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How AI is Revolutionising eCommerce

By Laura Taylor • Thursday May 28th, 2020

In all industries, artificial intelligence is driving innovation and growth by redefining the user experience. 

Improving efficiency and cultivating tailored experiences, the genuinely helpful applications of AI in the eCommerce sector empower retailers to maximise profits by optimising the customer journey.

In a time when personalising the customer experience is key to eCommerce success, integrating AI creates incredible value for both retailers and customers, increasing revenue and optimising conversion rates. 

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence is the ability for machines to perform tasks that traditionally require human intervention, such as speech recognition, image perception and problem-solving.  

A defining element of AI is the ability for a machine to learn from past experiences and continuously improve responses and suggestions.

In relation to eCommerce, AI is all about creating a customer-centric approach by personalising the customer journey, promoting genuinely relevant Product Recommendations and improving the customer service experience.

The growth of AI in eCommerce

Intuitive searches

With on-site searchers 216% more likely to convert than other users, optimising your site’s search function is crucial to driving sales and boosting conversion rates. 

AI transforms traditional eCommerce search functionality into an intelligent tool to unite customers with their ideal products. Driven by the development of voice and image search, an AI-assisted site search returns accurate results, streamlines the search process and influences site revenue. 

As a powerful and accessible tool, shoppers have come to expect the integration of voice search on eCommerce sites. Using natural language processing, a specific field of artificial intelligence that facilitates speech recognition, voice search enables shoppers to verbally articulate exactly what they are searching for and browse genuinely relevant results. 

Similarly, an intelligent visual search allows users to upload pictures of items they've saved from the internet or taken themselves and an AI search will comb through a website’s products and display similar items. 

Both of these search functions aim to make the search process as easy as possible for the customer, quickly matching users with the products they are seeking and increasing the chance of purchase. 

Dynamic personalisation 

Personalisation, customisation, tailored content. Whatever you call it, creating unique customer journeys is now key to eCommerce success. 

But with 63% of shoppers expecting personalisation as standard, how can you tailor each customer’s visit to the same site? 

The key to crafting individual shopping journeys is through dynamic personalisation, whereby features on your site change depending on who is viewing them. 

This is where AI comes in to play, which can personalise your site by anticipating what would appeal to each individual. This can either be based on a user’s past interactions with the site, such as their purchase history, recently viewed items or abandoned baskets, or it can be drawn from the vast amounts of data collected about all site visitors. 

AI can extract knowledge from this data by identifying the trends and behaviours of specific demographics. Learning the likes, dislikes and patterns of certain groups means new visitors from these demographics can be more effectively targeted and persuaded to purchase.

Using this predictive analysis, AI can create an individualised journey that is most likely to incentivise the user to purchase by placing the right messages, in the right place, at the right time. 

A highly effective form of personalisation are Product Recommendations. AI can learn what people with similar tastes, past purchases or website journeys have bought and suggest these to visitors, providing a prime upselling and cross selling opportunity to enable retailers to drive revenue and increase average order value. 

Chatbots

Online businesses can also harness the benefits of AI in customer service practices, with Gartner predicting that 15% of all global customer service interactions will be managed solely by AI by 2021.

Delivering an automated, 24/7 customer service experience, chatbots on Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or integrated onto an eCommerce site can resolve any last minute questions that are preventing a customer from completing their order.

By removing barriers to purchase with helpful responses to enquiries, AI-powered chatbots optimise conversion rates by guiding customers to checkout. 

The capabilities of chatbots range from those which require the customer to select an answer from a choice of buttons, to those which can understand text typed by users. 

The latter group utilises natural language processing to respond to customer enquiries. These systems can learn from past conversations to continuously improve responses, ensuring answers to queries are accurate and increasingly ‘human-like’.

Since up to 80% of questions can be answered by a chatbot, businesses can reduce the amount of time employees spend responding to customer queries. eCommerce retailers can also harness the data from these conversations to inform website improvements and personalisation strategies.

Replicating the in-store sales assistant anytime and anywhere, chatbots streamline the customer service process and ensure your site is always responsive to customer needs.

AI is evolving at a rapid rate and here at Salesfire we embrace this technology throughout our suite of conversion rate optimisation tools. If you’re looking to employ AI to optimise your customer journey, contact a member of our team at [email protected] or call 0204 505 9040.

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