6 Examples of Ecommerce Innovation That Don’t Use AI


AI is everywhere these days, and many want you to believe that if you don’t catch the wave, your competitors will leave your business behind. This is especially prevalent in ecommerce. 

And yes, many of these AI-powered innovations can help your business thrive—but they aren’t the only show in town. 

There are still many non-AI ecommerce solutions you can incorporate on your ecommerce site to build a better shopping experience. The solutions are savvy, elegant, and effective—and they also cost far less to deploy. 

Below are some of our favorites and the companies that use them well. 

Shein Captures Subjective Sizing

Love it or hate it, Shein’s low-cost, fast-fashion approach to online retail has made it a global powerhouse in ecommerce. The site sells almost everything, including clothing, shoes, electronics, home decor, appliances, and more.

But where Shein really delivers value to its customers (aside from its bargains) is how it makes online clothing shopping more reliable and relatable. 

For example, as anyone who’s ever bought clothes online knows, one of the biggest pain points is figuring out the correct size—because a medium in one brand might be a small or a large in another. When you can’t physically try on an item to see how it fits, you just have to roll the dice.  

Shein understands this and takes the guesswork out of sizing through its customer review system. Customers who have already purchased an item are invited to leave specific feedback about how it fits.

Shein customer reviews page

Reviewers can report that their fit was too small, true to size, or too large. Cumulative responses are shown in graphical and percentage formats in the box at the top of the review section for each item. This gives prospective buyers insight as to how a specific item is likely to fit.

Shein also goes a step further by including information about the size the person purchased. This gives shoppers a much better idea of a given fit, and reviewers can even add photos so that shoppers can see pictures of the item on real people with similar body shapes.

This approach is a good way to boost online shopper confidence and reduce the disappointment of trying on the item at home only to discover it doesn’t fit. As a result, customer satisfaction goes up and Shein’s bottom line is positively impacted by fewer hesitant purchasers and a lower likelihood of returns. 

Warby Parker Elevates At-Home Shopping

Once upon a time, anyone who needed new prescription eyeglasses had to visit an optometrist’s office and choose frames from whatever selection they had on display. In other words, choices were very limited. 

Those days are over.

Warby Parker brought an innovative model of eyeglass shopping to the retail public with its mixture of brick-and-mortar shops and an elevated online shopping experience. 

Today, you can walk into any of Warby Parker’s more than 250 stores across the U.S. and try on hundreds of frames at your own pace. There are clerks there to answer questions and offer advice, but you can also browse without interruptions. 

Of course, if you’re not anywhere close to a retail store or if you prefer shopping for new glasses in your pajamas at home, you can do that, too. Warby Parker’s Home Try-On program lets you have up to five pairs of frames delivered to you that you can try on for free. This makes it easy to find the perfect frames at your own pace with zero pressure.

Warby Parker home try-on

Here’s how it works: You go to the Warby Parker website and choose five frames you like from the curated At Home Collection. If you’re not sure what to pick, there’s an online quiz to help narrow down the options.

Warby Parker then ships you the frames, and you have five days to try them on at home. When you’re done, you send all the frames back using a free return label. You can then order glasses at any time thereafter. As long as you aren’t in a hurry, this solves all of the problems of purchasing glasses online without being able to try them on first. 

Amazon Offers One-Click Checkout

Abandoned carts are a real concern for ecommerce retailers. It doesn’t matter how flashy your site is or how appealing your offers are. If a shopper fills their cart but leaves your site before purchasing anything, then you lose a potential sale. Some industry experts estimate that abandoned carts cost the ecommerce industry billions in lost sales each year.

Amazon knows this and was one of the first ecommerce retailers to incorporate technology to mitigate abandoned carts. The site’s Buy Now button allows shoppers to purchase a product with a single click. No filling the cart, no time to waffle about the purchase. 

When a shopper selects the Buy Now button, Amazon prepares the order based on the user’s saved payment method and delivery address. The shopper does not need to do anything else, they simply wait for their package to arrive.

Amazon product listing for stained glass light bulb

Amazon’s version of one-click checkout helps avoid the dreaded abandoned cart scenario by removing the cart altogether. This is great for sales, but it’s also beneficial to the online shopper. After all, if they know they want something, they can quickly tick that item off their shopping list with a single tap on the screen.

Of course, not every shopper likes this option, and it also adds the risk of buying something accidentally. To avoid this scenario and maintain customer satisfaction, Amazon includes the ability to turn this feature off at the browser, device, or account level.

This ability to pick and choose is a really important part of Amazon’s one-click program. It allows shoppers to fine-tune their own shopping experience on the site.

Newegg Accepts Cryptocurrency

Meeting customers where they are is an important part of ecommerce success. Even if they aren’t quite as mainstream as cold, hard cash, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Newegg is one site that really understands this—possibly because a lot of its inventory is purchased and used in the crypto-mining community. Either way, Newegg goes out of its way to cater to cryptocurrency users. 

Newegg checkout featuring BitPay option

Shoppers like having options, especially when it comes to payments. The more payment options you offer, the more likely it will be you’ll see higher rates for completed sales. Adding cryptocurrency as a payment option makes shopping on your site easier for consumers, especially those who prefer alternate forms of payment.

But it isn’t just about the customer. Here are two ways that ecommerce retailers stand to benefit from cryptocurrency payments:

  • Lower transaction fees—Cryptocurrency doesn’t incur any transaction fees, although the payment gateway processor will charge a one percent fee. Still, this is lower than typical credit card processors that charge between 3-4 percent per transaction.
  • No chargebacks—Crypto is similar to cash in that all transactions are final. This means the refund/return process is up to the retailer’s discretion, unlike with credit cards, where chargebacks can happen at any time. 

Adding cryptocurrency to your ecommerce site can be as simple as leveraging the existing tools on your ecommerce platform. 

Patagonia Makes Sustainable Shopping Cool

Shoppers today have more on their minds when buying things than just acquiring something new. They want to feel good about their purchases and do their part for the planet.

Patagonia has long been recognized for its environmental commitment and activism. So it is no surprise that the company is putting this ethos into action on its ecommerce site. For example, the company’s Worn Wear program is a great example of making sustainability easy for shoppers to adopt.

Patagonia homepage

Patagonia believes that buying used clothing can cut carbon, waste, and water use by up to 30 percent per item. Its Worn Wear website notes that, per the US Environmental Protection Agency, 85 percent of clothing ends up in landfills or incinerated each year. This program is one way to reduce that number.

Patagonia Worn Wear offers gently used women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing at prices that are usually half of the original retail price. The company extends its Ironclad Guarantee to items purchased from the Worn Wear site, luggage items included. 

Existing Patagonia customers can also trade in their used clothing and receive up to a $100 Worn Wear credit per item.

This program shows that Patagonia is committed to sustainability, environmental preservation, and protection. In other words, it isn’t just slick marketing speak, and that strengthens brand loyalty with consumers who care about the same things. 

Social Media Platforms Innovate Social Shopping

Scrolling social media is an ingrained part of society at this point, so it is no surprise that many ecommerce sites have taken advantage of Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to boost their sales.

Influencer marketing started more than a decade ago. Brands would send a celebrity with a big following free merchandise in hopes that they’d mention it in a post so that their followers would buy their products. Today’s influencer marketing has evolved into an industry that looks almost nothing like its earlier iterations. 

But brands have evolved, too. Now, ecommerce brands can bypass influencers altogether by going straight to consumers with selling tools like Instagram Shopping.

Gap Instagram Shopping

Selling like this is easy to do if you’re an ecommerce brand. Just add product tags to the images you share and users can tap on the image to get a link to buy the product. You can choose to let shoppers checkout directly on Instagram or send them to your website to complete a purchase.

You can do the same with TikTok Shop and Facebook Shop. 

Using any or all of these channels gives your ecommerce shop another selling opportunity, which can boost sales. It also minimizes barriers for buyers—especially those who might discover your brand while scrolling their feeds. These users can browse your products and complete a purchase with just a few taps, having never left the social platform at all.

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