Gaining an understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) and putting it to use is of utmost importance when your goal is winning the eCommerce game.
It’s not a question of whether or not your competitors may or may not use AI–many of them already use it. You risk falling behind if you don’t start putting it to use within your business.
The proliferation of AI in eCommerce began a few years ago, and its impact on businesses of all kinds continues to grow. In this article, you’ll learn what AI is all about and how to implement it to drive results.
Artificial Intelligence Explained
In a nutshell, artificial intelligence is the act of simulating human intelligence with machines. Computers get programmed to react, think, and even use similar intuition as we do.
Used in the context of business and marketing, AI helps humans gather an immense amount of data and make sense of it all. Say you want to gather customer data from your website’s customer feedback forms. AI can organize and deliver that information in a way that makes it simple, so you can make product adjustments if needed.
One way to use AI is through the process known as machine learning, which helps AI technology become “smarter” over time. This technology is what allows Amazon or Hulu to provide personalized recommendations to you on your phone.
Machine learning also optimizes your paid ad campaigns by figuring out which customer profiles to stop showing ads to, as it searches for more qualified profiles to place ads for…
Role of AI in the eCommerce Space
Let’s look at the various ways you can use AI to increase eCommerce sales.
Adjusting prices manually for 100, 500, or 1,000 products can quickly become a full-time job. No one has time for that. Using AI, you can use various data points to adjust prices across your entire inventory of products.
The machine learning process looks at customer behavior, market conditions, capacity, and inventory data to adjust prices dynamically. All of it happens in real-time without your direct involvement.
By monitoring the needs and preferences of each user, AI improves the experience for customers searching for their product desires on your website. Your customers get tailored results as they continue to search, buy, and interact with your website.
The artificial intelligence process learns more about each customer over time. It comes to recognize and predict what they want seamlessly behind the scenes. This improves the customer experience and increases website interaction. Utilizing optimized search can help your business become more profitable, as customers continually enjoy shopping with you.
Have you noticed how the more successful your eCommerce business becomes, the more repetitive tasks become? AI can manage this repetition for you, leaving you with more time to focus on the more rewarding aspects of your company.
Use AI to help:
- Identify high-risk customers
- Provide loyal customers special discounts
- Publish new products across multiple platforms
With millions of data points running through databases, manually identifying signs of fraud can be challenging. Think of situations where someone:
- Uses stolen credit information
- Signs up many times to use a promotional code
- Asks for a return after product delivery
- Tests multiple card details until the sale goes through
It’s difficult to manually keep track of the signs indicating these and other types of fraud. AI can rank transactions and recognize potential fraud to quickly and automatically block con artists using a detection and analysis algorithm. From there, a member of your team can review for accuracy.
Using AI chatbots, you can automate some aspects of the customer service journey. This technology helps customers in real-time by answering questions or overcoming challenges.
In the past, these situations would have typically resulted in losing the sale. For example, a customer can start chatting with an AI bot on your website the moment they’re becoming frustrated with something.
The chatbot may easily direct them through the correct steps and solve the issue. Or, the system will automatically connect the customer with a live customer service representative within seconds to solve problems that require additional human interaction.
This type of customer service offering increases sales while improving the overall user experience.
In today’s online shopping environment, customers expect a more personalized experience. AI picks up on the habits and preferences of each customer in real-time. It recognizes repeat visitors, remembers past buying behaviors, and delivers product recommendations that each specific person finds attractive.
As you get comfortable incorporating AI into your processes, it’s possible to connect multiple systems so that your customers experience personalization throughout every stage of your sales funnel.
How this can work in a real-world scenario is starting with your paid ad campaigns. A customer lands on your website and sees personalized product recommendations as well as prices tailored to their buying habits. Your email system then picks up on the personalization game by sending targeted messages with recommended content or product upsells. It’s a win-win for everyone.
AI quickly collects, analyzes, and categorizes data across your website by constantly looking at each visitor’s browsing and buying habits. The technology keeps track of how customers interact with each product page, how they add and subtract cart items, where they get stuck at checkout and other conditions that may lead to successful sales or cart abandonment.
The machine learning aspect of this process constantly maximizes opportunities to deliver customized buying experiences to each individual on your website.
This type of predictive marketing optimizes what to show customers in ways they want to see it and suggests the best price points for each product. Generally speaking, the longer you let the AI-powered tests run, the more accurately you will predict lead flow and sales conversions.
Social media conversations occur constantly. Wouldn’t you love to gain the ability to gather every single mention of your company or product line across the various social platforms? Imagine how much you might learn if you could analyze what’s said about your business on channels like Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, or Pinterest.
AI allows you to track conversations and mentions related to your brand across all social media channels. You can then analyze this data to discover opportunities to adjust your marketing in ways that more effectively match what customers want.
This isn’t a monitoring process. Instead, the AI technology listens in and gives you critical insights on your audience.
Emerging AI Trends
Demand forecasting combined with artificial intelligence has been gaining traction in recent years. Although people have used this process of predicting future demand for products for years, AI has worked towards increasing the accuracy of these predictions.
There are many benefits of using AI to turn your demand forecasts into usable data. For instance, understanding the future behavior and demands of customers can help you reduce financial risk when setting your budget. Incorporated with AI technology, you will get a more clear picture of how much inventory to invest in when launching a new product.
Getting ahead of product demand using this type of forecasting also gives you the ability to provide your customers with the products they want as their tastes change. While your competitors continue selling outdated product options, you can position yourself as an early adopter and gain a competitive advantage.
While augmented reality is in use already, it’s one of those AI technologies that will continue to trend upward as more brands adopt it. Augmented reality (AR) gives you the opportunity to offer customers a more vivid experience with your product through a virtual tour that brings them closer to feeling as though they’re already using your product.
AR lets you use visual effects, virtual objects, and captions to provide an engaging experience. Say you manage an online retail store. Using AR allows you to bring customers into a virtual dressing room environment where they can virtually try on glasses, footwear, or articles of clothing.
Similarly, a gym eCommerce store might use AR to help customers virtually see their workout space or store that could entice them to use your facility.
Remember, artificial intelligence and machine learning have the ability to collect enormous amounts of data. It is called Big Data, and very few eCommerce companies use it correctly. As this becomes more normalized, you’ll hear more about how to use this kind of data to learn more about different eCommerce areas such as product, action, and behavior.
With the help of AI, you can take large amounts of data, organize it, and then use it to solve problems that might be preventing your company from converting more sales. This type of AI technology works to attract new customers into your sales funnel, improve customer experience, and increase overall sales volume.
Another use case for collecting and analyzing Big Data is to gain more understanding around your company’s strengths and weaknesses. As well as decreasing abandoned cart situations and seeing how customers react to sales copy or product images.
Big brands like Amazon use product recommendations and it’s an emerging trend for smaller brands as more companies decide to invest in AI.
Don’t get left behind when it comes to product recommendation solutions. The more you can help customers see additional options that fit their detailed customer profiles, the more you can expect to see greater profits.
The majority of business owners know the value of using customer relationship management (CRM) systems to keep track of customer information. Your CRM helps customer service reps see each customer at a glance so that they can seamlessly provide a unique and personalized experience.
AI lets you get a bird’s-eye view of customer profiles much faster and more efficiently. Machine learning helps the technology use CRM data to reach out to customers at the correct times to generate repeat sales. It also knows each customer’s preferred method of contact, whether that’s via email or social media chats.
Automated Product Tagging
Artificial intelligence is increasingly used to add product tags to help with the cataloging process automatically. A human can simply approve the tags as AI does the arduous decision-making process for you. Using this AI feature is an integral part of quickly implementing tags to provide improved customer experiences, display targeted recommendations, and make use of visual or text product searches.
Visual search isn’t yet as accurate as using the text search functionality. However, improvements continue to occur in this field as ASOS, Kiddle, and Google make advancements with it. The artificial intelligence algorithm used for visual search requires vast amounts of data to work correctly. It then must select the correct option from collections that include millions of images. A great way for you to stay on top of this trend is to optimize your website’s search feature to include additional image search query results to visitors eventually.
Customer Behavior Insights
Although AI already helps improve the overall customer experience across many eCommerce websites today, advancements in how to gather customer behavior insights are ongoing.
Gaining additional customer behavior data can help your eCommerce company more accurately predict future customer buying decisions. Use AI to monitor website traffic, analyze how user-friendly each product page is, and where to make fixes.
Do the same with customer question and answer sessions using chatbots and gain insight into how customers engage with email messaging. Machine learning can progressively become more effective with determining how customers engage with product pages, webpages they navigate to more often, and how they generally enjoy using your site.
We mentioned social listening above. An emerging trend in eCommerce is advancing the way AI listens for brand mentions across all web entities.
You can use artificial intelligence to more effectively automate the process for reputation management and brand monitoring by expanding into online review websites, for example. AI can analyze negative, neutral, and positive reviews and then help you understand how to use the data for product improvements.
It can also help you find fake reviews or outright slander against your brand. Without AI, brands can suffer for long periods when manual methods can’t pinpoint where these negative situations exist.
The ball is now in your court. Will you get excited about AI and find ways to use it within your eCommerce business? Or, will you decide to wait it out longer to see how competitors fare with it?
Be wary about waiting when it comes to using AI. Waiting means you run the risk of getting left behind by competitors who will build leaner and more efficient businesses as their AI systems continue to cut down on human error.