Artificial Intelligence(AI) is disrupting all spheres of our life. The constant need of businesses to get higher returns and provide great customer experience, is leading them to implement AI to have advantage over their competitors.
It is important for businesses to use AI as a proactive rather than a reactive tool. When we use our web analytics tool to identify the areas where things went wrong and try to fix them, it’s called reactive. But, if we use data and machine-learning algorithms to look for patterns in customer behavior and get actionable insights to reach our goal, that’s when we become proactive.
Some brands have already realized this. Tech giants such as Google and Microsoft is heavily investing into new AI initiatives. Google recently acquired the start-up DeepMind, the artificial intelligence company that specializes in algorithms and machine learning ,for £400m.
Others such as IBM, Facebook and Yahoo have also shown interest in developing their business through artificial intelligence.
A recent study by Business Insider suggests that as much as 85% of customer interactions will be managed without humans by 2020.
A good example of e-commerce innovation and utilization of AI is none other than the ecommerce giant: Amazon.
Uses of AI in Ecommerce:
1. Create focused search
It was found that consumers often abandon e-commerce sites because the product results displayed are irrelevant to them. To tackle this problem, many companies use natural language processors to narrow down, understand and improve customer search results.
Then there are companies which build mobile apps that ‘see the world like their customers do’, empowering them to develop a customer-centric experience through advanced image and video recognition.
2. Identify potential customers
According to Conversica, at least 33% of marketing leads are not followed up by the sales team. This means businesses are not able to target pre-qualified potential buyers as they are overloaded with unmanageable customer data, which they fail to analyze.
Businesses can take support of AI for facial recognition to capture customer dwell times in the physical store. This way, if a customer spends more time next to a specific product , then this information will be stored for further use. Customers can then receive special offers, based on their in-store dwell time.
3. Create more efficient sales process
No more do we depend upon the older way of scanning through Yelow Pages to pester potential clients through cold calling. Today customers are heavily influenced by different types of media from TV adverts to social media.
A strong sales message can be given to consumers at the right time on the right platform, by integrating AI into the CRM. The CRM system will answer customer queries, solve their problems and even identify new opportunities for the sales team.
4. Personalization across multiple devices
We all know how Amazon personalizes user experience. However, with advances in AI, new deep levels of personalization have started to penetrate the fast-growing e-commerce world.
AI based personalization makes use of the multi-channel approach. Here an AI engine sits on top of the many customer touch points and helps the business analyze how customers are interacting online. It continuously monitors all mediums, whether it is a mobile application, website, an email campaign etc, to create a universal customer view. This unified approach enables e-commerce companies to deliver a seamless customer experience across all platforms.
5. Provide a personal touch with chatbots
Many e-commerce retailers are going the extra mile in order to catch customer attention and one such approach being widely used is the application of ‘Chatbots’. Chatbots merge visual, vocal, written and predictive capabilities.
By definition, a chatbot is a computer program that is designed to simulate conversation with humans over the Internet.
In an online business, chatbots can automate order processes and act as an effective, low-cost customer service tool. It often happens that when consumers are browsing online, they are already logged into social platforms such as Facebook. A messenger Chatbot can be used to confirm orders from customers or to provide instant online support.
A chatbot can also be integrated into a shopping cart to work with all the stores it supports. The more shopping carts the chatbot supports, the more potential customers it has.
6. Build an ‘assortment intelligence’ tool
Customers often force retailers to change their pricing strategies. In order to retain customers, retailers are turning to assortment intelligence, a tool that provides valuable insights into competitors’ product assortments. Businesses can monitor their competitors’ product mix, and quickly adjust their own product-mix and pricing with high precision.
7. Bridge the gap between personalization and privacy
There is always a tradeoff between a user’s privacy and personalization.
Users generally like sharing their personal details, if they get something valuable in return.
In an ecommerce scenario, the AI enables retailers to provide outstanding experiences to the users throughout the day without them being physically browsing the e-commerce store.
8. Generate sales through wearables
Wearables like Apple Watch, FitBit and others have entered the e-commerce market and changing the dynamics. Wearables collect more data than the e-commerce platforms.
They can see what products user’s view, define their taste, and can instantly recommend personalized products.
9. Tackle fake reviews and counterfeit products
Consumers may be overwhelmed with a lot of advertising data they receive every day, which can delay their decision making. In such cases, word of mouth is invaluable. If a customer’s friend buys a product and finds it good, then the customer will end up buying the same product.
Many ecommerce sites including Amazon, encounter false or deceptive reviews and ratings about their products, that a customer would believe in.
Similarly, when browsing online, a user may find it difficult to identify a counterfeit product from a third-party seller. When he actually buys it and finds it defective, it can leave a negative impact on his mind about the brand.
AI can tackle both these situations. It can be used to combat fake product reviews and inflated star ratings and spot counterfeits, that can help businesses further.
Although the term ‘artificial’ implies something negative, in actual it allows businesses to provide a more personalized experience to their customers. AI makes it possible for e-commerce retailers to analyze millions of interactions every day and ultimately target offers down to a single customer. AI-driven applications are helping sellers to engage the right prospects with the right message at the right time.
There is evidence to suggest that new AI-driven platforms will be essential to e-commerce success in future.