New Paths to Discovery are Transforming e-Commerce

e-Commerce Shopping Convenience
Friday, September 22, 2023

The face of e-commerce is undergoing dramatic change due to two massive transformations in the industry. On one hand, Artificial Intelligence is making brands completely re-imagine how they help their customers shop. On the other, the rise of Retail Media Networks is transforming the digital marketing landscape.

The Emerging Wave of Conversational e-Commerce

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably tried, or at least heard about, emerging generative AI technologies like Chat GPT and Google Bard. These technologies use conversation models to turn search results into written content.

What you may not know, however, is that these generative AI protocols have APIs that allow you to use them to connect your own data with your customers in ways that were never possible before. That means you can integrate AI right into your website or application.

The potential for AI to impact how you help connect customers with your products isn’t limited to conversational text in your owned digital properties. Right now, it is possible to include your own chatbot in Google search results. And generative AI can create images or even videos to enhance your customers’ shopping experience.

To be successful with AI, however, you’ll first need to identify the right use case to turn innovation into competitive advantage. At Traction, we curate a community of over eighty-five brand leaders we call The Futureproof Project, that are collaborating to help one another successfully navigate these choppy waters. If you're interested in joining, .

Retail Media Networks are disrupting Performance Marketing

Just as AI can help you help your customers learn about your products, Retail Media Networks can help put your customers in front of customers as they shop.

People are actively shopping on sites like,,,, and many others. Retailers have hordes of data on these customers. Retail Media Networks simply enable you to use that data to put ads in front of them—either on their sites or, in some cases, across the web.

This is big business. In 2022, RMNs quickly grew to $40B in the U.S. alone and that number is set to more than double by 2026. That’s another $50B+ shifting to retail media. It is the equivalent of shopper marketing that has always taken on a huge slice of marketing budgets—circulars, promotions, end-cap displays and the like. According to Babs Rangaiah, a consultant at Traction that was formerly an executive at CPG giant Unilever, “We at times spent as much on shopper marketing as we did on advertising.”

Like, I said—a huge slice. Unilever spent nearly $8B on advertising in 2022.

With Facebook limiting targeting capabilities and cookies being deprecated, the role of RMNs to connect the dots between brands and customers will continue to be a critical media expense across a wide range of industries.

About the author
Adam Kleinberg

Adam Kleinberg is CEO and founding partner of Traction. He has written over 75 articles in publications like to AdAge, Adweek, Fast Company, Forbes, Mashable and Digiday.

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