Predictive models: currently imperfect – but packed with potential - Myk Baxter Marketing

True, predictive models and the intelligent predictive analytics behind them have been around for quite some time. Their uptake into the eCommerce world has been slow but, as we approach 2020, we’re arriving at the decade in which predictive models are expected to really take off.

With Big Data doing its thing, more affordable and less complicated solutions are beginning to take shape – and it could be an utter game changer in the first 20’s of the 21st century.

Where we are right now

We already have some incredible insights into shopping behaviour, as eCommerce analytics collect and analyse online purchase activities on our websites and eCommerce platforms. From here, we can establish the products being purchased, make use of key takeaways such as average order value, conversion rates, time taken to commit to a purchase, and more.

And outside of eCommerce itself (at least for now), almost everyone has their own trusty digital assistant on hand in the form of Siri, Cortana, and Google, consistently monitoring behaviour and recording data.

Over the next few years then, while both eCommerce analytics and digital assistants become ever smarter, one of the biggest changes currently anticipated is when the two join forces – and the incredible cognitive ability of AI meets the astonishing potential of eCommerce.

…and where we’re headed

Regardless of how soon Siri, or some other variation of a digital assistant, integrates successfully with eCommerce platforms, the opportunity for businesses to take personalised product recommendations on to a new level in the next few years remains. Predictive analytics will become so effective that business models leveraging their power will be able to do so far more, and far quicker, than ever before possible.

This certainly means better targeted recommendations and price promotions – but even, eventually, fully curated customer shopping experiences for eCommerce platform visitors. This means not just a well-intentioned shot in the dark at giving a customer exactly what they may be looking for, but putting together entire packages that meet their needs in real-time.

The impact on the customer

This is where things could become tricky though. While many customers will be happy to let a digital assistant recommend and promote at will, many others may prefer to retain control over their eCommerce experience. Plus, there are always going to be some products, such as everyday shopping items, and variations of repeat purchases, that suit the digital assistant model more than others.

So, while eCommerce agencies and marketers will certainly be able to utilise the opportunities of digital assistants as they become more and more sophisticated, there will still be a balance to find between satisfying customers with different preferences. However, that these astonishingly smart digital platforms will eventually be available to buy white-label, implementation and affordability certainly won’t be a problem.

The impact on the eCommerce marketer

Although predictive analytics will allow us to do more, and do it quicker, it would be slightly incorrect to say that the role becomes easier. A better way to look at this would be to say that there will be far more opportunities coming our way. As machine learning capabilities continue to advance, you’ll understand more clearly – and certainly more quickly – what your customers are most likely to pay.

But the predictive analytics won’t stop there – we’ll also see more accurate forecasts in supply chain management too. This will include, but not be limited to planning, sourcing, delivery and returns – in addition to the more efficient use of warehouse space, and enhanced stock management.

Ultimately though, across eCommerce a clearer understanding of consumers will inevitably lead to a better, more intelligent business model. There will still be a necessity for human intervention and scrutiny, to highlight when the learning element of ‘machine learning’ has gone awry, but the future looks tantalisingly bright for predictive eCommerce models nonetheless.

Back to the present day, though. If you’re looking for the ultimate in today’s eCommerce platforms, and want to see what today’s analytics can do for your business right now – get in touch by calling 07572 236 086.

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“Myk Baxter Marketing” is a trading style of MBM UK, a company registered in England and Wales and whose registered office is situated at Mill House, Railway Road, Ilkley, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS29 8HT