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Ecommerce & Marketplaces Newsletter – Aug 18th, 2023

In this edition, our lead story looks at Platform Business Diagnostic, a comprehensive health check program for your online marketplace. It’s an analytical approach, employing the vast swathes of data your platform generates to provide insights into its performance. Digital Commerce 360 reports that Walmart’s U.S. ecommerce sales grew 24%, and international ecommerce grew 26%. Online sales remain one of the fastest-growing areas of Walmart’s business; they grew about four times as quickly as comparable in-store sales in the same period. CMSWire’s story looks at how advances in AI, especially ChatGPT, offer new opportunities for digital marketing leaders to drive growth and operational efficiencies in digital commerce. Pimberly’s technical blog looks at two of the most commonly confused systems; product data management (PDM) and product information management (PIM) software. While both are designed to improve data management and streamline operations, they serve different purposes, catering to distinct aspects of the product lifecycle. Algolia has some insights on managing ML models over time with appropriate use cases. While it may be easy to get started, maintaining, optimizing, and scaling AI over time takes a lot of work. Managing the lifecycle of machine learning models over time and across use cases is essential for long-term success. Read this and other great stories in this week’s edition.

Notable news from the past week

How Well Do You Know Your Own Marketplace?

With consumers spending more than $3.2 Trillion on online marketplaces in 2022 (DC 360) and more than 66% preferring sites with online marketplaces to those without (Mirakl), the popularity of the model has been well-proven. But the complexity of transforming from traditional ecommerce to a marketplace model has seen many operators struggle to completely leverage the massive amounts of data generated by such a multi-sided commerce ecosystem.Whether you’re dealing in products, services or both, understanding the dynamics of your platform is paramount. But the question remains: How well do you know your own marketplace?

Walmart Grew Ecommerce Sales 24% in Q2

Walmart Inc. announced Aug. 17 that U.S. online sales grew 24% for the fiscal 2024 second quarter ended July 28, 2023. International ecommerce sales grew 26%. Over the same period, comparable in-store sales grew more modestly, up 6.4%, excluding fuel. That’s above analyst expectations of 4.1% growth. Total revenue grew too, by 5.7% to $161.6 billion.Net revenue was up 6.6% for the first half of fiscal 2024 compared to the six month period last year, Walmart said. Revenue for the first half of the year reached $313.9 billion. Walmart ranks No. 2 in the Top 1000, Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of North America’s online retailers by web sales.

Harnessing AI: Top Use Cases for Digital Commerce

For digital commerce, AI adoption is nothing new. It’s been pivotal in digital commerce operations for several years, particularly for personalization and back-office operations. However, advances in AI for marketers, especially ChatGPT, offer new opportunities for digital marketing leaders to drive growth and operational efficiencies. It’s important for leaders to keep their ear to the ground when it comes to new AI use cases for digital commerce that can unlock growth opportunities or address operational challenges. According to Gartner research, 60% of marketing leaders are exploring or piloting AI across four key areas: making predictions, improving targeting, automating execution and optimizing the use of resources.

PDM vs PIM: The Key Differences

Technology provides essential systems to organize and handle product-related data throughout a product’s lifecycle. It automates time-consuming steps from conception through to the end user, maintaining consistency, enabling for collaboration, and creating audit trails for users. However, it can be difficult to understand what systems should be used and when. Two of the most commonly confused systems are product data management (PDM) and product information management (PIM) software. So, we aim to position PDM vs PIM to nail down the differences. While both are designed to improve data management and streamline operations, they serve different purposes, catering to distinct aspects of the product lifecycle.

AI At Scale: Managing ML Models Over Time & Across Use Cases

Just a few years ago it would have required considerable resources to build a new AI service from scratch. Of course, that’s all changed. Yet, this is just a very small first step: the actual challenge of running AI at scale is sustaining quality over time and variance. Managing the lifecycle of ML models over time and across use cases proves to be essential to the long term success of investments in AI. For specific tasks such as translating languages or answering questions, minimal knowledge of Python is all it takes to interact with powerful pre-trained ML models, easily found on repositories such as Hugging Face.

Beyond The Hype: MACH-Enabled AI For Search And Merchandising

In a few years, there will be two types of companies: those that have adopted artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and those that do not exist. Despite the hype around AI, we’re already seeing real and tangible benefits for businesses that choose to invest in it. What’s important is that organizations carefully consider the business outcomes they are trying to achieve and plan accordingly. Every approved project should have a direct, measurable impact on costs and revenue. Using AI at organizations can actually give time back to teams to allow them to spend more time on more creative and strategic work that brings real value.

How To Use An Empathy Map In The Design Process

Developing a strong sense of empathy can help you to truly understand the needs, fears, and desires of your users, customers, and clients. And when it comes to designing a great product, you must develop a deep understanding of the people who will use it. In this article, we’ll introduce you to a tool called an empathy map, and share how it can help you as a product designer learn about your end users, figure out what they care about, and help your products succeed. Empathy is the human ability to identify and understand another person’s situation, including the emotions that they are experiencing.


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