If you wish to build a retail website that actually converts, you’ve got to move beyond the aesthetics and imagery. According to data, it takes only 50 seconds for a user to form an opinion about your website. Naturally, creating a lasting first impression should be every eCommerce website’s priority.
AI is Changing the Face of Modern Web Design for Retailers
To make a lasting first impression, you’ll want to tap into the true potential of your website, you need to provide an end-to-end simplified and personalized user experience. This is where AI is making its indelible mark. In this in-depth guide, we will deep dive to understand the tips, tricks, and benefits of integrating AI into your website. Let’s jump right in.
How Technology is Transforming the Retail Industry: A Data-Backed Perspective
First things first, it is critical to understand the increasing role of AI in today’s digitally-driven eCommerce landscape. Amidst the fears of physical shopping and social distancing, retailers have adapted to the new normal by integrating a host of intuitive technological features to better cater to their user base’s demands. These include:
The Powerful Visual Search Technology:
Wouldn’t life be simpler if you could simply shop using images from your web or smartphone? eBay’s powerful AI-led visual search tool allows you to do just that. Its “Image Search” feature allows a consumer to take a photo of an item they wish to purchase or take an existing image from their phone’s Camera Roll.
When they log onto the eBay website, the platform will show listings of visually similar items when compared to the uploaded image. In simpler words, the AI technology reduces the consumer’s effort (and time) to search for products using the right keywords and makes the buying process becomes seamless, quick, and efficient:
Pro tip: This tool can be integrated on the landing page to provide contextual product recommendations to the consumer and address complex user queries visually, within seconds. ASOS also uses visual search technology to make the consumer’s life easier:
Chatbots, a.k.a., virtual assistants make use of complex natural language processing (NLP) systems to mimic human interactions and drive more meaningful conversations with users.
These bots can literally take over a live agent’s workload and assist customers by helping them make purchases, by providing personalized product recommendations, by assisting them in making payments or completing an order purchase, and so on.
Take a look at Nordstrom’s chatbot, which effectively asks users a series of questions about what they want and then generates custom-made ideas based on the answers:
If data is to be believed, chatbots will drive $112Bn in retail sales by 2023. So integrating this intuitive and intelligent technology into your website design is a must if you wish to retain the competitive edge while adding a ‘personal touch’ to your website.
- Artificial design intelligence (ADI): While still in its nascent stages, the ADI technology can automatically build websites based on the latest UI/UX trends and double up as a virtual web designer for all intents and purposes. This technology leverages key data points such as website analytics, user preferences, product catalog, etc., to come up with a customized theme, content, and color palette. It also uses AI to produce functional and attractive web designs without human intervention. Here’s an example of an ADI design by the web development platform, Wix:
All in all, this data-powered process makes web designing more accessible, quick, and affordable. However, the ability to customize the website might be restricted, making your overall design less unique than human-made custom designs. Additionally, it might lack a seasoned graphic designer’s personal and creative touch, so tread with caution.
Pro tip: If you have an e-commerce website that routinely receives thousands of Request for Quotes (RFQs), you can use the ADI technology to power and optimize your website, and drive data-driven interactions with customers. You can also use this technology if you have a product launch or a new event coming up, and need a microsite to be set up within minutes.
The learning: Considering how Covid-19 has accelerated digital adoption, particularly in the eCommerce sector, it makes sense for businesses to invest in the right mix of AI-driven tools to boost conversions through increased responsiveness, drive user happiness, and deliver a hyper-personalized, engaged, and rich experience to users at scale.
Moving on, let’s understand why AI needs to be integrated into your eCommerce website.
Top-5 Reasons Why AI is the Super-Fuel Retailers Need to Boost Growth
The smart consumers of today demand a customized, features-driven, and optimized shopping experience. This is where a slew of AI tools can lend a helping hand by:
- Enhancing your website’s appearance, usability, user experience, as well as speed
- Optimizing the search abilities–be it visual or voice search
- Enhancing the quality of user interactions and accelerating the query resolution time
- Providing a hyper-personalized user experience based on real-time consumer insights such as spending habits, user behavior, demographics, etc.
- Targeting consumers through strategic digital campaigns and providing in-depth reports on the campaign’s performance
- Acting as a web design diagnostic tool by way of running A/B tests, maintaining high design quality, etc.
These are just some of the important use-cases of how AI can drive user engagement and improve the UI/UX of your overall website design.
The learning: With more and more customers becoming avid online shoppers, owing to the global pandemic, the time is ripe for eCommerce brands to integrate AI into their web designing strategy and provide unique experience to customers while boosting their digital footprint.
How AI can be Implemented into Retail Websites: Useful Strategies & Hacks
In this section, we will highlight key strategies to embrace while implementing AI into your retail website:
#1. Use AI to enable shoppers to discover complimentary products–from size and color to shape and fabric, there are many factors to consider while delivering contextual search capabilities. For example, Pinterest allows users to choose an item in any photograph online. It then showcases identical items using image recognition software:
You can also integrate AI-powered quizzes into your website and provide tailored recommendations based on the user’s inputs as ThirdLove demonstrates below:
#2. Use AI tools to drive informed decision-making on key areas of focus such as design, content, structure, layout, graphics, etc. By empowering a model that analyzes existing websites and encourages real-time suggestions, AI can enable brands to deliver an improved user experience and target the right users at the right time with the right messaging.
#3. Use Artificial Design Intelligence to create smarter websites within minutes, without the hassle of coding. Here’s an example of AI that’s integrated into web designing to provide a clean, functional, and seamless browsing experience by Wix. The platform asks the users a series of questions to understand their website requirements and suggests layouts as well as designs accordingly:
#4. Engage in effective, reliable, and quick quality checks. AI tools can be used to address tedious and repetitive tasks of quality assurance checks. As you can imagine, this leaves your developers with saved time to focus on other areas such as enhancing the existing features or taking care of bugs. Additionally, AI tools can bolster your website’s security, and uphold the privacy and sensitivity of your consumer’s data–one of the biggest concerns among users today.
#5. Personalize the online experience using real-time user data. AI can analyze content as well as consumer preferences to personalize the website experience from start to finish. For instance, Sephora’s Virtual Artist makes use of augmented reality and allows consumers to virtually ‘try on’ products, thereby enabling an informed purchase experience:
This functionality can be integrated into your website’s high-performing product pages to enhance the customer experience, connect better with users, and drive brand loyalty. Today, customer loyalty is no longer restricted to loyalty points and rewards, it is all about driving an innovative and convenience-led experience for the customer.
The learning: AI has doubled up as a crucial web designing tool, assisting eCommerce businesses to leverage technology and improve the user experience via real-time and accurate user data, via contextual product recommendation, via convenience-led voice and search capabilities, and so on. It also does much of the heavy-lifting with respect to key stages and elements of the web designing process such as coding, privacy and security, user experience, quality analysis, among others.
Top Factors to Pay Attention to When Setting Up AI-Powered Chatbots
When you are setting up your own AI-powered chatbot, here are a few important best practices to keep in mind:
- Think about the end goal that the chatbot should achieve–it could be better user engagement, gathering real-time user feedback, analyzing user preferences, providing personalized product recommendations, and so on.
- Strategize and conceptualize your chatbot’s tone of voice as well as personality. Customers do not want to speak to robot-sounding dull bots that answer in one-word or singular sentences. It helps to lend your bot a warm, friendly tone and a quirky/funny personality if your brand positioning allows it. Plus, your chatbot should be well-trained to drive meaningful conversations with the user, drive contextual recommendations, and self-learn with every interaction:
- Keep a backup ready by enabling chat routing to the next available live agent, if the chatbot is unable to effectively address the user’s query. Making the customer wait and then providing incorrect solutions is a complete no-no.
- Use a variety of formats to deliver the message to the user instead of using plain text. You can introduce new products via images or videos as shown below:
You can use GIFs, emojis, etc., and drive engagement by literally speaking in the customer’s language. You can include quizzes to gather user feedback or collect user information on product preferences. The idea is to play with a variety of formats and provide diversity to the onlooker.
- Ensure that your bot is capable of providing multilingual support if you wish to cater to a global audience.
- Integrate your bot with the right messaging channels that your customers frequent such as WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.:
There’s no doubt that AI is disrupting nearly every industry, area, or domain–with eCommerce web designing being no exception. eCommerce brands are beginning to understand the vital role AI plays in augmenting the human effort of designing by taking over routine and repetitive tasks and driving a seamless, personalized and consistent browsing experience. That said, you should brainstorm to understand the key gaps within your website and then strategize on how AI technology can help address the specific pain point. Implementing any and every new AI-driven technology, without strategic thinking, will only make the browsing experience chaotic or worse, senseless.
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RUSSIA’S DEFAULT IS A REALITY AS GRACE MONTH IS OVER
Russia’s default has finally arrived on its sovereign debt in foreign currency for the first time in more than a century. Moscow has been unable to pay the interest on two bonds in dollars despite having enough foreign exchange reserves to do so. Investors assure that they have not received payment after the grace month.
Russia is showing the consequences of the sanctions the West has massively imposed on it after the war against Ukraine.
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For months, the country has managed to find ways and shortcuts to wade through the measures that tried to isolate the government of Vladimir Putin and make the country fall into technical default. In the end, the West has achieved its goal, albeit somewhat later than expected.
Although Russia had the capacity to meet this payment, leading economic indicators —the composite PMI sank in March and remain below 50, indicating that the economy is contracting— reveal that the country is facing one of the major economic crises of recent decades.
With double-digit inflation and several leading companies on the way out, Russia will face a deep recession and perhaps years of economic stagnation.
The one-month grace period expired on Sunday on around $100 million of trapped interest payments due May 27, a deadline that is considered an event of default if not paid in the correct currency, according to Bloomberg.
Russia’s default is also backed by other data. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals that the Russian Government had a debt of around $40 billion in hard currency at the end of 2021 —a relatively small amount.
Although the total foreign debt exceeds $470 billion, only part of that amount is in foreign currency and a smaller part is still a liability to the Russian Government.
This is a clear symptom of the rapid transformation that the country is facing, both financially and economically. Russia will have to go on without the foreign capital flows that have historically helped finance investments in emerging countries.
The nation’s Eurobonds have been trading on the secondary market at very low levels since early March, while the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves remain frozen. Russia’s largest banks are cut off from the global financial system, leaving the country in isolation.
Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.
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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses
Believe it or not, online shopping has become a massive trend nowadays, and its popularity is increasing daily. Of course, we were already in the era of digitalization, but this entire pandemic situation has made eCommerce industries flourish more than expected in the last few years.
Nowadays, everything is digitized as people buy food, groceries, cosmetics, clothes, and even electronic gadgets online. This digital revolution has made it easier for creative founders to convert their dreams and ideas into a waking reality.
Old ways and patterns of handling businesses are changing every day, and business owners need to adapt to the fluctuating market trends. And in this, some trending eCommerce businesses have taken this eCommerce industry to a whole new level. They are ruling and conquering like a boss.
Here in this blog, we will be discussing such inspiring eCommerce businesses. So, keep reading to find out more and cope for the better.
What are The Types of eCommerce Businesses?
E-commerce businesses are not limited to one particular business model. Instead, there are various sorts of eCommerce business models as per their business offerings. So have a look at some of the highly prevalent eCommerce models.
- Business to Consumer (B2C): The process of selling from business to customer comes under B2C type E-commerce.
- Business to Business (B2B): The buying and selling process between businesses comes under the B2B type of E-commerce.
- Direct to Consumer(D2C): This new idea of selling directly to end customers without the involvement of any retailer comes under D2C type E-commerce.
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C): Consumer-to-consumer sales on platforms like eBay, Etsy, Fiver, and many more come under C2C type E-commerce.
- Consumer to Business (C2B): An individual selling their services to different businesses comes C2B type E-commerce.
Examples of Successful E-commerce Businesses
1. Warby Parker
Warby Parker is popularly known for producing designer, reliable and inexpensive frames for eyeglasses. An MBA student, Neil Blumenthal, and 3 of his friends launched this eCommerce company in 2010. They proposed the idea in 2008, and took nearly two years to implement.
Their idea of business was something very essential at that period because Luxottica (Another eyewear brand) was one of the few companies that used to sell designer and reliable frames, but they were costly as compared to Warby Parker.
Warby has a free try-on policy with free shipping and numerous return offers, and this is what the brand has adopted to stand out from the crowd and appeal to its customers.
An online Mattress retailer is helping people sleep better and comforting their sleep cycle. The whole idea behind this business model was to help people realize the importance of sleep and how an adequate amount of sleep can increase their productivity and quality of life.
Their first-ever mattress was “Universal Adaptive feel.” It was so flexible that it could easily adjust to all body types.
The 100-night free trial policy worked well for their customers and made the business model a huge success. Leesa had traditional showrooms at first, but with time they also opened online stores.
ModCloth is an eCommerce company launched in 2002, selling women’s clothing worldwide. They sell fun and quirky clothes that are not so exclusive but are comfortable and budget-friendly.
Everything about their store is creative and exciting – which customers nowadays love. The copies describing their clothes are also fun to read because every product has a name and story behind it – now, this is something very catchy.
ModCloth became a brand within a few years of its launch because of its targeted marketing strategy. They know who their target audience is and what requirements they have. Knowing this has made their business reach exceptional heights within a short period of time.
Mostly we know Amazon was launched in 1995 as an online bookstore and has been flourishing since then. Now amazon is not limited to books anymore because now it sells almost everything you can think of. From groceries to clothes and even jewelry, Amazon has it all.
Right now, Amazon is one of the largest eCommerce stores by revenue worldwide. Though amazon started with no competitors, now it has Walmart as one of its biggest competitors. Last year Amazon made a revenue of $470 billion.
Amazon has adopted a stellar marketing strategy, which is targeting the right customer and offering products at comparatively lower rates.
Shopify is a SaaS (Software-as-a-service) company that provides all the tools needed by a business to run its eCommerce business smoothly. It helps them with website building, marketing, payment processing, financial tracking, and everything in between.
It is a tech infrastructure that supports more than 2 million merchants and various operations ranging from mom-and-pop businesses to global brands. Shopify made $389 million in revenue in 2016 to $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021.
The profitability of Spotify has been improving with time because, just like every SaaS business, it has also scaled up.
LARQ is a business model that makes self-cleaning water bottles that are reusable, rechargeable, and also have some advanced features. For example, it has UVC technology used to eliminate viruses & bacteria from water bottles.
LARQ has the initiative to provide clean water to everyone. They also raised $1.7 million for the same. In addition, LARQ donates 1% of its earnings to help maintain clean water worldwide.
The product was so unique and exciting that it attracted numerous customers. As a result, many environmentalists and aware citizens switched to these LARQ bottles and saved their money from buying single-use water bottles.
7. Beer Cartel
Beer Cartel, as the name suggests, is Australia’s number one beer subscription service. It is said that some ideas sell themselves; the same was the case with this one.
Beer Cartel sells beers from all around the world to their subscribers at their doorstep. This online store gives people the freedom to select their unique beer bottles at a price better than traditional stores.
One of the significant reasons for Beer Cartel’s success is that they offer exclusive taste under budget. In addition, they have a wide range of varieties that keeps their customers interested and coming back.
8. Berlin Packaging
Berlin Packaging is well known for sourcing, designing, and even distributing containers and closures for companies like fortune and various family-owned startups.
They have always provided products at a lower cost to their customers to increase the overall efficiency of their enterprise. One interesting fact about it is that it is not a new startup; it is 80 years old, in fact. But Berlin Packaging has somehow still managed to bring their customers the latest and top-quality beer.
They started this eCommerce business model to keep up with the times, which worked out well for them.
With the introduction of eBay, Bonobos knew that the eCommerce business was getting more competitive with each passing day. So, they introduced a unique business model targeting only a super-specific audience.
This strategy of narrowing down to a particular audience helped them make loyal customers who also flourished their business in the long run. Bonobo’s success made everyone realize that focusing on the competition is not good for your business’s health.
They should focus on the value they provide to their customers, and they will reach greater heights of success.
The name of the company seems fascinating, right? Well, so is their initiative. TOMS is an eCommerce company that sells its customers quality shoes that are reliable, comfortable, designer, and inexpensive.
What separates TOMS from other similar eCommerce is that with every transaction, they will help one in need. Yes! Not only this, but they also run various social media campaigns with hashtags like #withoutshoes and many more to stand out from the crowd.
Everything about their business model is catchy and interesting, making it easier for them to drive more traffic to their online shop.
What are the Biggest Benefits of eCommerce?
Shopping in the comfort of home: eCommerce has made shopping easier and more convenient for our customers. Buying and selling things is a child’s play nowadays. As a result, our purchases are simpler, faster, less time-consuming, and not so hectic.
Markets are globalized: Now, you can shop from anywhere around the world at the convenience of your home. The impact of eCommerce on the planet can easily be visible. There are no limitations or barriers to buying from a different state or country.
Building startups is not so expensive anymore! Yes, in this era of digitalization, anyone can set up their online store at a meager cost. In addition, the operating cost is minimal because both buyers and sellers are now digital.
Technologies are evolving rapidly because of this, eCommerce businesses have to see a lot of changes frequently.
If you have an eCommerce business that is not growing as expected, you must adapt to new business models that add value to your customer’s life and your e-commerce services (my business: krishaweb dot com).
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What Does the G7 Russian Gold Ban Mean for Gold Stocks?
The G7 plans to announce a ban on Russian gold imports. But does that really matter for investors? While there hadn’t been an official Russian gold ban until now, this news isn’t exactly a surprise to the industry. Today, we’re seeing that lack of reaction in gold prices.
Typically, a ban on imports for a particular commodity sends prices soaring higher. Just look at what happened to oil after Russia invaded Ukraine. As it pertains to gold, prices also initially ticked higher this morning, with the futures opening up by under 1%.
However, it has now turned lower on the day, as have the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) and the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ).
Does the Russian Gold Ban Matter?
This latest decision does matter. However, it will have a limited impact on the global gold market and gold-mining stocks. Warren Patterson, Head of Commodities Strategy at ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING), had the following to say:
“The impact from a ban on Russian gold imports by G-7 nations is likely to be fairly limited, given that the industry already took steps to restrict Russian gold […]It looks as though its largely symbolic.”
Russia has the world’s fifth-largest gold stash according to the World Gold Council. However, it only exported roughly 5% of the world’s gold supply in 2020. A bulk of those exports — over 90% — went to the United Kingdom, a G7 member. Still, Russia will likely find buyers in China and India.
In actuality, the buying pool may shift, but it will not completely evaporate.
How Does This Affect Gold Stocks?
At this point, the ban does not seem to have much of an impact on gold stocks. There’s multiple reasons why this is the case.
- The industry seems to have largely prepped for such a ban.
- Russia is not that large of an exporter of gold.
- The efforts from central banks to raise interest rates and strengthen currencies is likely playing a more important role in regards to precious metal prices.
Ultimately, a Russian gold ban certainly doesn’t hurt gold prices — if anything, less supply is a bullish catalyst — but right now that catalyst is not reverberating through the market. However, removing Russian supply from the market will be a modest positive for gold miners.
Published First: InvestorPlace. Read Here.
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