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Merchandisers Have an Ace up Their Sleeve: AI

A person sits on a window seat and shops from her laptop while the sun shines outside: retail automation
Give customers the gift of a stellar shopping experience this holiday season by using AI-based tools. [Studio Science]

Good merchandisers boost sales, average order value, and customer loyalty. With retail automation and AI, they can do it even faster.

Digital merchandisers are the MVP of ecommerce, highlighting trends and gently nudging customers toward products they’ll love. During peak shopping season, they’re even more valuable. Need a gift for the in-laws and not sure where to start? Merchandisers offer guidance in the form of product categories, groupings, and promotions, tailored specifically for the perplexed gift-giver. 

Now, retail automation and AI can make merchandisers smarter, faster, and more productive — which means increased sales and customer satisfaction. The right AI-based tools can help them personalize experiences at scale, automate repetitive tasks, and boost loyalty. Here’s how.

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Employees in brick-and-mortar settings learn about customers through conversations and physical interactions. In the digital storefront, merchandisers get clues from every product search, click, and conversion. Thanks to recent advances in retail automation and AI, merchandisers now have new ways to analyze all that data and use it to increase sales.

For example, AI can analyze shopping baskets and give deeper insights into buying behavior. This lets merchandisers quickly uncover specific product data, track sales over time, and explore co-purchase trends. 

Using an intuitive dashboard, they can view your top-selling, most-searched, and best- and worst-converting products — and then use that data to target shoppers exhibiting specific behaviors. Did a shopper abandon their cart full of gift items right before the holiday? Entice them back to your site and encourage a purchase by leveraging historical sales data to tailor a promotion specific to their abandoned items.

What does this mean for your business? Higher average order value and units per transaction, increased customer satisfaction, and more conversions.

Automate tasks and manage increasing workloads

Merchandisers are running a tighter ship than ever — and that’s especially true during the holiday shopping season. If you have a small merchandising team (or one that’s stretched thin), retail automation can speed up some of the tedious work. This gives your team more time to innovate and move your business forward. With AI trained on large language models (LLMs), here are a few of the tasks merchandisers can set on autopilot: 

  • Customer feedback analysis: Reviews and comments are data-rich resources that can help guide merchandising strategies. But reading, categorizing, and analyzing them to glean insights takes time. Lots of time. 

    Generative customer feedback analysis automates the task and gives merchandisers quick, actionable insights. Now, merchandisers can automatically and intelligently identify your most loyal and at-risk customers to help decrease abandoned carts, drive successful product bundling and promotions, and optimize pricing strategies.
  • Content management: A day in the life of a merchandiser involves managing product images, descriptions, and other content across different platforms. It can be tedious, especially when dealing with a large product catalog, but it’s crucial to ensure the consistency and accuracy of your product detail pages.

    Imagine how much easier it would be if descriptions were written, updated, and localized automatically. It’s all possible with generative AI. With a vast inventory, these tasks could take weeks. Now, it can happen in minutes.
  • Inventory management: Availability. Stock levels. Product forecasting. These inventory management tasks take time, but they can now largely be automated by AI. Inventory analytics tools trained on your sales data can help merchandisers quickly uncover trends and actionable insights to minimize stock outs, surpluses in specific regions, and more.

Boost customer loyalty with retail automation and AI-powered personalization

Customers expect high-quality, personalized digital experiences. In fact, 56% of customers expect offers to always be personalized. AI and retail automation goes beyond increasing revenue and saving time: It has the power to make customers feel understood. With generative AI, personalization is no longer reactive — it’s predictive. 

Merchandisers can anticipate customers’ needs by using AI tools to uncover ecommerce data like order and search history. With AI as a whip-smart assistant, merchandisers can generate content, tailor promotions, and even create dynamic product descriptions for customers in real time.

AI is also giving conversational commerce a glow up. Remember when chatbots could answer only the most basic questions — and even then, the exchange felt clunky? Those days are over. Now, chatbots can handle much more than, “Where’s my order?” and “What’s your return policy?” With their natural-language, image-based, and data-driven interactions, they can simplify product searches, personalize responses, and streamline purchases.

Tailored shopping, enhanced self-service, and thoughtful personalization tell customers you’re listening to their needs. In turn, this builds loyalty and brand love. Since 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services, it’s more important than ever to make that experience stellar.

Ready to make every merchandiser an Einstein?

Businesses are doing everything they can to increase operational efficiency and improve customer experiences. AI for ecommerce and retail automation can help brands cut costs, work smarter, and boost customer satisfaction.  

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Francesca Liu headshot
Francesca Liu Product Marketer, Commerce Cloud & Experience Cloud

Francesca Liu is an avid learner and product marketer on the Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Experience Cloud team. Her focus includes release marketing and Einstein for Commerce.

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