Tag Archives for " Ecommerce "

two people shaking hands across a table with laptop and papers

How is AI shaping the future of B2B E-commerce?

How is AI shaping the future of B2B E-commerce?

Most people have experienced AI in one form or another via interactions with websites such as Amazon or Netflix with their personalized recommendations or with AI assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google Home. This trend of using AI and machine learning is no longer limited only to B2C. The growing popularity of AI is influencing B2B buyer expectations and B2B companies are increasingly leveraging AI and machine learning to improve search, personalization, reordering, and ultimately streamline business processes.

The application of AI and machine learning needs to be refined and fine-tuned as the process followed by B2B companies is completely different than the B2C company processes.

How can AI change the following aspects of B2B ecommerce?

Product search

person searching for products online

AI is enabling the next generation set of search tools. Buyers no longer need to depend on catalogs to search for products. Using image recognition, a mobile app can enable buyers to search for an app using a picture captured by their smartphone. The app can deliver relevant results based on the image along with the buyer's purchase history.

Another method used by buyers include voice - and find it convenient to send voice prompts to Siri, Google Home or Alexa as search queries. Combining traditional text-based search and text-to-speech along with image recognition allows the buyer to search according to his/her individual preference.

Chatbots are greatly improving interactions with buyers through conversations that mimic real-life dialogues exchanged by people in real-life.

Crafting recommendations

As B2B buyers, the expectation is fast and relevant search results. Leveraging AI, businesses can anticipate buyer needs by analyzing their past purchases to predict what they may need next. This process further enables automated marketing campaigns which, makes reordering easier.

It can also be leveraged to recommend complementary products or services. For instance, if a buyer has previously purchased a set of cutlery, the recommendation engine would show a variety of cutlery organizers that would complement the set. AI can also personalize and optimize promotions and sales offers based on comparing purchase history of clients with business-wide patterns.

This provides an enhanced experience for the buyer, which helps build brand loyalty.

person holding a tablet with data stats

Real-time data collection

Procuring usable information from the data generated by an e-commerce business can be an extremely difficult task. With AI, extracting relevant and usable information becomes easy, which further enables the business to identify new patterns of buyer behavior to improve product offers, and speed up decision-making.
Administrative processes such as stock control can also be optimized with automated tracking and reordering, saving valuable time for businesses.

Though B2B e-commerce trends differ from B2C, B2B businesses expect the same user-friendly online buying experience that they get from consumer websites. With more companies adopting AI-based applications into their business models, it becomes imperative for B2B businesses to evolve with the changing technology trends. This further helps them to get an edge over their competitors and stay ahead.

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Tackling DNVBs for emerging brands and legacy retailers

Tackling DNVBs for emerging brands and legacy retailers

The recent years have seen the emergence of DNVBs or micro-brands; brands that focus on providing a niche product for a niche customer, which is changing the consumer brand landscape completely. These direct-to-consumer micro-brands or DNVBs, also known as v-commerce brands, are spearheading new approaches to retail. These brands have a distinct business model; combining the growth of an e-commerce company with the profit margins of a brand.

These brands control the entire experience - from sourcing and manufacturing to delivering product experiences online (website or social media platforms), thus enabling them to iterate product design and demand and connect with their customers in an authentic manner via micro-targeting.

So what can emerging brands and legacy retailers learn from the DNVBs that are disrupting and taking over the e-commerce environment?

Adopt a data-driven model

Standardized messaging is a big no for DNVB customers. High performing DNVBs invest heavily in collecting and measuring data to improve their communication with their customers. They leverage first, second and third party demographic, behavioral and psychographic to design bespoke digital advertising. This further enables them to understand the messaging that would resonate with the different segments in their target demographic.

Every touch point with a customer is devised to convince and convert. Legacy retailers and emerging brands must leverage data to intersect their demographic and strategically target potential customers.

Design strong product experiences

DNVBs offer customers a buying experience which is as memorable as the product. DNVBs create product experiences that are visual, descriptive and transparent (the product is represented in an image enabling the customer to visualize the product as part of their daily life). Furthermore, they also leverage UGC content and customer reviews to further represent the product ensuring that the customer is well briefed about the product before making a purchase. Emerging brands and legacy retailers must further focus on creating strong product experiences to drive revenue.

For example: For a home decor brand, besides how the product looks like, it is important for the brand to provide details about the materials used,  sourcing of the materials as well as the durability of the product. The product page must mention all these details along with the size, height, frame of the product. Pages that include lookbooks or UGC content further helps the customer to make a better choice.

Build tech with a human touch

DNVBs collect data on every transaction and interaction with customers and leverage this information to better understand their customers and how they behave online. The goal is driven to be relevant, highly personalized, efficient and convenient for the customers.

Traditional or emerging brands, while interacting with their customers, must ensure that their message is personalized. For ex: If the customer in the past has purchased organic, whole wheat pasta, the messaging they could receive could include organic tomatoes or organic arrabbiata sauce they could use for their pasta.

Take the brand experience offline

Digitally native brands understand the importance of brick and mortar and do not restrict themselves to being digital-only. DNVBs often expand to shops through partnerships with third-party retailers, pop-up stores or by creating their own physical locations. Moreover, these locations are heavily marketed by influencers, with strategic content as well as promotional offers. They ultimately expand from a digital-only space but without sacrificing their brand or customer experience.

Most e-commerce companies are heavily focused on distributing other brands' goods and competing with e-commerce giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Alibaba while DNVBs are paving the way for a new retail experience with technology, social sharing and being perceptive to the shifts in consumer buying behavior.


Consumers are increasingly demanding informative and convenient product experiences across every sales channel and with more DNVBs coming into the market, expanding their presence beyond digital channels to brick and mortar stores, it is imperative for traditional brands to take inspiration from the DNVBs and adapt their business models to the changing consumer trends. Brands that can not only meet these expectations but also deliver on it will be the most successful in the digital space.

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supermarket with fresh produce

AI and Automation are transforming the E-Grocery experience

AI and Automation are transforming the E-Grocery experience

The concept of e-grocery is not new, with existing e-commerce businesses like Walmart To Go, Amazon Fresh and Instacart, but with Amazon acquiring Whole Foods, all the players in the grocery retail industry have realized that grocery shopping is at the brink of transformation and are changing their strategies to accommodate and incorporate online shopping into their business goals. 

The focus is on providing solutions to enhance customer engagement, optimize inventory management and upgrade logistics for accurate and speedy delivery. To address these concerns, businesses are investing in technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), big data, internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, autonomous robots, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR).

Challenges of e-grocery inventory management

The success of an e-grocery business essentially depends on inventory management. The fundamental problem that needs to be addressed is stocking: with grocers finding the right balance between understocking and overstocking. 

Overstocking uses up costly warehouse space and locks up capital which could be otherwise made available for resources. Products decay over time and with perishables, the decay is often quicker, in some cases, by the end of the day. Every wastage affects the business, increasing the costs and making it unproductive.

While on the other hand, understocking hinders the growth of the business. No grocer wants customers abandoning their shopping carts because of the inability to supply an item. While there are options to pre-order products that are not in stock, groceries are fast moving products that customers need on a regular basis. Grocers cannot list fruits, vegetables, cereals, soaps, detergents, and personal care items as out of stock. The demand for them is instant.

Optimizing inventory is crucial for the survival of the grocery industry. It’s no surprise that e-grocers are leaning towards innovative technologies to enhance and optimize their inventory management processes.

aisle with fresh fruits

Emerging trends in e-grocery

Big Data, AI and Machine Learning

E-grocery businesses generate a significant amount of data about purchasing patterns which can be useful to predict future trends. However, this data needs to be examined and categorized to make it efficient and useful. Here’s where data analytics and machine learning come in to help grocers extract relevant insights which help them make strategic business decisions.

Businesses are leveraging AI to predict operational failures and improve warehouse management. As machine learning models get smarter, the systems get more efficient over time.

Automation and use of robots

Besides inventory maintenance, the physical movement of the inventory is another challenge for the grocers as it requires a considerable amount of human labor. Technologies like automation and robotic systems are helping businesses by taking over these manual tasks.

The robotic systems are automating operations for customer orders and are also helping businesses to build space-saving warehouses and utilize the complete area efficiently without wastage. There are rails between aisles for robots to move around, stock and fetch products. Robotics and automation go hand in hand towards reducing the size of real estate investments.

Self-Drive logistics

Another challenge that e-grocers face is delivery of the products to the customers.

Groceries differ from regular e-commerce products such as shoes, or furniture items in two ways: the quick turn around time expected by the customer and the perishable nature of grocery items. As the order volume of the e-grocery business grows, the logistics system needs to scale along with it. This, in turn, increases the delivery cost that further affects the business.

Businesses are turning towards self-drive vehicles to deliver groceries to customers and with startups like AutoX with self-drive car deliveries and Marble with a sidewalk delivery robot coming in the market. As transport technology advances, self-driving automatons can become the next big thing to look out for.

The future of e-grocery

As online grocery businesses are adopting the latest technology to solve the supply chain, inventory management, and logistics problems, even small grocers are able to leverage these technologies to scale their businesses through automation and predictive analytics.

Moving grocery online has been a major problem with the high demand for operational excellence and the low margin of the products. This is a hard sell for many businesses, but with the advancements in AI, Machine Learning, Automation, Robotics, this is changing. This can be seen from the growth of e-grocery ventures that are emerging around the world.

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Person taking a photo of a dish

AI in Images and Video: How can it benefit e-commerce?

AI in Images and Video: How can it benefit e-commerce?

With the growing popularity of image-based social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, there has been a significant rise in UGC (user-generated content) on the internet. Users upload photos not only of their lives but also of interactions with different products or brands they encounter online. Retailers and brands can leverage this information to engage and interact with users building brand awareness. However, with the increased use of UGC, it has become a challenge for them to track and categorize unstructured information. This challenge can be addressed using image recognition and computer vision.

Helping with Product Search

If a user while looking for a type of furniture is unable to use the right terms to describe the item in the search query, he/she could always depend on voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri or Google Home. However, the voice command is really just fulfilling a text query.

Instead, by taking a few pictures of the object and uploading it online using image search, the user can find what he/she is looking for. Using image-based AI, the search breaks down different elements of the image and enables the user to choose which aspects of the results are important.

couch in the living room

For instance, there is a beautiful couch in the living room but it is missing a coffee table. The user can take a picture of the couch and upload it as a search item. The image AI picks up on the couch and detects the elements such as color palette, wooden legs, etc. It then provides results of coffee tables that can match and complement these elements. Furthermore, based on its database, the AI can also recognize elements such as the brand, price range, etc. of the couch allowing the AI understand what type of budget the user may be willing to spend on furniture items. This goes beyond the simple search that people see today. 

Personalized experience on social media

Social media is empowered by AI, and brands and retailers can now detect and analyze every mention on the social media platforms using image recognition. They can also view how the brand is portrayed through the various images and videos shared on a daily basis. This further allows brands to interact with the users as well as collect and reshare their images helping the users to develop a personal connection with the brand.

Brands are also leveraging computer vision to provide a more targeted ad experience for users. For example, after browsing through an Instagram feed of a famous fashion celebrity, the user may get ads of fashion lookbooks featuring some of the pieces worn by that celebrity. These type of ads provide a subtle recognition for the user, which in turn helps brands build awareness and engagement.

AI in video content

For video content, brands and retailers can use AI to scan the video and index objects, scenes and audio sounds such as a dress from a popular brand or a painting from a famous artist or a song from a famous musician. Leveraging these elements, brands can then promote their products that can relate to these items such as bags that may match the dress in the video.

For video advertisements, brands can insert their products into a “placeholder” dynamically. Video producers can mark areas in their videos that can easily incorporate an inserted image and depending on the geography, language, and demographic segregation of the audience, AI can dynamically insert an ad into the video. This personalized approach enables a more local advertising experience for the users.


The e-commerce landscape is evolving with technological innovations changing the way people shop online. Images and videos are a largely untapped resource for retailers and brands to get insights from but with image recognition and computer vision gaining momentum, it is now possible. Giants like Amazon have also recognized its potential and have incorporated image-based search into their shopping experience. The applications for AI in images and videos are still limited but with deep learning, it is evolving and has the potential to change the shopping experience completely.

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person using a tablet with a computer in the background

How AI helps to optimize e-commerce product content

How AI helps to optimize
e-commerce product content

With online sales growing faster and the e-commerce landscape changing with technological innovations, traditional retailers are increasingly investing in omnichannel strategies and doubling their efforts in order to meet consumer demands. An effective way to keep pace with e-commerce giants and stay relevant in the marketplace is to offer high-grade product discovery and selection. This requires providing detailed product content with product-specific attributes, along with semantic search.

The current product content problem

As more retail businesses are moving towards e-commerce, the need for quality information and powerful search platforms has become crucial in order to entice shoppers and help them make effective purchase decisions. However, this is a challenge as they are unable to easily deliver complete product content.

Retailers rely on the suppliers to provide all the coordinating images, videos, attributes, etc. for each of the products. Suppliers use various methods to provide content such as printed or digital catalogs or in different formats like Excel, PDF, etc., making it difficult for retailers to properly source and extract the right data required for the right product. In some cases, retailers even purchase content from third-party providers or online databases. However, the challenge here persists, as most of the time, content differs from suppliers to third-party providers and validation of the information becomes tedious.

Besides the price of a product, detailed product information along with superior quality-images, videos play an important role in a consumer’s buying decision. 

There are numerous technological challenges while extracting content from the product images - some including region segmentation, diverse product backgrounds, natural settings, typography and fonts, lighting conditions, and low-quality images. For instance, inconsistent product image sizes would limit the system to capture the product details completely from all the images.

Impact of poor quality data

Missing information and uncertainty are two leading factors for consumers to abandon their shopping journey. Consumers tend to leave their shopping journey when they sense that the product does not have clear or complete information. This could range from unclear product descriptions to missing or inaccurate product attributes such as size, materials used, ingredients, etc. or even product reviews.

While there is no definitive rule stating an optimal number of product images or videos or a recommended character limit for product information, the quality of product images and videos have a direct impact on the ability of the e-commerce business to generate sales. With complete and comprehensive product information (description along with attributes like size, or weight, etc.) and high-quality images and videos would enable shoppers with the information they may need to make a purchase decision.

Effective Extraction of Product Content

With IceCream Labs CatalogIQ, retailers can effectively address the problems they face while onboarding product content to their catalogs. Leveraging machine learning algorithms, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) systems, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques, it can effectively extract the right information needed for the retailer to optimize their content as well as maintain their content health. Some of its capabilities include:

CatalogIQ extracting content from a product

Attribute Extraction: ​

Images would be clicked from all angles of the product and would be fed into the machine. Leveraging NLP techniques, brand attributes such as brand name, sub-brand, tagline, flavor, net weight/volume, and calorie information would be extracted.

Brand Name Detection (Logo detection): 

Leveraging OCR, the product image is scanned for text and the output is further sent to an NLP engine specifically to identify text logos (ex: for brand logos like Zara). If the text is not detected, image processing is further applied using the brand name parameters (ex: for brand logos like Nike)

Standard Certification Detection:

In this step, a preset database with standard food certification parameters is applied to detect and extract food certification labels such as “gluten-free”, “non-GMO”, “100% organic”. Here, the images are scanned using these parameters. This is similar to how the Brand Name detection functions.

nutritional label data extraction

Nutrition Facts Extraction:

Using OCR and region segmentation, nutritional facts text is extracted. This text is further corrected using a predefined vocabulary to streamline the content. A rule-based approach is then applied to the corrected text to extract nutritional values.

Product label images are a trusted source of product information for consumers. AI can ensure that the process would improve the quality of the information and maintain data consistency across all product pages. Retailers can further benefit from this as it would alleviate the burden of validating product data provided by various suppliers, online databases or third-party providers and can provide additional information that is critical for product discovery like brand or certification logo information.

The future of Product content

Applications leveraging AI and machine learning have projected tremendous potential for applying process automation to reduce data inconsistency and enhancing data quality and thereby, improving the product data extraction processes.


At IceCream Labs, we strive to address the challenges that businesses face in e-commerce using AI and machine learning. Are you ready to enhance your product content and take your e-commerce business to the next level? Reach out to us at sales@icecreamlabs.com for an AI-based solution for your business.


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man using phone with voice commands

Voice is changing the way consumers are shopping online

Voice is changing the way consumers are shopping online

It seems like, these days, you see an Amazon Alexa or a  Google Home everywhere. It’s not uncommon to see a person shout across the room to their voice device trying to turn the television on.

Amazon and Google have sold over 27 million voice command devices in the United States alone, and Apple’s Siri is available to more than 500 million users across the world. 

With the increased adoption of voice assistants, consumers are depending on them to do simple tasks like telling time, setting alarms or even making calls, so that they can focus their attention on some other tasks. However, it’s not just those simple tasks anymore, voice assistants are being increasingly used for online shopping, with users giving voice commands to the assistant about what products to purchase. Consumers are able to multitask without having to manually search different e-commerce portals and selecting products through each of their product categories, thereby, saving a lot of time.

Retailers, recognizing this trend, are slowly incorporating voice to further enhance the user experience. Incorporating voice in the shopping experience not only ups the convenience level of a shopper but also saves time lost in typing and searching for products. 21% of all Alexa and Home users have stated that they are shopping via their device today. Leveraging AI, voice recognizes language patterns such as dialects, intonations, and accents enabling them to converse with the user in a natural, conversational manner. The potential of turning the shopping world upside down is very high and the most immediate impact will be in the following areas:

Better searchability

SEO becomes beneficial for any retailer as it drives maximum traffic for e-commerce. However, there is a lot of difference between typing in search terms and using voice. Technology needs to evolve to differentiate voice commands from typewritten keywords. This will help to institute searchability and compatibility towards voice commands. Understanding the context is important as Voice is conversational. For example, auto-fill options must be provided for sentences or questions to understand the user intent.

With consumers increasingly moving towards voice search, e-commerce businesses must align their website and product pages to account for voice.

amazon echo dot

Ease of providing product reviews

The increase in voice searches eliminates having to browse through different categories and multiple pages. Furthermore, this has raised the importance of online reviews for products and services. The feedback loop between the retailer and the customer becomes more efficient and seamless.

For instance, imagine a customer ordered a pair of Nike Running shoes but never got around to filling out the review. The voice assistant would then ask questions like: “How would you rate your Nike Running shoes from one to five stars? Did it fit as you expected?” By answering these quick questions, the shopping experience can become increasingly personalized, providing better recommendations for the customer.

Online reviews will become increasingly important with almost 85% of voice-based customers trusting the recommendations provided by their assistants. These recommendations, in turn, are based on the top-reviewed products of that query making providing reviews more important than ever for retailers.

Shipment Tracking made easy

In the future, voice commands may not only be restricted to ordering products or proving reviews for them. Users may even get quick updates about their orders and their shipping status. There is a need for these complex processes to become more intuitive especially when consumers expect prompt responses. The retailer can enhance the shopping experience by connecting shipping operations with the voice app enabling users to get quick updates about their shipping status.

flat lay photography of coral Google Home Mini on black surface beside Apple AirPods

Although voice search and shopping is the next big thing, there are a number of challenges that are left unaddressed. The technology, in its current state, is yet to be equipped to handle complicated queries such as comparing different products. Many users still don't believe that the assistants can pick a product without choice, based on their query.

The consumer behavior is changing and as the popularity of using voice search grows, retailers must make decisions and act fast to cope with the change.

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scattered photos of coffee

Types of product imagery that drive eCommerce sales

Types of product imagery that drive e-commerce sale

Touching and feeling a product has always been the sign of a savvy shopper. The softness of a fabric, the firmness of a fruit has been the cornerstone of the tactile experience of shopping and we have traditionally held in esteem, the men and women who are skilled at establishing quality just by their sense of touch. This age-old process, however, is eliminated in the increasingly digital world and Retailers are scrambling to innovate so as to provide the customers an experience that engages their other senses.

This is where good product content comes into play - a detailed product description paints an image which allows the customer to get to know what the product is, what it can do and what it potentially feels like. Labels, ingredients, and materials used to expand the connection we have with the product or similar products and the customer is given as many tools as possible to create the sensations needed to make that purchase.

And finally, product images connect the textual dots to let the customer see what the product would look like and give context to how the product appears visually.

Product imagery plays a pivotal role

Uncertainty and missing information are two of the top reasons why people decide not to buy a product online. Customers tend to leave their shopping journey when they feel the product doesn't have enough or clear information. This could range from product reviews and the materials used to the size specifications. However, product imagery takes the cake in being the primary driver of sales. Studies have shown, 92% of consumers are driven to a purchasing decision based on product imagery, may it be images or videos.

Therefore naturally, the quality of product images directly affects the ability to generate sales making it crucial for brands and retailers to use high-quality images and HD videos while showcasing their products.

So what exactly do shoppers want from a brand or retailer's product imagery?

Product angles

Customers generally like to view a  product from every angle. A study conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group found that consumers were better informed after viewing clear, high-quality product images. This helps them “see” and extrapolate on what the features could be.
The quantity of images also plays an important role. 

For example, for a floral dress, the imagery should reflect the color palette, the draping, and how it would look like from the front, sides and the back. This would bring the user’s attention to small features such as a button or a sleeve detailing.

Walmart - product page for floral dress with different product images

In the case of electronics, besides the ability to view the product from every angle, the images can also show the buttons or outlet sockets. This would come in handy for the user as he may not need to refer to the manual every single time, looking for a function.

Size matters 

If customers need a magnifying glass to view product images, there is something wrong. The imagery should be able to show enough details that the customers don't need to go to a store and look at the actual product in person. If the imagery shows the detailing from afar as well as when zoomed in, it would imitate feeling the texture of the product. Furthermore, the size of the image in the product catalog also plays a large role in piquing the interest of a shopper.

The VWO blog reported an A/B test comparing catalogs with smaller vs larger images. The results showed that larger product images led to a 9.46 percent in sales in comparison to smaller product images.

So when it comes to product imagery, size does matter.

Presentation

The battle does not end with putting up images of the product. How it is being shown also affects the shopper’s buying decision.

While some shoppers prefer to see the product image against a plain background, there are some that want to see the products used contextually. There is another set of shoppers who would like to see user-generated images from people who have purchased the product in the past.

When providing product images for millennial shoppers, in addition to quality sized images, social media tends plays a pivotal role. Millennials get attracted to products that are socially endorsed. This also gives shoppers an impetus to share their purchases online.

While shoppers have always valued brand shopping experiences above all, the rise of innovations integrating online and in-store is intriguing. VR technology and AI integration help shoppers get a better understanding of how to use the products. Shoppers also depend on VR to help product images or product labels come to life.

Piled up Polaroid photos


The fact that consumers want quality product imagery is not something new, but it is valuable to know what kind of imagery the target customers are looking for. This ensures that retailers and brands create product content that meets the needs of the customers inadvertently driving sales and an increase in customer base.

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E-commerce is moving towards social commerce – How to get it right

E-commerce is moving towards social commerce - How to get it right?

Social commerce is often described as the intersection between social media and e-commerce. While this holds value, there is a lot of traffic with no direction. There’s no doubt that social selling is a powerful and an increasingly influential sales tool.

According to recent BI Intelligence, the top 500 retailers earned an estimated $6.5 billion from social shopping in 2017, up 24% from 2016.

There are various forms that social commerce adorns, from group buying to social shopping; from mobile apps to retailers adding social features, or shopping integrated into social media. All of these forms have one thing in common - the use of social technology to replicate age-old buying models in the digital sphere.

Whether it is girls going shopping together in a store or asking a friend for advice on power tools, moving them to online would result in them having a social commerce experience. Taking another instance of bartering, here, instead of the traditional method of trading goods or services, shoppers are trading personal data such as buying habits and preferences for access to easy shopping portals.

There are social platforms like Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram which have incorporated a “Buy now” button that can turn a static image into a product with a click. However, since the story came about how social platforms are using and monetizing user data, there was a certain amount of wariness among the users about sharing their data on these networks.

The key here is to find a model of social commerce that would work the world over. Some of the things to keep in mind -

  • Provide the shoppers the ability to earn credit for sharing their own data and of their social network.
  • Enable retailers to own the relationship with their customers while also providing access to insights and goodwill from happy customers. 
  • Provide every individual the ability to turn into an influencer. 
  • Star
    Using the existing social media networks as a channel to interact with the brand itself.
person using laptop that is showing a webpage of images

How to make it work

Say a user wants to purchase a mobile phone. The ideal route would be to go the website of the retailer of their choice (assuming if the retailer provides a social commerce experience). They can then choose the selection of the models of their favorite mobile phones.

They now post a picture of the phones on their social networks and ask friends to vote on which phone they think the user should buy.

By setting up this vote, the user can then earn shop credits. Their friends who voted for the products can also earn shop credits by that action. In this scenario, there is no prerequisite of having a large social media presence to be valuable for the business. This action inadvertently turns the user into a micro-influencer.

The information gathered during the voting helps the retailer sell more effectively. They learn which of the products is most appealing and have the potential to become hot sellers, and then accordingly manage stock or change how they display their products. They also gain access to an expanded audience. This eventually, helps them to build a relationship with their customers which can help them build brand loyalty.

Summary

Social channels have a major role to play. Besides influencing purchase decisions, social media is a larger part of the product discovery and research phase in the shopping journey.

The next few years will see social commerce expand its influence if it efficiently benefits the consumers and businesses. The world of commerce is on the verge of disruption, thanks to technological innovations, data collection, and social media. If social commerce is achieved correctly, the future of retailers and shoppers will widen.

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How Brick-And-Mortar Stores Can Compete With E-Commerce Businesses

How Brick-And-Mortar Stores Can Compete With E-Commerce Businesses

With every passing year, there is a tremendous increase in online sales, with a majority of brands and retailers taking their business online. While this is true, there is a parallel conversation happening about how the brick and mortar stores are shutting down.

Many big retailers have come in the news about closing their physical locations. Well known brand, Payless ShoeSource closed down about 400 physical stores across the USA and Puerto Rico. Over a year ago, Ralph Lauren announced that they were closing down their leading store in Manhattan as a part of its plan to move towards a new and innovative customer experience.

This movement towards building new and innovative customer experiences have trended towards online shopping which can be done from the comfort of one’s home or via a smartphone. Many retail giants today heavily invest in e-commerce in order to meet the demands of the growing customer needs. With the competition getting tougher year after year, how can the traditional retailers attract customers to their physical stores?

beverage aisle

Creating a simple, fast and friction-free commerce

One thing that online shoppers detest is having to wait for their purchases to arrive (some even have to pay overnight shipping) so, as a brick-and-mortar merchant, the ability to provide instant gratification can stand out. It is a good strategy to work around customers in a neighborhood that the merchant is well known.  This can be done with proper local advertising and an online presence that provides accurate directions to the store.

Traditional retailers often have a more difficult time creating a friction-free environment. While considering the hurdles, they must determine why a customer would decide NOT to make a purchase. They must explore questions such as - is an item not in stock? Are the staff unable to answer questions?

It is imperative to understand the possible pain points and take initiative to alleviate them. If there an item that is out of stock, consider providing a complimentary shipping to the customer’s home, or make proper arrangements so that the staff is able to answer customer questions.

Strengthen customer relationships using social media

Customers today are no longer enticed by discounts and special offers. They are also looking for rewarding shopping experiences. Retailers can engage with their customers by creating a vibrant and interactive social media presence. If the retailer provides kitchen goods, they can share recipes online that the customers can try at home, or provide cooking tips and in-store demos. Leveraging social the right way can help build a tight-knit community for the retailer’s customers.

Creating smarter in-store experiences

There are a number of ways that can change the in-store experience for the customer. Making things easy with clear signs, organized shelving, clear pricing can make a great difference. If the retailer provides gourmet or specialty products, additional descriptive tags can pique customer interest. Furthermore, marrying the in-store presence with the online presence can create an interactive experience for customers as well.

Another critical component while creating a smarter in-store experience is the checkout.  This is last, most important component of the customer’s purchasing journey and the need for it to be smooth and friction free is important. One of the things to keep in mind, for instance, could be ensuring that the technology that the store uses for payment is up to date and secure, which accepts all major credit cards.

A new thing that is taking the brick and mortar stores to another level is the incorporation of mobile point-of-sale solutions so that the customers do not waste time while standing in long queues at checkout.


Brick and mortar stores, contrary to the negative conversations, are far from being irrelevant. By providing unique, shopping experiences that is seamless as shopping online, with the added advantage of providing a personal touch, traditional retailers can maintain their share of the business and combat the growing e-commerce trend by riding on its growth.

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The Importance of m-commerce in e-commerce

The Importance of m-commerce in e-commerce

We have witnessed the advent of e-commerce and how it quickly became a part of all our lives. With over half of American consumers now doing most of their shopping online (51%), businesses find it crucial to have a web and mobile presence.

Approx. 1.2 billion people are in habit of using their smartphones to access the internet daily. Trinity Digital Marketing publication reports that in the US, nearly half of the population uses smartphones to connect to the internet

Mobile apps are the primary driver of digital media consumption, proving that creating a mobile-friendly website is imperative to ensure the success of the business.

However, creating a website is not the only goal for a business. It has to be an efficient platform that would allow customers to purchase their products. This is the key to increasing sales in tandem with growing the business’ digital footprint. Building a viable e-commerce site that is also optimized for mobile commerce (m-commerce), should be in forefront of the business strategy.

What is M-Commerce?

Simply put, mobile commerce or m-commerce is sales and commerce using wireless hand-held remote devices. These devices can be smartphones, phablets, or tablets. The main concept behind m-commerce is bringing a simple, accessible and user-friendly shopping experience to the consumers.

M-commerce is becoming increasingly popular and e-commerce companies and retailers are slowly moving away from strategies catering to creating awareness about their online stores and moving towards integrating m-commerce in their business strategy.  M-commerce can also be used as a method to enhance overall revenue and increase customer base.

Why is m-commerce important?

M-commerce is one of the major influencers that accelerate business growth. Here are some areas it plays an important role:

The positive impact of Increase in mobile sales

There is a steady increase in the number of mobile users. Now consumers surf the internet via their phones. This generates more than the traffic created with it on the web. The idea of purchasing something on the phone at a time and place of comfort, and having it delivered on the doorstep is a lucrative option for shoppers.

The mobile furthermore is a pocket-friendly device that is available 24/7 for any individual. Any necessity of shopping at any point in time can be satisfied with the mobile instead of hunting for a laptop or using a desktop. Overall, the increase in mobile sales creates a remarkable impact on online shopping which benefits the e-commerce sector.

Phones now have bigger screens - enhancing the shopping experience

Technology is constantly changing and enhancing, as is the competition. Bigger sized phones with larger screens have completely changed how people use mobile phones.

Online shopping is one of the major trends that are set by bigger screens. The comfort with large screens is recognized even with aged people as they can easily use the phone to view products or details easily without having to reach for their eyeglasses.

Innovations resulting in better business

There is a race to provide something new and exciting that the customers would use, ultimately enhancing the user experience. Due to this very race, many brands have started using various innovations as part of their marketing strategy enhancing the user experience.

Single Click Options
On e-commerce sites, buy buttons and checkout options are often the prominent features. With single clicks the site allows the user to complete the user journey fast and efficiently.

AI and Chatbots
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots are some of the latest technical integrations in the mobile phone for a better experience. AI voice assistants and chatbots bring in an ease of shopping. The tedious process of manually typing in product names, searches, address details can be eliminated - All of this, in the palm of the hand.

Capgemini's Unadkat stated that Artificial intelligence and chatbots will be a key area of focus for retailers in the coming years.​​​​​

Web pages and mobile apps are majorly used for online shopping

There are two main ways to reach the remote masses. One way is through mobile web pages, and the other through mobile apps. Both these methods have enhanced e-commerce experience for customers.

Mobile web pages
With a mobile web page, user data analysis becomes easy. Companies can understand and segregate the target customer and market. They can then, go ahead with the changes in the company portal.

Mobile Apps
Mobile apps are used widely by nearly all e-commerce dealers. They are considered more beneficial as the app customers are more loyal as they spare time and put in the effort to download the app. The chances of purchase from these users are very high.
Moreover, online retailers can avail the benefit of personalized communication with their users. Leveraging analytics and purchasing behavior, they can tailor make the promotions and send messages accordingly.

Push Notifications
Retailers use this feature to send updates to the customers for promotional offers. Many other such features have helped the online retailers get a greater grasp on customers.

Social Media Benefits

Social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have become a vital part of daily life. Every mobile app company has integrated social media features like share and like with their app and online portal. Mobile users prefer to keep everything from shopping to mobile apps handy. Within no time, they can share updates from online websites on social media.

Future of mobile commerce

More and more consumers are selecting mobiles as a medium to shop rather than laptops or desktops. M-commerce holds a lot of promise for the future.

Business Insider stated that 45% of e-commerce revenue will be coming from m-commerce, by the end of 2020.

While the e-commerce industry is expanding, mobile commerce is not far behind. The innovations will continue to drive the growth of m-commerce. Today, the tech innovations can be seen with the implementation of AR, VR, and wearables, but in the near future, m-commerce will drive innovation to reach new heights.

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