A digital-first ecommerce strategy requires a lot of things: a refresh of all online content; check the oil in the engine which is all the supply chain networks and stock levels, and ensure that they’re all talking to each other to ensure as-live-as-possible updates; a rethink of email campaigns and product promotions, etc.
One of the great helpers of ecommerce, which only seems to get smarter with each year that it matures, is artificial intelligence, such as Salesforce’s Einstein.
Beyond the obvious reasons why implementing artificial intelligence would be smart. And that’s because during uncertain and unpredictable times, AI provides some stability in terms of giving you a sense of the shift in consumer behavior and how they’re interacting with your products and services.
For example, during the “normal years” your brand has 5-10 predictably popular products that are your best sellers. But since March, their sales have slipped and now all of your products have been undergoing a change in popularity. Some months a particular product type sells well before dropping off, being displaced by another group of products, and so on.
With artificial intelligence such as Salesforce Einstein, it’s predictive vision allows you to look at the broader behavior of consumers in real time to more accurately suggest recommendations to each consumer spending on what they’re browsing, while also recommending products based on the general behavior of consumers.
So while we currently find ourselves in a very different holiday season, our preparations have altered hugely, with a strong focus being placed on creating and maintaining memorable digital experiences to increase sales and keep customers coming back.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud, the ecommerce platform and part of the Salesforce cloud family, uses Einstein to do exactly this: recommend the most accurate of products and enrich the digital shopping experience.
And now SFCC (previously Demandware) features a new type of product recommendations, called Complete the Set. Integrated into Einstein (whose brain keeps on expanding) it creates product recommendations based on complementary products.
As the name lightly suggests, the new feature can quickly and easily create sets of items that would go well together according to the individual shopper. With the artificial brain of Einstein, it analyzes the activities of consumers to figure out which items are commonly bought together.
And Complete the Set allows you to first preview the recommendations, as well as gives you the power to either enable or disable the recommendations based on the category.
In honor of Einstein’s great brain power, let’s take a look at the great job that artificial intelligence provides ecommerce players.
Companies get more by doing more. In order to boost business, retailers and brands ought to be strengthening customer relationships and building loyalty. This is precisely the pitch that Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s Einstein plays best on, by recommending products. And when consumers interact with these product recommendations, company conversion rates go up. Recommendations have a huge benefit of encouraging greater engagement with shoppers: Stonewall Kitchen, which uses SFCC, recorded their basket rates improved four and a half times higher, their product views almost five times higher, and fives times higher per-visit spend.
Product recommendations by Einstein, in fact, are responsible for an overall 26% increase in revenue and 10% boost to average order value. Just to give one specific example, clothing brand Roots boasts a 93% increase in its click-through rate thanks to Einstein.
Another example is Hibbett Sports, who back in 2019 setup Einstein to build better digital shopping experiences, and are now smiling widely after seeing growth in sales.
A time saver
Think of all those cumulative hours each week spent on curating looks, mixing and matching products by hand – or by the human eye. Yet what actually happens is that online shoppers browse through multiple pages to find a set that is relevant to their own preferences.
With Complete the Set, it is able to deliver the most relevant products to consumers based on their preferences, past purchases, and what they browsed. Applying intelligence to create a look, or “set”, is a process that is much faster and more personalized than creating sets manually. Rather than endless tedious hours, it takes minutes to configure. Leaving you more time to get creative, move onto other areas of development, or make a few more espressos.
A likable clever clogs
And finally, the intelligent turn out to be highly likable. In a survey, half of all consumers reported to be engaging in digital at record levels: browsing more, shopping more, streaming content more than they usually would. AI technologies as we’ve seen contribute to this increase in engagement, and allows retailers and brands that use it to stay one step ahead.
The Complete the Set feature of Salesforce pretty much acts as a personal shopping assistant would: wandering the aisles in the hunt for a customer to help out and increase the likelihood of a sale. And just like real assistants (at least the goods ones) AI is able to discover new items and products that are similar to other ones, as well as know which products go with others. If an online shopper is hunting down new shoes, it’s going to recommend the right socks, the right trousers, and fitting shirt.
With Complete the Set, brands can now expand the display window consumers are peering into. And it’s not only available for fashion brands. Einstein also has an instinct for health and beauty brands, skincare brands, home furniture retailers. To put that in broader perspective, the beauty and cosmetics market is valued at $300 billion while the furniture market is valued at $232 billion – that’s a lot of value for Einstein to delve into.
We’ve all been shopping online. And most of us have now started to ramp up our digital outings now that we’ve arrived at the holiday season. For brands and retailers nudging into the frontiers of ecommerce, they’re figuring out the importance of implementing artificial intelligence into their online shops. And with Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s Einstein, they have the smartest of them all – at least for now.