This blog was contributed by our partner, xSellco. xSellco is a provider of ecommerce help desk, Amazon Repricer, and customer feedback software.
Online retailers are scrambling to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The goal is to create an online customer experience that matches in-store interactions.
Flashback to five or six years ago, this idea may have seemed impossible. But advances in technology have now made this ambition a reality.
As we speak, AI is being applied across multiple areas. These include order processing, product inquiries, and delivery questions. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. We are just beginning to recognize the potential impact of using AI in ecommerce.
Despite its increasing popularity, AI remains a mystery for many online sellers. There is still the perception it belongs in the realm of science fiction.
But as merchants, we don’t actually need to grasp the finer points of how it works. That is the domain of the software developers and tech-gurus. The more important questions for sellers are:
- Does it work?
- Will it save me time and money?
In both cases, the answer is “yes.”
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
“Technology that appears to emulate human performance typically by learning, coming to its own conclusions, appearing to understand complex content, [and] engaging in natural dialogs with people.”
There are many repetitive tasks we all do on a daily basis. AI-powered machines are being used to complete these mundane and manual tasks. This is freeing us time to focus on the more complicated aspects of running a business.
Online sellers can apply AI technologies to improve processes and produce tangible results. One of its most popular applications in ecommerce is website assistants also known as chatbots.
Whether we realize it or not, many of us are interacting with AI every single day. A high number of ecommerce websites have implemented chatbots. Companies use these to improve their customer support. This provides a level of speed and attention that a human can’t match.
From a consumer’s point of view, there are several advantages to chatbots. They offer instant responses, outpacing traditional emails or even phone calls. Customers can type their queries into the chat box and have highly filtered results. These bots can also work 24/7 to provide convenient support to buyers.
According to Facebook, 53% of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message. And 56% of people would rather message than call customer service.
Customer support employees can become overwhelmed when responding to questions. Chatbots don’t experience fatigue. And you rely on them to deliver the same quality of experience time after time. AI-assisted chatbots can also collect your past data and provide you with a very personalized user experience.
AI Benefit #1: Collecting Data and Generate Insights
Ecommerce websites have to process lots of data every day. Daily sales, stock levels, orders received — and the list goes on. Handling this amount of data is challenging. This is another great opportunity to use AI in ecommerce.
AI can collect this data in a more structured form while generating insights into whole populations and individual buyers. You can then make changes depending on the customer’s unique buying patterns. It’s even possible for the software to make its own strategic recommendations.
Software applications can also automate the after-sales service. In other words, you can automate returns, shipping queries, and feedback forms. As a result, you can more quickly and accurately resolve the buyer’s issues.
This automation can also dramatically reduce your business costs.
AI Benefit #2: Cost Savings
One drawback to growing sales is the increase in support tickets that is sure to follow. You are now faced with a dilemma. Do you hire another team member? Or continue as you are and run the risk of letting your service levels slip?
AI presents a third option: A sophisticated piece of software to handle the extra work.
A support team backed by an AI-powered helpdesk can work through a full inbox of tickets with ease. With automatic replies in place for common questions, issues can be resolved in a fraction of the time.
You can use AI to automatically translate queries written in a foreign language, along with your responses. This means you don’t have to hire a native speaker from every country you are operating in.
AI Benefit #3: Personalization
Ecommerce personalization involves using a shopper’s behaviors and personal data to customize content. And until recently, larger brands could offer an experience SMB sellers couldn’t compete with.
For example, customer searches fuel Amazon’s machine-learning algorithms. And the heart of their marketing strategy is providing personalized recommendations. Amazon’s recommendation engine has driven an estimated 35% of its total sales.
However, thanks to AI, personalization is no longer exclusive to big ecommerce companies. Any online store can easily personalize their customers’ buying experiences in real time based on user behavior.
Using AI in ecommerce for personalized product recommendations goes a long way. It bridges the gap between working with an in-store sales associate or scrolling through a website solo.
Smaller ecommerce stores are deploying simple but effective AI elements to optimize the journey from discovery to conversion to checkout. AI is changing ecommerce landscapes. Don’t be afraid to tap into this new way of doing business. The sooner online sellers embrace its potential, the sooner they will reap the benefits.