2018 was an unprecedented year for eCommerce sales as the worldwide revenue from online retail amounted to 2290 billion USD. eCommerce is further forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 19.11 percent. This indicates a market volume of 4479 billion USD by 2021.
There is no uncertainty about it. eCommerce is the way of the future and presents plenty of opportunities. Online retail has come a long way from shopping carts to using drones, voice search and ultimately, artificial intelligence in eCommerce.
For businesses, this means leveraging new technology and trends like Artificial Intelligence to make the most of this golden era in eCommerce.
But have you ever wondered how AI boosts eCommerce business?
With the introduction of intelligent algorithms, eCommerce stores can now resolve the challenges of customer segmentation and personalization. As a result, merchants have begun leveraging the following tech trends to boost their eCommerce strategy:
Machine Learning is the dominant AI trend that allows eCommerce companies to identify patterns and trends. This enables retailers to understand the customer better. What they want, what leads to bounce rates, what customers of a certain demographics tend to like etc. This analysis derived from large sets of data vastly improves the customer experience and lowers cart abandonment rates.
Further, ML can enhance search results when customers shop on the site, taking factors like personal preference and order history.
Customers are short on time and have many options to shop online. They expect information to be available with the click of a button; otherwise, they will take their business elsewhere.
Chatbots or Conversational bots use AI to simulate interactions with customers automatically based on a number of predefined conditions, triggers, and/or events.
Chatbots help by responding quickly, solving queries or doubts, offering options and guiding users throughout their shopping journey. In fact, a recent Facebook survey shows that more than 50% of customers are more likely to shop with an eCommerce business that they can connect with via chat.
Specialized eCommerce Virtual Assistants can simplify the workflow and allow business owners to focus on growing their business instead of managing the day-to-day of running an eCommerce website.
From order and shipment processing to inventory and stock management tasks to handling returns and exchanges, there is a lot a virtual assistant can get done.
AR takes the eCommerce shopping and customer experience to the next level. From visual merchandising to hyper-personalization, there are many advantages of using augmented reality. For example, Sephora Virtual Artist helps women who are shopping for makeup by providing them with a glimpse of the various looks just with the click of a button.
How can your business leverage AI to improve your eCommerce business?
New AI technology and Machine Learning advancements provide eCommerce with timely intelligence and forecasting to solve its business challenges. As businesses scale up, they need these algorithms and tools to provide insights and forecasting to improve their processes and profitability. Here are some ways in which you can use AI to enhance your eCommerce business.
Improving recommendation for customers
Using AI, you can automatically collect valuable insights, purchase history and other customer data points to enhance product recommendations for all the shoppers. This can increase sales significantly by upselling and cross-selling.
Introduce virtual personal shoppers
Make the shopping experience personal by introducing a virtual shopping assistant, just like in stores. From Amazon’s Alexa to Mona, there are several recent examples where virtual shopping assistants have served customers exceptionally well.
Personal but still private
There is a thin line between personalization and violation of privacy. With new data laws and user privacy being the watchwords, brands need to take compliance and security very seriously.
AI comes into the picture here by offering convenience and powerful features that make it easier for the users to share the information. For example, Alexa-based Echo and Dot are able to deliver outstanding experiences to users even if they are not connected to eCommerce stores. For this exceptional service, users willingly share their personal data without hesitation.
Integrating AI with CRM
Lead generation is the backbone of sales. Now with AI integration with your CRM, you can automate tasks like answering customer queries, identifying new opportunities, multi-task sales functions etc.
For eCommerce websites, inventory management is extremely important and yet tricky. With thousands of product categories and options, tracking inventory and ensuring the availability of products, especially during the holidays and the festive season is very difficult. AI-based apps for inventory management use historical data to predict trends and build a correlation between current and future demands.
The business value of using AI for your eCommerce
Reduce Cart Abandonment
There are several AI tools now that improve the customer experience so that cart abandonment rates go down.
From tools that track the digital body language of customers to the ones that push the right promotional message, you can guide the customer just in time, so that he/she doesn’t get second thoughts.
The impact of voice search
Google reports that 2 out of 10 mobile searches are now voice searches and this number is steadily rising. In eCommerce, voice search is the future. AI-powered voice search assistants and applications provide new opportunities in eCommerce. Voice also has the potential to launch creative marketing campaigns and enhance your branding.
One of the biggest advantages of machine learning is its ability to improve targeted advertising. When used in combination with the right data sets, it can help your company generate more sales simply by targeting and retargeting the right audience and forecasting demand with greater accuracy. It also helps you to foretell the kind of products customers will buy in the future.
The whole point of effective search is to understand user intent and deliver what the customer wants. Modern customer-centric search powered by AI thinks like humans. It uses advanced image and video recognition and natural language processing tools to constantly improve and contextualise the results for customers.
To survive the competitive landscape of eCommerce, merchants and retailers are continually challenging the status quo and adopting technology to meet and surpass customer expectations. If you are not leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning and related tech to make the most of this opportunity, you are losing out.