Is Your Business Missing Out on E-Commerce Opportunities For Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

The e-commerce trend that took off during the pandemic is here to stay. That could benefit small businesses that have pivoted successfully to accommodate online sales and customer service as customers redefine their habits.

For a 12-month period starting in March 2020, Americans spent $844 billion online. According to Adobe's Digital Trends Report, for 2020, including pre-pandemic months, online spending rose 42 percent compared to 2019.

Online spending is expected to reach up to $930 billion this year. 

"We're looking at a year, this year, that Covid 19 has completely reshaped. One that has changed who, what, were, how, and how frequently, and every other aspect of how people engage in commerce on the internet," said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights, in a Forbes article by Joan Verdon, citing the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

The e-commerce report came from data and trends from Adobe Analytics, which analyzes visits to U.S. retail sites and more than 100 million Stock Keeping Units (SKUs).

"The pandemic boosted online spending by $183 billion over the past year, and it has permanently accelerated e-commerce, with Americans on track to spend $1 trillion online — a record amount — in 2022," writes Verdon in the Forbes article.

Why You Need to Stay 'Cognizant'

Are you staying "cognizant" of your customers' shopping habits and service needs in this post-Covid e-commerce environment?

"When a company is more cognizant, it knows more, so it can do more — for its customers, employees and owners," says Cognizant, a technology company that provides business consulting, information technology, and outsourcing services. "It's literally built to stay ahead of what's ahead."

Marketing pros recommend that businesses pinpoint areas of opportunity for artificial intelligence and analytics to stay ahead, thereby deepening the connection between their offerings and their customers.

"E-commerce represents one of the most promising applications of AI," says Peter Sheldon, senior director of strategy for Magento at Adobe. 

"For digital businesses, it has the potential to improve the shopping experience, simplify and streamline digital merchandising, and make fulfillment smarter and more efficient," he writes in a post for Adobe.

Global Ecommerce Sales To Hit $4.2 Trillion 

Using worldwide data for the first time in its Digital Economy Index report, Adobe predicted global e-commerce sales would reach $4.2 trillion this year, according to an April article by Verdon in Forbes. Of that spending amount, the report states, nearly one-quarter are U.S. consumers. 

"The changes we're seeing are things that are going to carry forward for generations," said Jason Woosley, vice president of commerce and developer experience at Adobe, in the post. "There's just too much momentum and durability."

The surge in e-commerce innovation has consumers expecting the continued conveniences now and for the foreseeable future.

Keeping Up with Analytics and AI

Customers have grown to expect some forms of AI-powered commerce, like personalized product recommendations and offers.

Small businesses should find what works for them. For example, look for AI-powered analytics tools like heatmaps to better understand what customers are doing on your website or mobile app - heatmap software can help you see where your visitors' interests lie.

Relying on cloud-based data and analytics solutions is anticipated to continue trending in this environment, says Jayant Prabhu, vice president of the Data, Analytics and AI unit at Wipro, a consulting firm specializing in intelligent and business processing technology.

"Cloud, data and analytics are not barriers to an intelligent enterprise; they are the only reliable path to becoming one," he writes in a Forbes Tech Council post.

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