One of the market research projects we conducted in 2020 was around ‘the perceptions of AI and ecommerce personalisation’ within the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) market .
We gained a better insight into what their ecommerce challenges and pain points were, what ecommerce solutions they were adopting to solve these issues and whether ecommerce personalisation was one of them.
As we predicted, SMEs that were not already using ecommerce personalisation were not fully aware of the many benefits this online solution can bring to their business. There were misconceptions around ecommerce personalisation – particularly in terms of accessibility and price.
This blog post will share some points of our market research and illuminate why ecommerce personalisation can be used as a great tool for delivering ecommerce priorities.
What are the main challenges that SMEs are facing in ecommerce?
The current climate is a challenging time for everyone at the moment – including businesses. The world has turned digital, meaning many retail stores have migrated to ecommerce, to ensure their survival. Although, this new digital world comes with many perks for SMEs, it is accompanied with many challenges too.
We wanted to understand what online challenges SMEs are currently facing are. The top five unprompted responses were;
- Ensuring their website stands out from competitors
- Converting browsers into customers
- Building a loyal customer database
- Keeping up to date with ecommerce trends
- Trying to deliver personalised 1-2-1 interactions with customers
But when prompted the top five responses were;
- Ensuring the customer journey is personalised
- Converting browsers into customers
- Keeping up to date with ecommerce trends
- Ensuring site stands out from competitors
- Evaluating online success
Both sets of responses reveal a keen sense to ‘stand out from competition’. Everyone wants to be known as the best in their industry – this is a given.
So, how do you achieve this? I have two words for you.
Many moons ago I worked in a jewellery store – slightly off topic but relevant I promise!
A common phrase I heard daily was: ‘the customer is always right’. In simple terms this meant that no matter what, all the employees in the store would need to work their socks off, to provide the best service possible. This would be done through conversation, presenting appropriate products, body language, providing suitable recommendations and advice – all to ensure that the service was of high quality.
Why should an online store be any different from the kind of personalised service you would receive in a physical one? Give your customers the service they are looking for – humanise your online store by providing a memorable customer experience, every single visit.
Adopting software technology that can advance your site’s ability to perform and deliver the needs of your individual customers, will put you miles ahead of your competitors and, more importantly, at the forefront of your customers’ minds.
In addition, the good thing about AI-driven ecommerce personalisation is that, unlike people, it doesn’t tend to have its ‘off days’ and will not get frustrated when the customer isn’t always right!
Interestingly, out of the 250 SMEs that we spoke to only 66% had adopted software technology to try address the challenges they faced online. After questioning the 34% that had not adopted online solutions as to why, we found that the main reason was due to a lack of awareness within this field.
Is personalisation the solution to help achieve your ecommerce priorities?
Unfortunately, there is still a lot of misconception around AI and ecommerce personalisation software, from the way that it is repeatedly represented in the big Hollywood movies – does the 2004 film ‘I Robot’ spring to mind?
In fact, during this research we found that many people think of the famous actor Will Smith when the word artificial intelligence is mentioned!
Well, I promise that, if you ever do adopt AI-driven technology, you will not have to worry about a robot potentially plotting to take over the world! You can be rest-assured that the software’s sole purpose is to improve every aspect of your customers’ journeys.
So, the short answer is – yes. Ecommerce personalisation is the solution to help you achieve your ecommerce goals.
AI-driven ecommerce personalisation software, like PureClarity, increases customer spend, amplifies conversions and drives loyalty, through personalising every individual visitor’s journey.
There are many perks to AI-powered ecommerce personalisation; one being that the information presented on the screen adapts in real-time, ensuring that the content and products you show are relevant to that specific customer at that specific time.
SME perceptions of AI-driven ecommerce personalisation software after discussion;
● 45% feel ecommerce personalisation is more suited to bigger retail businesses
● 75% agree their customers want to be treated as individuals
● 41% are concerned about the competition becoming more advanced via the use of AI
● 49% agree that AI would help them better predict and target customer preferences
● 26% agree that websites that have not adopted ecommerce personalisation will struggle to compete
● 31% agree that ecommerce personalisation is now common practice within the ecommerce arena
Although 75% of the SMEs agreed that their customers want to be treated as individuals, some have still not adapted methods due to perceived financial barriers. Our market research showed that many people (45%) believe that because this kind of software is highly intelligent and effective, that it is accompanied with an unaffordable price tag that is exclusive to larger enterprises.
I am here to banish this assumption.
Some ecommerce personalisation software, like PureClarity, can be adaptable to all retail business sizes, no matter how big or small, as they work with any amount of data. The price of the monthly plan is then dependent on the size of the business – our plans start from as little as £299 p/m which includes the use of all features.
‘What benefits have you experienced since adopting ecommerce personalisation?’
There were a portion of the people who spoke to who were Early Adopters. 24% of the SMEs that we spoke with said that they are currently working with an AI solution. We asked them what benefits they have experienced since adopting ecommerce personalisation. The responses were;
● 80% have seen an increase AOV
● 59% have seen an increased customer loyalty
● 45% have seen an increase sales
● 52% Increased brand awareness
● 72% have seen an increase in revenue
● 48% improved bounce rate
● 31% have experienced an improvement in customer feedback
● 17% now have consistent messaging across channels
These results speak for themselves. Ecommerce personalisation helps SMEs deliver their ecommerce priorities and tackle their challenges.
Like I said earlier, the retail industry is now digitised, the competition is fierce and customers’ expectations are higher than ever – the best way to win your customers attention is with a engaging and relevant online store that people genuinely enjoy interacting with.
Give your online store a PureClarity makeover
PureClarity makes ecommerce personalisation simple, affordable and adaptable to your specific ecommerce priorities.
We know that happy customers equate to a prosperous business which is why our product specialises in delivering seamless personalised online experiences for every visitor.
Benefits of using PureClarity:
● Improved customer loyalty and repeat buyers
● An increase in your average order value
● An increase in online sales
● Better customer reviews
● An increase in engagement with your content
● Better insight into your customers buying behaviours
● Full support and advice to optimise your websites performance
● Allows you more time to focus on other things
 Background on market research
The research involved surveying 250 UK SMEs with a turnover of £2m – £20m. All SMEs that we interviewed met the criteria of; trading online either B2C, B2B or both, have an ecommerce store with online checkout, have multiple SKUs and a large product range.
We spoke to people with the following job titles. Head of Ecommerce, Senior Ecommerce Managers, Head of Digital, Digital Ecommerce Managers, Head of Marketing (if the marketing covered off and online) and Ecommerce Managers. The primary intention was to understand their perceptions of ecommerce personalisation, and how they feel solutions of this kind can help them deliver their ecommerce priorities.