A cosmetics brand in Taiwan has announced how it used digitalization to circumnavigate recent lockdowns to boost sales online.

The next time you go e-shopping and hesitate about purchasing a particular item, the e-commerce platform’s AI bots may notice your reluctance and try to sweeten the deal for you.

That is what one cosmetics and skin-care brand used to successfully increase conversion rates by 47%, add-to-cart ratios by 28%, and transaction completion rates by 15%.

By implementing AI and machine learning, the watashi+ online-merge-offline (OMO) shopping platform by Shiseido Taiwan Group was able to introduce timely and exclusive promotional coupons to communicate with hesitant buyers individually.

Specifically, the firm incorporates the following three strategies:

  • Using ML to differentiate old and new hesitant buyers:To increase the website’s conversion rate, the website back end focuses on new members and current members with a purchase history, using machine learning to differentiate visitors that are more likely to be stimulated by coupons as an enticement to complete a purchase.
  • Using exclusive face masks as differentiating rewards: To prevent price differences with physical stores while ensuring overall profit, watashi+ uses exclusive face masks as a reward for orders over $888 NTD (Approx. US$30 to increase conversion rates.
  • Accelerating transactions with limited-time offers: A gift-with-purchase offer limited to 30 minutes has successfully prompted hesitant buyers to reach the designated order value, increasing orders completed within 15 minutes by 13%, and orders completed within 15–30 minutes by 36%. Orders that reached the designated value increased by 61%.

The firm implemented the strategies through extended collaborations with an AI-as-a-Service firm, Appier, to tap into digital technology to meet the evolving needs of consumers affected by the pandemic.

What constitutes hesitancy?

Through analytics, Appier had observed that 2pm – 3pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays showed peaks in ‘hesitant’ customer transactions. The analytics also found different hesitancy characteristics between desktop and mobile users

In desktop users, hesitant characteristics include: average mouse clicks of fewer than eight times; logging in and visiting the home page, visiting the website throughout weekdays, browsing through over seven pages of products and adding products to their shopping cart.

Among mobile users, hesitant characteristics include: scrolling through fewer than 3,000 pixels of a page; new visitors visiting the home page, and browsing through three to four pages and adding products to their shopping cart. These characteristics are all unidentifiable with traditional marketing tools. 

According to Rita Chen, Assistant Department Manager of the firm’s Corporate Marketing Dept: “With the recent resurgence of infections in Taiwan, physical stores bore the brunt. As the market began fighting a promotional war to attract consumers, Shiseido acknowledged that only a deeper understanding of consumers’ decision-making processes can sustain brand influence. In response to future states of the pandemic, we will work with Appier to strengthen our digital marketing to allow customers to easily shop for beauty products that are suitable and authentic, without leaving home.”