Over the past few years B2B distributors have learned from successful B2C companies and embraced online sales. Today, distributors must do so again and further update their e-commerce platforms. AI-driven personalization will help distributors sell more across all their online sales channels. Distributors can examine profitable B2C companies and pick up on the strategies that have proven effective in an AI-era. Amazon did not succeed at random. Rather, it grew because of its superior tactics, tactics premised on one big idea: personalization drives revenue online. AI gives customers more personalized shopping experiences. And, more personalized shopping experiences lead to more sales.
E-commerce websites usually have three different pages: home, product and checkout. Personalized AI can amplify sales as a customer moves through each of these pages. Here is how.
This is the first thing customers see on a website. Traditionally, this page includes information about the distributor and a search bar to look for products. This puts the burden on customers to act. Instead of being offered products, customers must instead seek them out.
Smart e-commerce sites take this burden from customers and actively offer customers interesting products. An AI-powered homepage could use data to offer customers goods they will want and offer an option to reorder previously purchased products. It could also pitch customers on “new products” or “featured products” that data suggest they are likely to buy.
After customers click on a product, they move to the product page. Good product pages not only help customers buy exactly what they want, but they also encourage them to purchase complementary items with suggestions like “similar items,” “customers also bought,” “customers also viewed” and “recently viewed.”
For example, if someone is buying hot dogs online, an AI-powered website might show the customer other sausage brands (similar items), hot dog buns (customers also bought), and ketchup and mustard (customers also viewed).
Once a customer is contemplating a purchase, AI not only encourages cross-selling and up-selling, it also creates the opportunity for related, additional sales!
AI checkout pages should abide by the same principles: make sure customers got what they came for and sell them on something extra, if possible. A good checkout page entices customers to buy more by offering new products,the ability to re-order previously purchased products, or buy products that were viewed earlier, but didn’t get added to their shopping cart.
Checkout pages can also feature a “complete the cart” option. If an AI program recognizes that peanut butter and jelly are often purchased together, it will offer a customer who already has peanut butter a chance to buy jelly.
AI in Action
I understand that people don’t want to hear more about Amazon. We already talk a lot about the world’s top Internet retailer. But there’s a reason for that. Amazon has a business strategy that works. That’s why we’re talking about Amazon and not the nameless competitors that it squashed.
Amazon implements all the practices described above to personalize the shopping experience and to sell more. Its many profitable features and categories (“buy it again,” “customers also bought,” “recommended for you,” etc.) all use AI in the same way; they analyze data and expose customers to items they are most likely to buy.
These practices and tools aren’t hypothetical. They are already working and working extremely well – Amazon’s AI recommendation engine drives 35% of the company e-commerce revenue with this strategic use of AI. So why not go and make AI work for you?
This article was originally published with the National Association of Wholesale-Distributors here: