Stores are, even now, bombarding us with Black Friday and Cyber Weekend deals, even for those in countries where Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated. The bombardment might seem indiscriminate; yet there’s a finesse to the way Black Friday deals target us, and it involves more than merely basic advertising.

Artificial intelligence has changed the way Black Friday works, with increasingly targeted ads and forecasted demand.

The demand to meet the customer halfway

Traditionally, Black Friday deals have involved customers going to stores in person. The name, in fact, even refers to the multiple accidents and deaths that have happened in traffic and in the business of the shopping day.

Yet nowadays, Black Friday deals are becoming more and more online, and they are lasting for the whole weekend. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have instead become ‘Cyber Weekend,’ where millions of people surge to a variety of sites to do their Christmas shopping, buy coveted items, and secure deals.

AI is helping us make this easier.

How could AI affect our Black Friday shopping experience?

AI allows us to streamline how and how fast we receive our products, because it can enable ease through data analysis and organization in supply chains. It also provides us with increased accessibility to things we want to see, as most ads use AI to recognise what we like and have searched and provides us with deals based on that.

On Black Friday, this could be the difference between making or not making a sale.

AI, despite being still in basic development, knows what we like, what we click on, and, generally, what we buy. It can then provide us with things that it knows we’ve liked or looked at before. While we might not be actively seeking out something to buy, this offering could push us into a purchase. According to Adthena, website traffic to online retailers increases up to 220% on Black Friday compared to an average day.

Is this a good or bad thing?

If abused, AI can become an annoyance, constantly bombarding you with ads of things you don’t want (but have looked at) or have already purchased.

To some extent, this can be avoided through advertisements that give you the option not to see them anymore: you tell the platform you don’t want to see this ad, and it won’t show it, or material similar to it, to you. The platform, such as in Facebook’s case, may also ask why you don’t want to see it, to avoid showing such content to you or others in the future.

Companies or platforms that give you no control over how much or what ads you are shown, and what data they take, compromise our personal boundaries. This is where AI-backed advertising can become a problem.

Nonetheless, AI is changing the way we consume, and for the better. This technology provides massive benefit to companies, and allows consumers to access deals they actually want to see. It also allows companies to more accurately forecast demand as well as streamline their supply chain processes, making receiving their product an overall more pleasant experience for consumers.

While we must be careful not to get carried away by it, and consider all targeted advertisements with caution, this is merely one application where AI is making our lives easier.

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