15 Robust Ways to Use AI in eCommerce
Artificial intelligence (AI) is beginning to infiltrate all aspects of our lives, even if we don’t realize it. From self-checkout registers and airport security checks to text editors and autocorrect, AI is just about everywhere.
The world of e-commerce is only one of the areas AI has proven invaluable. Machine learning can take online retailers to new heights, help them predict their customers’ needs, and improve business operations. But, if you’re new to AI, you may not be sure how to take advantage of it for your business. We’ll introduce you to the 15 robust ways to use AI in e-commerce.
Connect Different Platforms
Personalization isn’t new in the e-commerce business. Offering the same experience to everyone is outdated and won’t help you increase your revenue or attract new customers. Nowadays, many e-commerce businesses are present across multiple channels: websites, mobile apps, email campaigns, etc. Those who want to make the most of this omnipresence should definitely look into different AI engines.
Namely, these engines can monitor and analyze all devices and channels the customers use. That way, AI can help you deliver a seamless customer experience regardless of the platform and adjust the content.
For example, if a customer is using their iPhone to visit your website, the AI engine will register this and inform them about your sale on iPhone cases. Or, if a customer uses their laptop to visit your online store, the engine will send a notification about laptop bags. The customer can click on that notification and purchase your product, thus simplifying the entire process.
Thanks to technological advancements, e-commerce has switched from the mass market to building unique experiences for each customer. When communicating with e-commerce businesses, customers want fast and clear responses.
While smaller business owners can handle the communication with customers, this becomes impossible at some point. If you run a large online store, you’ll get hundreds, if not thousands, of messages daily. Not replying to those messages leaves a negative impression and can deter potential customers.
Scenarios like this are where AI, more specifically chatbots, plays a major role. Chatbots are computer programs designed to communicate with human users over the internet. They are a cost-effective way of providing excellent customer service. Since good customer service in the e-commerce world is more of a requirement than an option, chatbots can truly be life savers.
Chatbot systems can be integrated with shopping carts and provide a valuable customer support solution. While phone calls, emails, and text messaging are still valid communication channels, online chat is definitely the fastest and the most convenient way for visitors to get answers.
Better Recommendations for Customers
One of the reasons AI is becoming vital in e-commerce is its ability to predict customer behavior. AI engines gather data regarding the customers’ preferences, analyze their behavior, and deliver a personalized shopping experience by offering relevant recommendations.
For example, Starbucks uses AI to analyze the data gathered from its customers, including purchase history, preferences, and account information, to deliver personalized messages and recommendations. Another example is Netflix. The company analyzes the users’ interactions with certain genres to make recommendations for TV shows and movies.
Increased Customer Retention
Utilizing an AI allows for data gathering and more insight into how your customers think. With this information, e-commerce businesses can develop effective marketing strategies, deliver personalized messages, and make relevant recommendations to their customers. Consequently, the customers will feel appreciated and understood. Therefore, AI can significantly contribute to increased customer retention.
Automation is a term that describes technologies that reduce human intervention in different processes. The benefits of automation are numerous; it lowers operating costs, delivers consistent results, saves time, etc.
AI can help you automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks relevant to your business’ smooth operation. From scheduling emails and customer support to sending loyalty discounts and making recommendations, automation can make running an e-commerce business much more manageable.
More Efficient Sales Process
AI engines gather information about the customers and analyze their shopping carts, previous purchases, and saved items to help you understand them better. This technology can follow up about abandoned carts and reply to customers’ inquiries for you.
All of this contributes to a more efficient sales process. Instead of spending time communicating with your customers, you can leave this to AI engines and focus on other aspects of your business.
While investing in marketing or inventory management is important for growing your e-commerce business, let’s not forget what catches the customers’ attention: price. Ultimately, a product’s price is what makes a customer buy from a particular retailer. Naturally, people don’t want to overpay for a product, especially if they can find a better price at another store. Likewise, offering much lower prices than competitors isn’t great for your profit.
One of the most challenging aspects of e-commerce is optimizing prices to match the current market conditions and the customers. Fortunately, AI has made price optimization much easier. AI engines can analyze vast amounts of data and form optimal prices based on supply and demand, your competition, customer needs, etc.
Moreover, AI tools can determine what to discount and when. Besides allowing you to stay on top of all changes in the market, pricing optimization can save you a lot of time and money.
Better Customer Service
The chatbot technology and virtual assistants enable you to deliver high-quality customer service. These AI tools can handle low-level issues and questions so that live support agents can focus on more complex problems.
A significant advantage of chatbots and virtual assistants is their constant availability. They can communicate with your customers regardless of the time of day. If your customers make an inquiry about a product and you leave them waiting, they’re more likely to give up on the purchase. However, providing instant customer support ensures maximum customer satisfaction and converts prospects into customers.
Customer segmentation involves dividing customers based on common characteristics like gender, age, education level, location, etc. Because AI tools have exceptional processing powers, they make customer segmentation much easier. Plus, such tools can analyze complex information and offer more precise results. As more data becomes available, AI engines adjust their performance for maximum consistency and credibility.
Getting the product from your warehouse to the customer requires planning and organization. Of course, customers want to know when their product will be shipped and delivered. Unfortunately, traffic is unpredictable and transit times can vary greatly depending on road conditions. This is where AI can help.
AI tools can analyze transit times, potential delays, and demand levels and predict when the product will reach the customer. They can update the customer about the delivery time, thus ensuring customer satisfaction.
Inventory planning is crucial for the success of an e-commerce store. Since the market fluctuates, finding balance can be challenging, especially after the pandemic. Fortunately, AI can help. Different tools can track and forecast sales and demand to help you plan your inventory accordingly. Such tools offer real-time market analysis, competition, and historical data to ensure you have everything you need to stock up on products several months in advance.
E-commerce websites keep a ton of customer data that can be a target for hackers if the websites aren’t secure enough. Artificial intelligence can enhance these websites’ security.
For example, AI tools can detect potential threats like malware or ransomware attacks before they create any problems. Moreover, AI tools can protect businesses from bots.
Bots can steal credentials, set up fake accounts, and cause data fraud. Unfortunately, they make up a large portion of internet traffic. An AI can distinguish between “good” bots like search engine crawlers and “bad” ones that can cause problems for your e-commerce store.
Fighting Fake Reviews
Many people decide whether or not to purchase a product based on past customers’ reviews. Both good and bad reviews can affect your brand. But, there’s another type of review many customers don’t like seeing: fake reviews. If customers identify a fake good review, they will most likely give up on purchasing your product.
AI systems can detect fake reviews based on their characteristics and tackle them. Such systems can also give an advantage to reviews made by verified customers and enhance their visibility.
How many times have you come across a product online but didn’t know its name or where you can purchase it? With AI, this is no longer a problem because you can use it to find products based on an image.
You can use your phone’s camera to take a photo of a product, and AI tools can help you find it on the internet. In only a few clicks, you can purchase a product whose name you didn’t know up until several minutes ago. This AI tool is invaluable for every e-commerce store that sells a wide range of products.
Find Potential Customers
Sales teams don’t follow a large number of marketing leads due to a lack of time or the inability to analyze vast amounts of data. This means that you may be missing hundreds or thousands of potential customers.
Since AI tools allow a thorough and efficient analysis, they can help you find potential customers and attract them to your e-commerce store through different channels.
Take Advantage of AI
Although many people still imagine sci-fi movies and robots when they hear “artificial intelligence,” this technology has become present in every industry, including e-commerce. AI systems and tools are changing the way online shoppers find and purchase products and services. Jumping on the AI bandwagon can only improve your business and help you streamline your work.