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How To Uplevel Smart Merchandising This Holiday Season

In this unpredictable economy, AI looks like a great bet to deliver 1:1 shopping experiences.

Set of holiday gifts

As we prepare for a different holiday season this year, digital leaders are focusing on merchandiser productivity as a strategy to maximize agility and ensure customers have memorable experiences that keep them coming back. 

To help drive growth — especially in an unpredictable economy — brands increasingly rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver 1:1 tailored shopping experiences. For example, Home Depot uses AI to match customers with recommendations that match their intent and interest. But even smaller retailers can take advantage of AI. With Commerce Cloud’s newest type of product recommendations, Complete the Set, merchandisers for all brands — big or small — can reap the benefits of AI. 

If you’re new to the AI world, get a glimpse of what it can do.

AI increases conversion and annual order value (AOV)

Brands win by doing more than simply transacting with shoppers. To grow their business, loyalty and relationship building are essential. Enter personalized experiences calculated by Einstein AI Product Recommendations. When shoppers engage with product recommendations, conversion rates increase. In fact, since its debut, recommendations have created more engaged shoppers: Stonewall Kitchen saw 4.5x higher basket rates, 4.8x product views per visit, and 5x per-visit spend, as well as 2x more re-engagement. 

Einstein-driven product recommendations make up 26% of revenue and increase average order value by 10%. And Roots, a Canadian apparel brand, found that Einstein Product Recommendations delivered a 93% higher click-through rate (CTR) compared to human-curated recommendations. 

Retailers can make merchandising smarter with Complete the Set and increase revenue by showing shoppers items that go well together. Furthermore, merchants can boost products that are frequently purchased together to increase units per transaction. Hibbett Sports launched AI-powered product recommendations on their mobile app in 2019 and they’ve built a “gold standard” shopping experience for digital natives. As one of the first to pilot Einstein API and Complete the Set, Hibbett is seeing explosive growth and a lift in sales.

AI saves merchandisers (and customers) more time

Merchandisers spend weeks every season curating outfits and “looks” — tediously matching products that go together. Meanwhile, shoppers often visit multiple pages to discover all of the products they’re looking to purchase. With Complete the Set, merchandisers can instantly deliver relevant and contextually relevant recommendations. And customers will see auto-generated complementary products on product pages. 

In addition, this feature enables merchandisers to take shopper behavior and product attributes and apply intelligence around product categories to create a “set” or a “look.” Complete the Set reduces massive merchant effort down to just a few minutes and clicks. Merchandisers can ultimately spend more time innovating commerce and reduce or even eliminate the time spent on manually creating product sets to display on product detail pages.

AI delights shoppers

In a recent survey, over 50% of consumers reported record levels of digital engagement, saying that they were browsing the internet, shopping, and streaming content more than they normally would. In this new world, companies that create unique digital experiences stay a step ahead. Using features like Complete the Set, shoppers can make use of recommendations like a personal shopping assistant. They can easily discover new items they’ll love and view inspiration on how to wear an item — upgrading an entire holiday wardrobe. For example, someone browsing for a dress shirt may find relevant products to coordinate with it (i.e., blazer, trousers, vest, and leather shoes) by scrolling down the product page and seeing “goes well with” content. 

And, with the latest release, Complete the Set is now expanding from fashion to home furnishings and opening up a host of new merchandising possibilities for beauty, skin care, and cosmetics. With a home furnishings market expected to hit $232 billion in 2021 and a worldwide beauty market value of over $300 billion , getting a leg up on the competition is crucial. Brands like Proven Skincare and Function of Beauty are already using AI to create differentiated experiences for shoppers. Complete the Set can empower retailers to help create an incredible experience for shoppers to dress up their home decor and set the tone for the holidays.

Next steps

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we should be ready for anything. The Salesforce B2C Commerce platform delivers success to global brands every day, every month, every holiday, and at every economic turn in the economy.

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