficult or almost impossible for a human to gain accurate insights from their data. 

That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) can step in. You see, with the help of AI, eCommerce merchandisers can rely on advanced statistical technologies to deal with their data, from data gathering to processing and cleaning the data to analyzing it and then giving them powerful insights on future consumer behavior and much more. AI helps eCommerce professionals improve and optimize the user experience by creating a truly personalized and satisfying experience with their website visitors and shoppers. 

Below are a few use cases on how an eCommerce merchandising manager can leverage AI to improve their own KPIs. 

Increase your average order value (AOV)

One of the quickest ways to increase your AOV is through upsells or cross-sells. If you need a quick reminder about the difference between the two, take a look at the image below. And hint, those are super sized fries in that basket. 

With the right AI technologies, you can continuously analyze your website’s data (product and shopper purchasing behavior, etc.) to create powerful, personalized, and RELEVANT recommendations. You discover which products are selling, which promotions/messages to deliver, when to deliver them and show appropriate and relevant offers to different segments, whether first time visitors, repeat purchasers, left their cart midway, etc. 

Did you know that using AI-driven product recommendations can increase your AOV by up to 20%?  

It’s pretty much impossible to deliver the right message the right time to the right person on the right channel without AI, isn’t it? Increase your chances of converting an upsell or cross-sell with the help of AI technologies and your AOV will soar by the end of the year. 

Improve customer sentiment

Sentiment analysis, also known as opinion mining or emotion AI, helps businesses gauge their customer’s social sentiment of their brand, product, or services. It can do this by analyzing information from online user-generated content and applying machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) (2 subfields of AI) to identify if what is being said is positive, negative or neutral. This helps the businesses understand their customers’ opinion on tons of different aspects in different depths, i.e. from price to quality of cotton fabric. For example, a user may leave a review that their new backpack is very hip, stylish and made from great fabric. However, the price is still too expensive for a backpack. This shows a positive view of the product and negative of price.

When you listen to what is being said and is readily available for you to use, you can adjust your tactics quickly and effectively in order to yield higher returns. And in today’s market where competition is fiercer than ever before, you need to act with minimal risk. Machine learning and NLP enable you to do so. 

Smart inventory management

Shoppers will judge your business based on online inventory availability, period. If you don’t have the goods, they will leave you with no hesitations. Without AI, it’s almost impossible for eCommerce merchandising managers to detect shopper demand patterns amongst their products or services. When you have a real-time AI-driven inventory management system, you can both avoid the loss of sales due to out-of-stock inventory and reduce unneeded inventory that ties up your working capital. The traditional inventory management systems are built on old fashioned forecasting algorithms that lack a lot of capabilities and potential. In turn, they fail to grasp the demand patterns of online shoppers.

Additionally, by being able to control, track, and predict inventory demands, you are able to give your customers more accurate delivery estimation dates  and updates to ensure your customer expectations have been met. 

Conversion rate

You’ll see all kinds of statistics for average eCommerce conversion rates. Many sources will tell you that your goal should be higher than what you’re currently making. Many will say that there are extreme outliers that can’t be compared to, like the Amazons and AliExpresses of the world. But for the sake of this article, I’m going to stick with around 2% as being the expected conversion rate for eCommerce stores when they are doing everything right. 

It’s hard to increase conversion rates; you have tons of different types of shoppers, all with their unique needs. You can read more about these different shoppers and how to appease them here. So many different tactics come into play here in order to grab each shopper’s attention and increase their interest in making a purchase. Different website ordering needs to be applied; the search and navigation should be dynamic, and so forth. These quick decisions and actions need to be done in real-time while harnessing tons of behavioural consumer data, more than any human could process but luckily relieved with the help of AI. 

Conclusion

AI makes the impossible possible for eCommerce merchandising managers. It enables them to process massive amounts of information to make better decisions. Decisions that can be made instantly and where the algorithms are constantly changing to allow more improved precision and accuracy. It’s not about doing the same thing over and over again but always adding more and more data according to the way shoppers behave and change over time. AI technology is a must for any eCommerce business that wants to succeed in the present and future.