New trends and ways to implement AI are constantly surfacing and evolving in our digital revolution. We’ve seen AI identify a distant eight-planet solar system by poring over years of data. New strategies for implementing artificial intelligence and the evolution of existing ones are occurring in e-commerce as well. From chatbots and programmatic advertising to deeper customer segments — AI offers e-merchants the potential to heighten engagement, improve the online shopping experience, increase customer retention, and drive growth. But with a flurry of new developments floating around, which AI trends should you leverage for your e-commerce store?
Here are three ways to start.
Customer service still takes the cake as the most important detail to achieve e-commerce success. But there’s no feasible way to deliver 24/7 service without the use of chatbots.
Chatbots are AI-powered customer service representatives that help answer visitor’s questions and guide them through the buying journey when real humans can’t. They’re cost-effective and can enhance your brand.
Imagine offering free e-commerce website templates and a visitor happens upon your site in the wee hours of the night. They're intrigued yet confused about the importance of web design in e-commerce — or how proper site display and navigation works. With your customer service reps sleeping, the visitor’s support questions could fall on deaf ears. But a chatbot with a well-designed AI flow could answer the visitor’s basic questions. The sheer convenience and pleasant experience might be enough to convert the visitor right then and there. But at the least they’ll leave your site with a positive feeling.
Be sure to invest smartly in the development of your chatbot. Though you can easily do more harm than good if the bot’s answers aren’t helpful enough or if the answer flowchart isn’t well-thought-out enough. Check out these 11 examples of awesome chatbots for some inspiration.
Unless you’re the SEO ninja, paid media should be a part of your e-commerce marketing plan. Even if you’ve been experimenting with paid search, native, display, or social media advertising, you might want to try more personal forms of paid advertising, such as programmatic advertising.
Programmatic advertising uses algorithms and software to facilitate the buying, selling, placing and optimizing of digital ads in real time — compared to traditional manual bidding and human-assembled creatives. Programmatic advertising is efficient. It allows for faster A/B testing, more targeted messaging, and higher engagement. Programmatic also allows e-commerce marketers to scale ad campaigns to meet the ongoing trove of consumer data. The main thing to be aware of with the current state of programmatic advertising is that anywhere from one-third to a one-half of programmatic impressions are likely fraudulent. However, the technology continues to evolve with many ad platforms improving ad fraud detection to filter out fraudulent traffic from ad exchanges.
Deeper customer segmentation
According to Pew Research data, eight in 10 Americans were already shopping online in 2016, and 15 percent were buying online weekly. With so many Americans preferring convenience, more competitive prices, and widespread selection, an unprecedented amount of data is being generated. If you’re building customer profiles or segments for your e-store, AI can make them much more in-depth and it can do so easily.
With machine learning and pattern recognition, you can make your existing customer profiles more granular. This lets you deliver the right message to a consumer at the time they want to receive it, increasing the likelihood of a purchase. This will engage consumers more readily than general messaging sent to thousands ever could.
The e-commerce brands that can engage consumers and extend the customer relationship will rise to prominence. Whether that means converting or simply delivering a pleasant experience, e-commerce success hinges on keeping customers buying your wares — not a competitor’s. This can happen a variety of ways, but leveraging AI makes things more cost-effective, accurate, and, frankly, easier.
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