E-commerce is massive. In fact, it’s one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. According to Statista, it’s expected to reach a market value of $6.5 trillion by 2023.
That’s nuts, right? There are more customers than ever to acquire because of this. But, the industry’s growth also means more competition and work to do.
One of the best ways to automate processes, save time, and scale effortlessly while you juggle the millions of tasks running an e-commerce business is via anomaly detection.
This branch of AI alerts marketers of opportunities and risks the human eye commonly misses. Store owners can pounce on these while getting back to what matters: acquiring customers, nurturing relationships with wholesalers, etc.
I’m going to show you three practical ways e-commerce companies benefit from anomaly detection to grow with fewer obstacles.
1. Product popularity
You may have a single product. You may have ten. You may have hundreds to thousands or more.
The more products you sell, the more complicated everything becomes with an e-commerce company—one of which is deciding which products should get the most attention through features and promotions.
Anomaly detection comes into the picture by learning the normal behaviour of product sales to alert you of spikes. These can be investigated to determine why a product is over or under-performing.
Here’s a simple visualization to understand:
Imagine the middle line is average or expected sales. Anything under that in orange would be a minor negative anomaly and red would be major. Green, on the other hand, would be a positive anomaly because it’s performing above average.
This information is then used to promote higher converting products to boost revenue while placing the less popular products on the backburner for further investigation.
Additionally, certain items can be used for upselling and cross-selling that are the most likely to convert.
2. Seasonal behaviour
Some products are seasonal. They only tend to sell for a short period of time while they have a purpose. Snowblowers are a good example. Nobody is buying one during the summer when they’re focusing on their tan.
Others are much more subtle. You might build a company off of a single type of product, only to find out it isn’t purchased year-round.
Revenue and performance dip before you know it, and you’re scrambling for a fix.
Anomaly detection discovers these drop-offs in product performance during certain hours, days, weeks, or months.
This information is used to determine if a product is worth promoting during certain seasons and if others need to be introduced to make up for the loss of sales.
Think of Starbucks, for example. Even if you’re a Tim Hortons kind of person, you have to admire their product strategy. They have their baseline coffees and teas but introduce seasonal items during holidays because they perform better during those times.
3. Inventory management
Inventory management is easily one of the most time-consuming and headache-inducing parts of e-commerce. I’m talking about handling stock levels, SKUs, logistics, and related processes.
You’re constantly restocking items, dealing with returns and refunds, and making sure the store’s backend is streamlined. Not doing so affects the customer as they may not be able to purchase a product or receive it late.
And, those are some of the top reasons for abandonment during checkout.
Anomaly detection is capable of alerting marketers of low inventory, predicting when more stock will be needed and allows companies to investigate things like shipping errors.
Ultimate a retailer will improve its supply chain management, inventory, shipping, and customer experience with this kind of data.
Anomaly detection is a very underrated and underused technology in e-commerce. It might be what puts you ahead of competitors and helps you scale quicker.
Outside of what I mentioned today, anomaly detection software has so many more uses for online stores: optimizing marketing campaigns to generate more sales, tightening security, etc.
Want to see what anomaly detection can do to help you grow your company faster and with fewer headaches? Try Morphio today for free!