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Ecommerce

AI and the Future of E-Commerce

By October 27, 2017 No Comments

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is no longer something that only exists in sci-fi movies and books. It’s becoming a part of everyday life and everyday e-commerce. In fact, according to Gartner, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020 because of innovations in AI.

Netflix, Under Armour, and The North Face are just a few successful businesses using the power of AI to drive income and growth for their e-commerce stores. And with its rise in popularity and accessibility, AI is becoming easier and much less expensive for smaller online e-commerce startups and businesses to use too. It’s also becoming common to use a digital marketing company to help you manage and grow your reach. BlueSwitch can help you will all of your digital marketing efforts.

Here are the different functions of AI in online purchasing, and how it’s going to impact the future of e-commerce.

Virtual Assistants

With AI personal online shoppers or virtual assistants, you no longer have to be a high-end customer to receive personalized recommendations and service anymore. AI machine learning technology allows e-commerce businesses to learn and remember what shoppers are searching for and buying so they can recommend, curate, and eventually purchase items a shopper would like, without having to do any of the manual work themselves.

For instance, instead of getting a simple notification when airfare rates drop, a personal shopping assistant will routinely check dates and times for flights that fit into a shopper’s schedule and automatically book a flight on his or her behalf when rates reach a lower or desirable amount. The customer will receive an airline ticket via email instead of an endless stream of recommendations without having to do anything.

This technology is also easily applied to a multitude of other items that can be purchased online, especially clothing. Once the virtual assistant learns what a shopper likes and how much they’re willing to spend, the opportunities are endless for what it can buy and recommend on their behalf.

Chatbots

Customers don’t want to call a 1-800 customer service number and wait on hold for twenty minutes or submit an email to a generic inbox just to check on the status of an existing order or to ask a simple question about their account. Chatbots offer customers the personalized service they need, when they need it, without a long wait time. Bots can scan customers’ online profiles and order histories to provide them tailored responses to each of their unique questions and concerns, in real time.

Not only do chatbots provide more personalized, timely, and efficient customer service options, they also allow businesses to improve their customer intelligence capabilities. If you have chatbots scanning your customers’ profiles and purchasing histories on a regular basis, you’ll have a lot of data to use to improve offerings. You’ll be able to improve everything from your shipping options to more competitive pricing to stay ahead of the competition.

Chatbots can also close more sales while offering excellent customer service. For example, with the help of IBM Watson, The North Face uses voice recognition AI technology to offer their customers tailored product results to choose from. When a customer is searching for a jacket on The North Face site, a bot asks them questions about what they’ll be using the jacket for and where they’ll be wearing it. The customer will tell the bot their answers, and then the bot will scan through hundreds of products on the site as well as relevant weather conditions, before suggesting jacket options to the customer based on what they had told the bot.

Big Data

Machine learning AI technology collects vast amounts of data about how online advertisements are performing, as well as what prospective customers are searching for online. It also analyzes millions of customer transactions, and their behavior online before and after they make purchases. This data and information, equipped with AI automation capabilities, helps businesses send the right messages to the right prospects at the right time. Marketing efforts will become effortless and more targeted than ever before.

Big data collected by AI can also help e-commerce business owners determine what pricing structures to use, based on transaction histories and what was the most successful. This way, they won’t have to offer discounts all the time to secure sales.

Big data collected and analyzed by AI technologies will also allow e-commerce business owners to know what items will need to be replenished, when they’ll need to be replenished, and how much of each item should be kept in stock at any given time. AI will even be able to automatically track and replenish inventory for e-commerce businesses whenever necessary.

With the surplus of information and options available, nowadays shopping online is becoming as challenging as shopping offline. We recommend finding a digital marketing company that will help you grow your e-commerce business. With AI technology, you’ll be able to stand out from competitors and personalize your customers’ experiences. You’ll be able to offer customers what they really want, exactly when they really want it.