If you haven’t heard about AI’s advancements in recent years, where on earth have you been?
It’s become impossible to ignore how AI technology has inserted itself into most corners of our lives.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It doesn’t have to be like the movies or the books — dystopian, abandoned streets and homo sapiens being thrust back into a food chain where we are prey animals or, in some depictions, slaves.
It could be a future where we utilize technology to enhance our lives, businesses, and relationships with each other.
There are many with the macro outlook that AI technology adoption could bring forth a 4-day workweek, leaving us more time to explore hobbies, collaborate with our coworkers on new projects, or spend with our loved ones.
Zooming in for a closer look at one industry, in particular, we begin to see how online businesses are reaping the rewards of AI technology.
In this article, we will go over 10 powerful ways AI is being used to propel eCommerce to new heights — and what this may mean for you as a business owner, employee, and human being.
Unparalleled Customer Service
One of the most pivotal ways AI has transformed eCommerce is one that often passes undetected.
Chances are, if you have used a website in the past 12 months, you will have interacted with a Chatbot, knowingly or unknowingly. As AI gets more advanced, it is becoming difficult for consumers to differentiate whether they are talking to a robot or a human.
Up to 85% of customer interactions online are with chatbots — often resulting in better customer service.
When AI was first deployed via chatbots, the conversations were clunky, unrealistic, and unhelpful. This resulted in consumers being less likely to seek solutions via the chatbot speaking to them in the bottom corner of the screen.
The increase in willingness to interact with chatbots could also be down to the fact that younger generations view it as nothing out of the ordinary.
One thing is for sure; the ability businesses now have to amplify their customer service is unparalleled. 24/7 assistance from unwavering, unfaltering technology is something that we humans will never be able to provide.
Companies are using that to their advantage, though, delegating precious working hours to jobs that can’t be executed by AI.
A marketer’s key goal in their profession is to get their products and services in front of their identified target demographic. Hundreds of tactics have been devised to do exactly that, often by guru marketers who are promised enormous salaries if they can drive sales and convert traffic.
For people in this line of work, AI may just be the best invention ever.
AI technology can no use predictive marketing to identify and go after valuable target demographics likely to convert.
As we can see in the image below, predictive analytics, targeting decisions, and customer segmentation are among the top ways businesses utilize AI.
Marketing tactics like billboards, newspaper placements, and TV adverts – although still necessary – pale in comparison when discussing the effectiveness of AI predictive marketing.
By using collected customer data, companies can now predict what a user is likely to purchase based on their previous behavior online.
If a user has entered eCommerce stores selling sustainably made clothing but not made a purchase, other stores that align with these products can show targeted ads to them through social media and other websites.
Cue – AI cybersecurity.
To escape the rising costs of fraud, companies are looking to hire AI rather than humans.
The critical factor that makes AI so desirable to those seeking cybersecurity is its ability to be strengthened from events. Each time a system is attacked, AI technology can simultaneously analyze millions of events and prevent attacks in real-time.
Like the mythical greek beast the Hydra, AI cybersecurity gets stronger with every malicious phishing attack or code upload. Smart technology learns and improves each time there is an attempt on the business it is protecting, leading to impenetrable security.
Preventing Fraud & Spam Comments
In a study on the importance of social proof, 97% of participants said customer reviews factor into their buying decisions. This has made removing fake, damaging reviews a top priority for eCommerce businesses.
AI technology can quickly scan and recognize fraudulent comments by detecting deviations in writing formatting and styles. A tool developed by Harvard to fulfill this task performed better than its human control group, picking out 75% of fake reviews when tested.
AI technology can also scan through thousands of comments across social media platforms and review pages in a fraction of the time a human could. Deleting and responding to comments that are detected to be fake, AI helps businesses present a more accurate presentation of themselves to their consumers.
Voice Search Optimization
With the advent of smartphones and smart speakers, voice searches have skyrocketed with Google estimating that 27% of the global population is using voice search via mobile.
This can be reflected in the rate at which products like the Echo Dot, Alexa and Google Home are being adopted by households in the United States with nearly 25% of US households owning at least one of these smart speakers.
These numbers cannot be ignored, and eCommerce businesses are racing to make sure their products and services are optimized for voice searches. To do so, they enlist the help of AI, which, through analysis of previous searches and user behavior, is able to identify the most effective way to optimize content for voice search.
Sales teams around the world are racing to adopt AI into their processes. As of the end of last year, 51% of companies were currently using marketing automation to increase conversions and streamline their business.
AI technology that can plan, design, and execute marketing strategies with limited human oversight is precious to companies, which can now delegate their workers to jobs that require more sophistication.
Smart follow-up email sequences, outreaching, and scaling campaigns are all ways in which marketing teams are utilizing AI. AI models are able to identify the correct campaign to send to each customer, predicting which action will result in a higher chance of conversion.
As we see later in the article, AI is even becoming advanced enough to write these campaigns themselves.
Efficient Management of Inventory
To scale and drive sales, businesses are often stretched across multiple channels. This is necessary for businesses looking to reach more customers, but it can leave the door open for costly human error.
In minutes, AI software can meticulously analyze and crawl through volumes of data that would take human workers thousands of hours. This is impossible to ignore for businesses looking to streamline and improve their inventory management.
Through machine learning, inaccurate stock replenishment, overstocking and understocking are becoming a thing of the past. Although not 100% accurate, the possibility of error is drastically reduced when AI is in charge of inventory management.
Engaging Copy & Content
Originally, AI was only thought to be capable of more rational lines of thinking — processing things like complex algorithms and large volumes of data. Nowadays, companies are pushing the boundaries by employing AI to don its creative hat and actually craft content.
Let’s look at how this may be utilized in an eCommerce setting.
John Schmon loves fresh socks and underwear. He always loves clothing that has been made ethically and sourced from sustainable materials. Using data collected from his previous user journeys, AI on this platform will show John Schmon copy that highlights the fact that this clothing has been ethically made.
Barry Gee needs some new socks and underwear. He appreciates clothing that lasts and offers him good value. Using data collected from his previous user journeys, AI on the same product will inform Barry that if he buys 3 pairs, he saves X $. It also tells him that because this product has been sourced from high-quality, sustainable materials, they are durable.
The possibilities are endless if AI technology can continue to get more advanced in this space. Being able to personalize copy and websites (as long as they stay true to the product) based on the user could have tremendous effects on conversion.
Highly Accurate Sales Forecasts
Now that AI can build and create highly-detailed customer profiles based on data, it can provide marketing teams with “scored” leads. This indicates to businesses which customers will be most likely to convert and provide value over a period of time.
Businesses who outsource this lead identification, sales prediction, and sales automation to AI are saving thousands of man-hours and increasing their conversion rates massively.
Once the lead has been scored by AI, human marketers can approach the consumer with more finesse. The time this has freed up for many marketers in eCommerce has allowed them to grow other aspects of their company.
Highly accurate sales forecasts can also provide businesses with longer-term outlooks, helping them budget and plan more effectively to ensure growth.
AI is personalizing user experience even more by offering effective retargeting based on previous behavior.
This can occur across channels, such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as if the user returns to the original eCommerce platform.
For example, Customer X is browsing a vintage soccer jersey site. X searches for Arsenal within the store and then spends 80% of their time looking exclusively at Arsenal jerseys. The rest of X’s journey was spent reading reviews and the about us section.
Upon re-entering the store, Customer X will be shown a far higher percentage of the best-selling Arsenal jerseys as this is something they have displayed a previous interest in. Tottenham jerseys or jerseys from other leagues completely will not be displayed, as they have a far lower chance of being sold.
AI is Revolutionizing eCommerce
AI is leading the charge in a world where eCommerce businesses are constantly looking for an edge to increase their productivity.
The use cases for AI in eCommerce and other industries continue to grow by the day. As we have discussed in this article, AI has been personalizing, streamlining, and improving employee opportunity on the back-end and user experience on the front end.
The possibilities are endless, and the space looks set to grow to even bigger heights with the support of this fantastic technology.
This guest post has been written by Nicholas Rubright who is a digital marketing specialist at Vision Elements – an AI development company.