What can help you automate your customer support services, boost conversions, streamline your omnichannel marketing campaigns and help you get granular on truly understanding your customers?
Say hello to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and personalization in eCommerce. You might worry that AI is either extremely expensive to implement, is complicated to use or it may even dehumanize your eCommerce business, but you couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, you're probably using at least some level of AI in your eCommerce business already.
Let's dive into how AI and personalization can be leveraged in eCommerce (and why it doesn't involve any scary robot takeovers or crazy expenses).
eCommerce personalization is using data that you collect on your customers to personalize their shopping experience. This can be done by sending relevant offers and messages to specific segments of your customers based on things like location, age, past purchases and user behavior on your website. AI and machine learning help us to do this at scale and reduce the cost of doing so, but what’s AI’s role in delivering this personalization?
What is eCommerce Personalization?:
The Role of AI in eCommerce Personalization
Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning can be leveraged to help you crunch vast amounts of data quickly and efficiently in order to learn more about your customers and offer highly relevant and personalized offers and messages.
In brick-and-mortar businesses you would have an individual sales rep help customers make buying decisions or complement their purchases with related items.
For example, someone buying a black dress may also need black shoes to match, and AI technology can produce these product recommendations at scale based on the personal tastes of the individual shopper.
AI and Machine Learning will use data like the shopper's age, location and user behaviour on the website to generate personalized product recommendations, pop-up messages, discount codes and all sorts of other personalized experiences, all without direct human intervention.
5 Benefits of using AI & Personalization in eCommerce
Leveraging AI technology offers up countless benefits to any eCommerce store, but we'll just give you our top five.
Automate your Customer Service Experience
How strung-out is your customer support team? Are they stuck in never-ending email silos and drowning in enquiries?
AI technology can swoop in as a digital assistant and alleviate your customer support team, primarily through the use of chatbots.
Chatbots are a program that can simulate human conversation and thanks to their natural language processing (NLP) they are pretty good at mimicking human speech and understanding questions as whole, meaning they can help resolve quick and easy customer support queries.
Companies who regularly use chatbots include Facebook, Slack and Spotify because they're a great way for your customers to find answers quickly, guide them to making a purchasing decision and alleviate your customer support team.
But that's not all they can do. Chatbots can go as far to recover abandoned carts, generate new leads and segment your website traffic. Chatbot marketing is definitely a booming industry and no wonder, with an estimated 91% of internet users interacting with them daily. So if you haven't jumped on the chatbot train yet, hop aboard.
Better Understand your Customers
Conversion rates live or die by how well you know your customers and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can process huge amounts of data to help you do just that.
AI can utilize a wide range of data about your customers to curate these messages such as:
- Purchase History
- How long they spend on your website
- What pages they've clicked on
- If they abandoned a cart
Trying to process and analyse all this data manually would be very costly and time-consuming, AI is a faster, cheaper and more efficient alternative.
And thanks to all this data processing you can understand your customers inside out and create more effective sales and marketing campaigns, which leads us on to our next major benefit.
Increase Conversion Rates
We are much more receptive to messages that are personalized and tailored to us rather than mass marketing messages that we aren't really interested in. This is why personalization in eCommerce is absolutely fundamental to boosting your conversions. In fact, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides a personalized experience.
Personalization can increase sales by using data and Machine Learning to do things like create highly personalized product recommendations to customers, send out automated abandoned cart email sequences and create different offers and discounts for different segments of your customers.
Let's take an example. You know that one customer was recently viewing a floral blouse but didn't purchase it. You can personalize your sales messaging to that prospect by sending them an email reminding them that they were recently viewing that item and that it's still on sale: that's personalization.
But where AI really shines here is that it can also use data about that customer and other like-minded customers to then automatically recommend other products that that customer may be interested in. This increases the chance of cross-selling and getting them to purchase the original item they were looking at, all without human intervention.
Improve Omnichannel Marketing Campaigns
Omnichannel marketing is when you create a unified and seamless customer experience across various channels and social platforms like email, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Creating a cohesive message throughout all these platforms can deliver a highly personalized experience to your customers that's relevant to their unique buyer's journey.
Businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates than businesses that don't, but it's only really effective when all your different platforms interact in some way.
AI can help your different platforms "talk" to each other and improve the personalization of your customer's experience, meaning you won't be wasting ad spend by targeting customers with irrelevant offers.
Effective omnichannel marketing is becoming increasingly important in today's economy as studies show that consumers now need an average of almost six touchpoints with a brand before buying an item, whereas fifteen years ago they needed only two.
Provide a Better User Experience
Having a great user experience is fundamental to any eCommerce business. Customers need to be able to easily navigate your website and find relevant products fast. If they can't, they'll bounce and go somewhere else.
AI can help improve your customer's online shopping experience and guide them to purchasing with the use of interactive chatbots, personalized visual searches and by using user behaviour and product trends to recommend products to customers that they are genuinely interested in. Machine Learning can improve this process over time as it learns more about your customers by analysing things like past purchases and how they navigate your site.
5 Ideas on How to Personalize your eCommerce store with Artificial Intelligence
Hopefully we've got you fired up about the endless benefits of using AI in your eCommerce business, but you might still be wondering how you can actually implement it. Here are five ideas to help you get started today.
Implement a Chatbot
Chatbots are an easy and usually low-cost way to kickstart your way into using AI and personalization in your eCommerce store. While you might think that chatbots are just for resolving customer support queries, or helping visitors find what they're looking for, they actually have a range of uses and can even come in video format.
Chatbots can be used for:
- Customer onboarding
- Customer service queries
- Lead generation
- Booking and scheduling
- Converting visitors from paid ad campaigns
- Customer Engagement
Checkout some Chatbot platforms and choose the best one for you. To help you with this, we have curated a list of the Best AI Chatbot Platforms for 2021.
Send Automated Email Campaigns based on User Behaviour
It's easy to link Artificial Intelligence and personalization tools to your Email Service Provider to send highly targeted email campaigns that can increase your conversion rate, reduce customer churn and re-engage your customers.
You can leverage user behaviour like abandoned carts or geographic location to send out new offers, coupons and recently viewed products via email to make sure you're only sending out what will truly interest your customers.
Implement Personalized Search
AI search engines are a huge factor in improving the user experience of your website as it ensures that high-purchase intent customers are able to find exactly what they're looking for. You could be losing out on thousands of dollars of sales by letting high-purchase intent customers fall off your site when your in-site search engine doesn't return the results they're looking for.
Normal search engines are likely to return a “no search results found” page if users accidentally include a typo or don’t use exact-matching keywords. AI powered search engines avoid this problem by not being hard-coded or pre-decided. They are flexible enough to find relevant products even if the search terms aren’t exact or if there’s a typo.
You can find a variety of AI-powered search engine apps for platforms like Shopify which you can implement right away and start delivering up dynamic search engine results that will only improve over time thanks to Machine Learning.
Segment your Customers
Before you can personalize the shopping experience for your customers, you must first collate a lot of data and then use that data to segment your customers. Doing this manually takes a lot of time, money and effort. Crunching and analysing data to deliver up personalized content on a huge scale just isn't feasible without the use of Artificial Intelligence.
AI not only makes this process much quicker, it's also more effective than traditional manual segmenting.
Benefits of using AI to segment your customers
- It relies purely on data so it removes human bias
- It's scalable
- It can change and adapt as segments change over time
- It can achieve high levels of segmentation & personalization
- It removes the potential of human error
- It can spot trends faster than humans
You can use an AI tool and start segmenting your customers by things like traffic source, past purchases, device, location, session time and lots more. Then you can use this data to do things like send personalized email campaigns, deliver personalized pop-up messages and banners on your landing pages to increase engagement and sales.
Personalize your Ad Campaigns with Retargeted Ads
Retargeted ads are those ads that seem to follow you around the internet. Did you pop a new bullet journal in your cart but forget to check-out? Don't worry, it'll probably reappear as a new retargeted ad in your Facebook feed in about 30 minutes.
You too can leverage customer data to automatically send out highly personalized retargeted ads to remind would-be lost customers to complete their orders. You can use recently viewed products, abandoned carts and automated product recommendations in your retargeted ads. Not sure where to start? Then this guide to retargeting for beginners will help to point you in the right direction and get your retargeting campaigns off to a flying start.
Wrapping Things Up
Artificial intelligence might make us think of robots plotting to take our jobs or exclusive, extremely expensive technology, but in reality AI-based solutions are more accessible than ever before and can be leveraged by even small eCommerce stores.
If you want to create unique and highly personalized consumer experiences so that each and every customer feels personally taken care of, then AI is the only way we can do this at scale.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can AI help an eCommerce Business?
Artificial Intelligence can help an ecommerce business scale their operations, better understand their customers, protect themselves against fraud, deliver personalized shopping experiences and improve the user experience in their store.
Is AI expensive to implement in an eCommerce Business?
AI tools vary in price and functionality. There are a lot of cheaper AI tools on the market that are perfect for eCommerce stores. You can check out "off-the-shelf" AI tools for your store and start implementing AI technology today at relatively low cost.
Is eCommerce Improving because of AI?
AI is playing a major role in improving the eCommerce experience, both for brands and customers. It helps brands scale their operations, increase profit and learn more about the needs of their customers. It helps customers find relevant products and have a much more personalized shopping experience that is unique to them.
How does AI help with personalization?
AI tools process huge amounts of data to be able to deliver personalized offers and messages to customers. AI technology can make decisions about what content to show a customer based on the data they have about them without any human interaction, especially thanks to advances in Machine Learning.