Up to 85% of customer interactions could take place without a human by the end of 2020, according to Gartner. For anybody in the ecommerce sector, this poses a big question – are you prepared for this monumental shift in customer service? And if you don’t answer the call, will you be left behind? Find out how artificial intelligence (AI) could help your ecommerce business stay ahead of the curve.
1. Eradicate human error
Research shows that ecommerce businesses lose up to 33% of potential custom because sales team members neglect to pick up the lead. No matter what size your business is, nobody can afford to lose that proportion of their customer leads. This is simply down to human error and is often unavoidable.
Or is it? With the help of AI, human error won’t enter the equation. AI will be able to identify customer leads and act on them without a human having to lift a finger. Some businesses are already using facial recognition to find out how long people are spending in stores, for example, and how long they spend looking at a particular product. AI can then remind those people of the products so there’s a greater likelihood of them purchasing it in the near future.
2. Problem solving
One of the main reasons a customer will contact a business out of the blue is because they have a query or problem. Until now, businesses have easily lost customers because they didn’t provide a quick, effective solution to their problems. It could be down to something as simple as a staff shortage at one time or another.
AI in ecommerce can solve this problem by providing answers to queries on the spot. We’ve already seen this with Alexa and Siri on your phone or in your home. In the near future, this will become the norm for all ecommerce customers. The North Face has already created a way to personalise their customer’s shopping experience using IBM’s Watson system, so most problems can be totally avoided.
If a customer were shopping for a jacket on The North Face app, for instance, their AI would ask questions like, ‘where and when do you plan to wear the jacket?’. This allows them to offer the best suited product to their customer and answer any questions before purchase.
3. Personalisation on all devices
Customers love to be loved. When a customer feels appreciated and special, they’ll come back for more. Businesses began to realise this years ago, when the first personalised emails went out. Now customers get everything from personalised offers to birthday cards and discounts. With the help of AI in ecommerce, businesses will be able to offer even more.
For example, Maybelline New York can now offer makeup advice to customers without them having to visit a store. People can use facial recognition apps that allow the consumer to try out different shades of eye shadow and lipstick. Along with that, they can even upload a picture of their wrist to find the perfect foundation to match their skin.
AI is capable of offering this kind of personalisation across all platforms. Whether a customer is using a phone, tablet or computer, AI for ecommerce is easy to access. It also means that businesses can personalise their targeting. If a potential customer is searching for red handbags online, a notification could pop up pointing them towards your business.
4. Make use of chatbots
If you’re not already making use of conversational commerce, you should be. Imagine a customer entering a store and browsing products as a sales assistant approaches and asks if they need help. The chatbot does a similar job for the online community. Customers have the option of asking questions or getting help as they browse through products in ecommerce shops. As AI becomes more sophisticated, the chatbot will become even more useful and popular.
A chatbot is designed to stimulate conversation with potential customers, much like a sales assistant in a brick-and-mortar store would. Chatbots should be able to fulfil all aspects of customer service, including troubleshooting and marketing. What isn’t so common right now is integrated chatbots on shopping cart pages. This integration could stop shoppers from abandoning their carts at the last minute by answering questions there and then.
5. Helpful virtual assistants
There was once a time when virtual assistants were reserved for CEO’s and everyone else got on with their own daily tasks. With life being busier than ever, systems such as Alexa and Google Now have become invaluable to everyone. Whether it’s putting on your favourite music track or looking up a recipe for a family dinner, almost everyone has access to a virtual assistant nowadays.
But what if everyone had a virtual assistant while shopping? A personal shopping assistant that can guide you as you shop and point out products that may suit your needs? This could become a reality, which would impact the ecommerce world dramatically. Shoppers would have the perfect products placed right in front of their faces, meaning businesses are likely to see an increase in sales.
In addition, customers won’t have to lift a finger to get the help they need. Unlike Alexa, customers won’t even have to ask the question to be presented with the solution. The virtual assistant will gather the information before the individual starts shopping, then products can be suggested as shopping begins.
The beginning of artificial intelligence in ecommerce
We’ve only seen a glimpse of what AI can do for ecommerce businesses. Companies like Amazon and Google are consistently working on new AI technology that will change the face of ecommerce. And that’s just a taste of how the sector is rapidly changing.
At Bing Digital, we help brands stay at the forefront of ecommerce with slick, attractive websites. From innovative features like chatbots to solid foundations like fast load times and great content, we’re trusted by companies big and small. Want to find out more? Talk to an ecommerce expert today.