As technology evolves, more and more online retailers are turning to artificial intelligence to prepare for Christmas and maximise seasonal sales. Indeed, the benefits that AI brings, mean those businesses that are not yet taking advantage of it could be failing to meet customer expectations and becoming less competitive. In this post , we explore the different ways AI is changing Christmas for online retailers.
Personalised Christmas shopping
Online stores have been providing personalisation for some time; however, today’s AI algorithms are much better at analysing consumer data and so enable stores to offer highly personalised shopping experiences. During the Christmas run-up, when shoppers are at their most active, these AI systems are able to recommend products based on up-to-the-minute browsing histories, past purchases and even users’ social media activity. The benefit for customers is that they are recommended products and offers that are increasingly relevant to their searches and intentions. This not only improves their satisfaction but leads to increased sales and long-term loyalty.
Better inventory management
Deciding what to stock and how much of it to buy are two of the biggest challenges for online stores during Christmas. Thanks to AI, they are now in a better position to predict what products are going to sell and how big the demand will be. This is because, by using predictive analysis, AI can identify potential trends and suggest appropriate stocking levels. As a result, stores can make better decisions to ensure they have the right stock while reducing the chance of overstocking.
With the current cost-of-living crisis, price has become an increasingly important factor when people are looking for Christmas gifts. As a result, it is important for online stores to keep their prices competitive if they are going to win business. One of the benefits of AI is that it can analyse the prices your competitors are charging in real-time, and dynamically readjust your own prices up or down in response. As a result, you can remain competitive when prices go down and maximise profits by never selling your products too cheaply.
Chatbots and AI assistants
AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are now highly popular among online stores and for many, they are vital to improve customer experience and sales. This can be particularly helpful during the Christmas rush when customer queries and demands can snowball, as these tools are able to provide instant, round-the-clock support. This includes providing information about products and deliveries, helping with customer service issues, tracking orders and handling returns.
When it comes to logistics and deliveries, the run-up to Christmas is undoubtedly the most stressful time of the year. There is more to be delivered and everyone wants things now. AI systems can help logistics companies handle huge demand as they are able to optimise delivery routes, thus reducing delivery times and costs. They are also able to predict when deliveries will arrive, enabling stores to give better information to customers. As a result, delays and bottlenecks are minimised and customers are happier.
Fraud is a huge issue that is predicted to cost the UK population over £100 million in the Christmas rush this year. Indeed, the increase in online shopping before Christmas means there’s a much bigger risk of either a business or a customer falling victim. The latest AI algorithms, however, are proving to be highly effective at preventing online fraud. Able to detect unusual patterns in online behaviour, they can quickly alert stores, banks and payment gateways so that fraudulent transactions can be blocked. This means customers can have greater trust in shopping online, which is vital for online retailers, especially during Christmas.
Marketing and advertising
In order to make the most of the season, online stores will need to ensure their marketing and advertising strategies have the desired impact. Today, this is increasingly data-driven and, as part of this, AI plays a key role in analysing customer data and providing insights that ensure ads are effective and resonate with customers.
There seems to be no stopping the integration of AI into business practices at the moment. Even when it comes to Christmas, it is helping businesses prepare and ensuring that they are best positioned to be successful. From personalising customer experiences, marketing and advertising, to streamlining logistics and preventing fraud, its impact is as broad as it is deep. For online stores wanting to keep up with their competitors, there seems little option but to adopt it.
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