Artificial Intelligence is quickly taking over the ecommerce industry (and the internet as a whole).
It seems as though every website you visit has a chatbot or personal assistant. And more and more sights are taking advantage of this growing technology.
While some doomsayers are predicting AI could have a negative impact, replacing any number of jobs, most see the tool as an opportunity to help reach their customers in a personalized way.
Giant corporations are beginning to invest in the technology as well. In 2014, Google acquired British-based artificial intelligence company DeepMind for $500 million.
Of course, there is still room for improvement as far as gaining customer support. According to a Ubisend report, one out of five consumers is willing to buy from a chatbot while 40 percent of consumers use chatbots to look for deals and offers.
Given that the technology is still growing and there is still room to gain more customers through AI, it seems like a good time to start utilizing the technology.
But how does the average digital retailer use this technology and take advantage of what it has to offer? What ecommerce functions does AI help? Is there any limit?
- Customer-Centric Search Optimization
Artificial intelligence can be used to add visual search options to your site. If a shopper takes a picture of an item with their phone, AI can find similar products in your catalog based on color, shape, texter, and other variables.
Clothing companies or other businesses with extensive catalogs would benefit greatly from this technology.
Clarifai is one company that has been working to imrpove the visual aspect of ecommerce searches. The firm is trying to make it easier for developers to build apps that think about the world like humans do.
They believe this will give companies the ability to provide a better & personal experience to their customers.
Another common search problem is that shoppers often abandon their searches because the results displayed are often irrelevant.
Companies like Twiggle are tackling this by using natural language processing to narrow, contextualize, and improve search results for online shoppers.
- Abandoned Shopping Carts and Lead Generation
According to one report from Conversica, more than a third of marketers feel that only a quarter of their leads are being followed up.
A further 30 percent of marketers said that not enough attempts are being made to reach those leads or a salesperson isn’t reaching out soon enough.
What this means is that potential buyers are falling through the cracks while companies remain overburdened with customer data that they aren’t using. That’s a lot of potential money going to waste.
Many companies have found success by integrating a chatbot system into their shopping cart. Once it has been integrated into one of your carts, it can be used for any store based on the platform.
That means, the more shopping carts that your bot has access to, the more potential customers it has.
Artificial Intelligence-enabled chatbots can provide customer support through the sales funnel, helping cut down on abandoned carts. They can also be used to catalog potential leads and send automated, personalized messages to engage with any promising clients.
- Predictive Price Tags
There are a number of companies out there who are creating services aimed at adding a dynamic pricing layer to online stores.
Through a combination of data science and machine learning, the AI is able to understand user behavior and change the product price in real-time.
More advanced tools will take into account your competition’s pricing and general market demand.
Companies like Granify have tools that predict which buyers you may lose and then help you convert them to sales. If there is any hesitation detected, you can have customized messages displayed to the buyer.
Other companies like PriSync offer a price tracking and monitoring software. This helps save you time analyzing your competitors’ prices and offerings.
The technology monitors around 4.5 billion price points automatically and, at $50 per month, is affordable to just about any sized business.
- Marketing and Analysis
Artificial intelligence has become a game changer for industries and professionals. Marketing and analytics on the top. AI helps marketers gain insights into customers’ opinions and preferences. They can then use that information in a variety of ways.
Wacul-AI, for instance, connects directly to your Google Analytics and then offers you weekly and monthly reports.
It also provides simplified advice with predicted future outcomes based on analysis of the data it collects.
You can use these insights to build out your site and make it a more enjoyable experience for your customers, just as the site pictured above did.
- Virtual Assistants:
As we said earlier, the prevalence of virtual assistants on ecommerce sites is massive. They’re everywhere.
But there’s a reason they’re so omnipresent. They work.
After all, Siri, Google Now, and Alexa have basically become household names in recent years. And that’s because more and more people are trusting these robotic helpers.
As we stated earlier, there’s still some room to grow before people completely trust these tools, but the evolution of these virtual assistants has already been happening rapidly.
They work because these assistants use natural language processing and couple it with the machine’s ability to interpret what people are saying.
By taking advantage of this technology, you can ensure a more robust and user-friendly experience for anyone visiting your site.
Is There a Flipside?
To be fair, this is significantly less research available on where AI is falling short.
Most experts believe that whatever limitations exist come from the human side, rather than the machine side of the relationship. People are either afraid of the technology or have unrealistic perceptions of what it’s capable of.
Though, these beliefs don’t help solve any business solutions.
Other experts argue that we are becoming overly reliant on machine learning and big data approaches.
For example, despite the advantages of things like virtual assistants and chat bots, some companies have unrealistic expectations for what they’re capable of. They can provide answers to the most common questions, but they still aren’t capable of replacing humans in performing complex assignments.
What experts do agree on is that integrating AI into your e-commerce site really depends on the size of your business. Don’t just start using it because it’s trendy, make sure it’s useful to your business.
As Parry Malm, CEO of Phrasee, explained to Marketing AI Institute, “AI” isn’t much more than a buzzword.
“It’s a catch-all phrase for numerous application areas such as NLG, NLP, machine vision, machine learning, and so on,” he explained.
That means the lack of understanding surrounding AI is its main limitation.
Artificial Intelligence is still a relatively young technology. But it’s also a rapidly expanding one.
In a manner of years we’ve gone from science fiction to science fact as AI has been increasingly used to enhance nearly every aspect of the online shopping experience.
These tools are out there and available to any online retailer. But determining how to use the technology most effectively can be daunting.
By enhancing your shopping cart and search options, adding predictive pricing, bolstering your marketing and analytics game, and creating a virtual assistant, you can begin taking advantage of AI and start improving your customer engagement and generating more sales.
Roberto Garvin – I am Roberto, co-founder of Mofluid/Snewscms. It is absolutely amazing to see how technology continues to evolve, from email to browsers, search engines, mobile, AI and now blockchain. I am fortunate to witness it all. Really excited to see what’s next.