2024 Outlook – “Machine learning is driving personalisation.”

Insights from Rob Williams, CEO at Williams Commerce

We’ve had some interesting in-house discussions recently about the needs and experiences of our clients in 2023. They’ve given us food for thought about the ecommerce priorities for the coming year.

Ecommerce platforms

At Williams Commerce we’re platform agnostic, so we look carefully at our clients’ needs to create tailored solutions. In many cases we’re currently recommending updates to existing platforms rather than building new ones. That said, enhanced personalisation and more immersive online experiences offer significant benefits.

We’re not anticipating major shifts in what’s on offer from leaders like BigCommerce and Adobe Commerce for enterprise level clients. However, for those with complex and ambitious ecommerce plans this year they remain good choices.

Growing brands should take a closer look at Shopify which has improved
functionality, especially for B2B operations. Enhancements for payments, credit, inventory and bundles are worthy of consideration.

For brands where site speed and content are a top priority, composable headless ecommerce offers almost limitless possibilities. However, all this flexibility brings added complexity and cost, so it’s a carefully balanced choice.

Two people sat at a desk looking at business data on a tablet and pointing to this. Other data is printed out and placed onto the desk and data is visible on a desktop screen.
Person viewing clothes on a online store and holding a credit card to purchase.

Learning from buyer behaviour

People buying online are interested in reputation, trust, value and product quality as well as price. User experience (UX) is still a top priority. We’ve seen increased interest in faster page loads, frictionless journeys and accessibility. Enhancements like these aren’t just good for search engine optimisation, they also contribute to long-term brand loyalty.

Consumers often opted for better quality but more expensive purchases in 2023. As a result, the fashion sector, as well as those competing heavily on price, suffered. However, the leisure pound is strong, with buyers focusing on experience-led purchases which is perhaps a signal to ecommerce brands to leverage personalisation and optimise their onsite experience where possible. The shift towards experience-led purchasing meant many of our clients in the arts & cultural
sector did well.


With more product choices and consumers preferring high-quality products, decisions take longer. This makes outstanding personalisation a more important differentiating factor than ever.

We help our clients stay ahead of personalisation trends. Long term clients like John Smedley and Fine Food Specialists have improved conversion rates with personalisation tools like Klevu.

While artificial intelligence (AI) certainly stole the limelight last year the contribution of machine learning (ML) is often underestimated. Because ML learns from huge amounts of data in near real time, it can find patterns and create predictions. It has been improving ecommerce efficiency, automation and customer engagement for some time. Together ML and AI can deliver personalised customer support using apps like Klevu MOI or Gorgias.

As Google finally retires third-party cookies this year, finding creative personalisation solutions whilst respecting privacy is important. There’s a fine line between delivering relevant and useful content to customers and, frankly, becoming intrusive. Addressing that challenge is still a very human responsibility.

Person using a mobile to view trousers on an online store.
A female and male sat beside each other at a desk. The female is pointing to business data on a screen and male is looking at this.

Streamlined search

Figures show that conversion rates are higher for customers who search sites compared to those who browse. Simplified search solutions and automation are growing in popularity because they streamline online product discovery. This can now include page or product specific chatbots, for example. One thing is clear; all good customer experiences are underpinned by top-quality product data.



Ecommerce is changing; user journeys are becoming longer and more complex, inflation remains high, and AI is bringing a new wave of technology.

Multiple site visits before buying are common, especially for higher value purchases. However, price is far from the only factor. Understanding what drives conversions is key. Brand reputation, trust, value, and online reviews all have important roles to play, making personalisation one of this year’s priorities.

Buying preferences are changing as consumers make more considered purchases. Fast fashion, for example, is losing market traction due to concerns about its environmental impact. Immersive experience-led entertainment, travel and arts & culture are attracting any spending consumers can afford. Ecommerce companies must provide good quality content that addresses customer concerns and priorities.

In the B2B market many ecommerce operations are still all about administration rather than customer experiences. Long and complex procurement journeys can benefit from techniques we know in our consumer shopping journeys. For example, optimising the my-account section and leveraging repeat purchases are great next steps for many B2B ecommerce brands.

Overall, we expect organisations that prioritise customer experience and focus on personalisation and relationship building will enjoy success this year.

Find out how the Williams Commerce Consultancy Service can help to optimise and grow your ecommerce business in 2024. Get in touch today.


More Insights