4 Generative AI Strategies Retailers Can Leverage for a Successful Holiday Season

4 Generative AI Strategies Retailers Can Leverage for a Successful Holiday Season

AI-powered commerce experiences will drive $194 billion in global online holiday spending this year.

The most successful retailers will use predictive and generative AI to set themselves apart from the competition to drive revenue because consumers won’t proactively look for ways to spend as they have in previous years. This means retailers need to supercharge discovery more than ever. If your customers won’t be coming to you, you need to find ways to get your products and services to them.

3 Generative AI Strategies Retailers Can Leverage for a Successful Holiday Season

According to the Meta Seasonal Holidays, customers will be using in-store (-4%), search (-17%), and store websites (-16%) less frequently as discovery channels during the upcoming holiday season. AI can innovatively advance businesses as the world navigates uncertain economic times, but only if they act before the shopping season starts.

While retailers are nervous by fears of ChatGPT providing biased or inaccurate results or jeopardizing data that these systems might expose, ecommerce leaders at OSF Digital believe embracing AI as a strategic tool can help amplify relevant offers to consumers, helping them explore shopping opportunities early and make informed purchase decisions when the perfect product comes their way.

“The pitfalls and shortcomings of AI are very controllable, and everyone is working on ensuring AI is not going rogue,” says Simion Petrov, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Ecommerce at OSF Digital. “As retailers gain experience with generative AI and vendors build technology into their systems to make it accessible, their fears will be addressed, and more visibility will be provided. The entry cost is affordable and will decrease over time.”

The National Retail Federation reports Levi Strauss & Co. is working with customized AI-generated models, American Eagle uses AI for inventory tracking, and Puma uses AI for personalized customer styling. Are you ready to improve engagement with your target audience, building higher customer loyalty with a more authentic brand image?

Strategy 1: Use Generative AI to Improve Your Product Discoverability

3 Generative AI Strategies Retailers Can Leverage for a Successful Holiday Season

Generative AI works to create new content from existing data—and it’s changing the way shoppers shop, allowing them to research products, get recommendations, and find inspiration.

The technology will influence holiday shopping spend as retailers use predictive and generative AI for operational efficiencies and personalized shopping experiences. Especially when it comes to improving the product discovery process, instead of using filters or keyword search, products can be discovered by replicating the in-store shopping experiences online when a sales association helps you discover the right products.

For example, you can write a search term such as “Show me all the medium dresses under $500 for an evening event.” Retailers are also using generative AI to create new content on the product detail page, such as a summary of the product reviews or the actual product details, optimizing pages. Large consumer brand manufacturers can quickly have product detail pages for thousands of SKUs by having generative AI create product page content. Without it, manually updating product pages isn’t achievable without generative AI.

Case in Point: EBay Inc. wanted to help sellers list items faster with fewer obstacles in their marketplace of more than a billion SKUs. Earlier this year, the marketplace built a tool based on Open AI that creates a product description based on sellers' data about a product category, condition, color, or brand. After a pilot, they received overwhelming positive seller feedback, and their customer satisfaction score jumped to 80%, among eBay’s highest CSAT scores for recent new feature launches.

Strategy 2: Use Generative AI to Improve Your Sales

Retailers use generative AI to create smoother, more personalized interactions by curating offers and enhancing online and in-store digital experiences. In Salesforce’s Connected Shoppers Report (Fifth Edition), 92% of retailers say they are investing in AI more than ever to improve shopping experiences, and nearly 60% of retailers say they are already using AI to help store associates make product recommendations to shoppers. More than half are creating a conversational digital shopping assistant to help shoppers find what they are looking for, creating personalized product bundles, and creating virtual models for product detail pages.

Case in Point: The National Retail Federation says Levi is experimenting with a small, controlled project on using AI-generated models to offer more diverse body types to learn more and determine whether we can enhance the overall consumer experience. Levi’s has just one model for each product on or its app.

The company says it's physically impossible to shoot every single product at every size at the SKU level, so this technology can potentially assist in creating supplemental images and unlocking a future where they can offer a more personal, relevant, and potentially more engaging shopping experience.

By some estimates, Levi says online apparel returns exceed 25%, with size and fit being the top reason for returns. Salesforce Research shows that 88% of retailers plan to implement stricter return policies for this holiday season. Still, retailers should consider simple and/or free returns are a top differentiator for shoppers.

Strategy 3: Use Generative AI to Jumpstart Content Creation

Salesforce Research shows retailers invest more in marketing channels like social media, video, influencer marketing, streaming, affiliate marketing, and search engine marketing. According to Salesforce Research, 58% of retailers use generative AI to produce creative assets for ads, emails, social media, and websites, and 39% are evaluating its potential use of generative AI.

AI not only automates campaigns and analyzes performance, comparing what works best, but allows businesses to segment customers effectively, including tailoring messaging depending on purchasing habits—allowing you to create content, offers, and recommendations that resonate better and convert with detailed precision. AI can also identify and target potential new customers interested in your product or services. Here are ten ways generative AI can be leveraged for content creation:

3 Generative AI Strategies Retailers Can Leverage for a Successful Holiday Season

  1. Text generation: Generative AI models can create high-quality written content, generating blog posts, articles, and product descriptions.
  2. Multilingual content: AI can translate content into multiple languages, making it easier to reach a global audience without manual translation.
  3. Content enhancement: Generative AI can improve existing content by suggesting edits, refining language, and making it more engaging. It can also help maintain consistency in tone and style across different pieces of content.
  4. Chatbots and virtual assistants: AI-powered chatbots and Vas can generate responses to customer inquiries, provide information, and even engage in natural language conversations.
  5. Video and image generation: AI can generate images, videos, and animations for product images and video advertisements.
  6. Content personalization: AI can analyze user behavior and preferences to deliver personalized content recommendations, enhancing user engagement and retention.
  7. Social media content: AI can generate social media posts, hashtags, and captions, recommending the best times to post for maximum engagement.
  8. Content curation: AI algorithms can curate content from various sources, helping creators find relevant articles, images, and videos to share or reference in their work.
  9. Automated transcription and subtitling: AI can transcribe spoken content in audio or video files and generate subtitles, making content accessible to a wider audience and improving SEO.
  10. Content metrics and analytics: AI can analyze content performance, providing insights into what works and doesn’t. This data can inform future content creation strategies.

Case in Point: Amazon has pioneered using AI for product recommendations and supply chain optimization, which affects content creation and marketing. Alibaba has also invested in AI for various retail applications, including product recommendations and personalized shopping experiences. Sephora has explored using AI chatbots and virtual try-on tools, which involve generative AI to simulate makeup looks on customers. The North Face uses AI-powered chatbots to engage with customers and provide information about products and activities based on user preferences.

Strategy 4: Use Generative AI to Accelerate Software Development

AI doesn’t just help sales and content; it also helps increase productivity to accelerate software development for retailers. OSF Digital has been developing and using AI tools since 2018. As Salesforce’s only AI-powered partner, they offer customers AI experts, experience, and tools. In their own experience of using AllAi, they have found that their developers are writing 42% more lines of code, closing 40% more tickets monthly, and spending 11% less time on assignments.

“With a suite of AI tools, AllAi enhances human capabilities, empowering developers to increase efficiency and accelerate time to market. By spending more time building and less time fixing, retailers can achieve a faster time to value and a lower total cost of ownership,” says Gerard Szatvanyi, CEO of OSF Digital.

LEARN MORE: OSF Digital is the only AI-powered Salesforce partner helping to develop and implement AI solutions.

Simion Petrov

Author: Simion Petrov, SVP of Innovation and Industries

Simion began his career at OSF in 2007 when he entered the internship program as a software developer and quickly ascended within the company holding roles as a team leader and project manager. From 2013 to 2018, Simion established and optimized the company's commerce division, growing the group to over 400 people who delivered over 200 projects, making OSF Digital one of Salesforce’s top ecommerce partners. He has created new local structures designed to support the company's rapid growth in APAC and LATAM while at the same time, worked on innovation of the company's processes, best practices, and products including the creation of the OSF Product Labs program.