By Jan Haderka

As e-commerce occupies an increasingly important role for businesses of all sizes, the challenge becomes how to emerge from beneath Amazon’s shadow.

During 2018’s holiday shopping rush, the e-commerce giant broke its own record for customer orders. At the same time, the holiday season did little to embolden traditional retailers like Macy’s, which posted subpar November and December sales numbers. For small businesses, Amazon’s indomitable momentum coupled with the lagging performance of traditional brick-and-mortar enterprises affirms just how important it is to have a sophisticated e-commerce presence.

Building that presence is about creating a personalized user experience. The reason Amazon leaves its competitors in the dust is because it offers the most personalized buying experience online. Drawing on a vast repository of customer behavior information, Amazon channels data into intelligence to provide a singularly individualized experience.

Small businesses can’t keep pace with Amazon on the customer behavior analysis front. But through web content management, they can provide their online shoppers with the more personalized experience they seek.

For small businesses, having an effective content management system (CMS) is critical to delivering a competitive customer experience. And now, there’s an important development within the CMS realm: The growing integration of AI.

How AI will evolve CMS  

According to a Gartner projection, AI will find its way into all new software products by 2020, and CMS products are no exception.

Within the next two years, we can expect to see AI technologies play an increasingly transformative role in reshaping CMS platforms, and as a result, fundamentally evolve the way that retailers interact with and sell to their customers online. Here are a few aspects of CMS that we can expect AI technology to significantly impact over the next couple years:

  • Audience segmentation: Segmenting audiences is a key part of designing an individualized user experience. However, traditional methods of audience segmentation are time-consuming and involve manually delineating user personas and manually building out journey maps. Yet, with advances in AI-driven CMS, the process of audience segmentation will evolve into a less onerous and more streamlined function — and one capable of yielding more granular audience segments as well.
  • Tagging: Like audience segmentation, image tagging is traditionally known as a burdensome manual task. But with advances in AI, CMS platforms will increasingly be able to offer users solutions that augment and automate tagging-related tasks, such as content tag mining.
  • Testing: Designing a successful e-commerce user experience involves continuous trial and error. The process of testing requires tracking how users interface with your site to determine areas of optimal and suboptimal engagement. Again, this is a process that can often become protracted when carried out manually. But the evolution of AI-powered CMS platforms is reshaping testing, opening up the possibility of automatic adjustments driven by real-time analytics.

As small businesses continue to build out their e-commerce presence, they should consider the opportunity in AI-driven CMS platforms. For them, the key will be to take a careful approach to selecting a CMS provider. CMS platforms that offer flexibility, easy integrations with others apps and an intuitive user interface are best-positioned to meet the AI-driven evolution of the CMS space, and small businesses should look for providers that check these boxes.

Jan Haderkaef is the Technology Officer at Magnolia CMS.

Content stock photo by Rafal Olechowski/Shutterstock