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Planning to go omnichannel? Make your online strategy strong with AI

Customers now want to be able to shop anywhere, anytime. What’s more, they want options to buy, pickup, deliver and return products at diverse touchpoints, which may not be uniform and need not be the same place from where they have bought the product. 

Perfecting your omnichannel supply chain to accommodate the diverse touchpoints, will not only offer the customers ultimate convenience, but it also allows brick-and-mortar outlets to gain new profit channels and boost in-store sales. According to research, 50% of customers who use click and collect end up spending more when they pick up their orders. 

But, alongside the other vital aspects of staying agile on omnichannel, the most important factor for any brand or a retailer is online visibility. While, retailers have over the years tightened their grip in offline retail through technology, online being the driver of change at the moment, it is time to shift attention to the online space. 

Online is the new normal
Traditional retailers and even the brands who already had one foot in the digital arena saw the immense possibilities of online commerce during the pandemic, Nike for instance witnessed a resurgence in sales numbers by reorienting their online game, during the latter days of the pandemic. Nike’s sales through the online channels blew up by over 80 per cent over the summer of 2020. As per the brand’s pre-COVID projections they mentioned that they were seeing 30 per cent revenue contribution through the digital touchpoints by 2023.

This projection has already been eclipsed and given the brand’s renewed focus on digital channels, the growth will only be exponential from here on. Nike’s growth is a result of customized pricing strategy and making certain things free on their platforms, such as ‘at-home workout’. This customized pricing is a result of the right data analysis, which helped the retailer get more accessible, bringing in over 50 million new users who became loyal, paying customers of Nike retail products. Further, this online diversification allowed this sportswear giant to access new users’ data. Using this data, they can go on to optimize prices to be as competitive and profitable as possible, online. 

Let’s decode e-commerce visibility
Along with the price, another factor that determines the present scope and success of e-commerce retail is visibility. Here, AI plays a vital role. AI makes the process smart, super-fast, and personalized. The idea behind Artificial Intelligence-backed systems is that it helps to create operations, which have both reason and problem-solving skills. AI can work wonders in boosting your brand’s e-commerce presence and competently support the right decision-making, empower sales representatives. 

Research predicts that by 2025 the global e-commerce market will register $4.7 trillion in sales. Keeping this figure in mind, when expanding your brand’s horizon on the omnichannel arena, will you not want to tighten the grip over e-commerce or your online channels? To do so, you need a little push of analytics and bring the online visibility of your products into consideration. 

Owning the digital shelves
While a strong e-commerce presence for your brand helps you connect to consumers, cutting down geographical limitations, but it is equally easy to get lost in the digital alleys. So, whether you are selling vegan meat, a niche skincare product, fabrics, or is a snack brand, your focus should be to make your products visible to your customers all across your digital channels. 

Wondering how will you figure out what to put out on the first page or what to push and what to pull? This is where analytics come into action and helps you sort your strategies for online shelving. From how much time a visitor spent on your respective digital channels to what they browsed and the quality or the depth of their purchase and browsing, actually can be analyzed, and then the same can be used to tie in the loose ends and nurture your brand’s visibility. 

AI indisputably is becoming a big game-changer in online retail and Google’s move to invest in DeepMind an artificial intelligence company that specializes in algorithms and machine learning or Pinterest’s new update to allow users to select an item in any photograph online, and then ask Pinterest to find similar items, which they can shop for online, certainly opens up new prospects of online shopping. Doesn’t this make it more a necessity for brands to be as visible and closer to their customer as possible, now more than before? 

Right product predictions and giving it the push can work wonders. The multinational grocery retailer, Tesco, for instance in order to reduce the chance of product stock-outs and maximize revenue, uses a predictive analytics tool. Tesco collects and enters weather data into this predictive tool to forecast demand for weather-inspired products like ice creams. Once fed into the tool, based on the results the retailer adjusts inventory and supplier orders in advance on a store-by-store basis to minimize missed revenue. This predictive analysis saved the company approximately $140 million via the reduction of wasted stock. A Digital Supply network helped Tesco sidestep this dormancy by making changes based on data. 

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