You probably first heard about Artificial Intelligence (AI) when you were a child. Back then, AI would have sounded incredibly futuristic. Fast-forward to 2017, and AI is no longer confined to the realm of robots and bad sci-fi movies. In fact, it’s entered our everyday lives.
And it can propel your eCommerce forward.
You might not have even realized it, but AI is pretty much everywhere you look: It’s at the airport (security checks), and it’s in the grocery store (the self-checkouts).
It’s not important that you haven’t realized this just yet.
What is important, however, is that you catch up with your competitors and realize the powerful role AI can play in scaling your eCommerce venture.
Personalized sales process
In 2020, it’s forecast that way over eighty percent of customer interactions won’t be handled by a human being anymore. Automated systems are replacing humans in this capacity bit-by-bit by virtue of the fact that they make the customer response process more efficient. They can reply to emails, phone calls and comments on social media faster and - eventually - will be able to mimic a human’s ability to be engaging.
Amazing isn’t it?
It might sound like a strange thing to say (though, isn’t truth often stranger than fiction?), but AI can actually personalize the customer more experience than a human being can.
Look at it like this: A specific individual visiting your eCommerce website needs to be greeted by the right kind of information on your landing page if they’re to take the action you want them to take. This is how you improve your conversion rate.
A human being, unfortunately, hasn’t been endowed with the kind of prophetic gifts that would allow them to second-guess what a specific customer wants to see at that time. AI, on the other hand, has. It’s able to analyze what this customer has done in the past, and what they’re going to do is presented with the right kind of information that’s tailored specifically to them.
What about chatbots?
And how about chatbots? Chatbots are becoming an increasingly important part of the customer experience on eCommerce platforms such as Shopify. Small businesses will soon be able to use chatbots to help a customer track their order. The responses will be personalized, friendly, and thanks to the AI having access to the customers’ unique profile, the responses will be accurate.
Chatbots will eventually no longer be limited to just text either, but will also be voice-activated.
Measuring big data
And then there is big data. As its name suggests, big data collects together and makes sense of a lot of data. And because it’s expected that by 2020 available digital data will encompass some 44 trillion gigabytes, we need AI to help us keep track of it all.
Yup, big data has a massive role to play in helping to scale your eCommerce. A traditional merchandising and replenishment system has its limits, and simply can’t analyze huge volumes of messy data. It also can’t spot hidden trends.
Big data, on the other hand, can do both these things. And the upshot of spotting trends before they explode? That’s right - you’re one step ahead of the competition!
It works: the proof
And if you want some social proof to help convince you, it’s worth pointing out that a number of businesses are already using AI in their eCommerce operations. Netflix is easily one of the biggest names to do this, and they’re using AI to tailor content to their customers, which improves the user experience.
WayBlazer is another company that uses AI in their eCommerce operations, using it to offer a solution to B2B organizations that merchandise tours, cruises, hotels, and activities.
Please note that none of this means that human beings are becoming redundant to you. Instead, what it means is that you’ve got the chance to make a core section of your business more efficient via AI while allowing your human workers to focus on other aspects of your business that need more attention. It’s a win-win situation.
Michelle Deery specializes in writing about eCommerce and growth strategies. She is a team member of Heroic Search in Tulsa.