Is AI the Future of eCommerce? Here’s What We Know - ContentBot Blog

Is AI the Future of eCommerce? Here’s What We Know

Sometimes when we hear about the term “artificial intelligence” we still think of robots taking over the world. Thanks to big blockbuster movies and books around the topic, this is a common misconception. What some people don’t realize is that artificial intelligence is already a part of our everyday lives. If you’ve ever used Alexa, seen “top picks for you” on your Netflix account or even used your phone to say “Hey, Siri”, then you’ve been using a form of artificial intelligence all along. 

What’s more, this advanced technology is making its way into the business world. We’ve all heard the buzzwords: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Automation. But what do they really mean and how do they impact the way we shop online? As eCommerce continues to grow, so does the need for faster, more efficient ways to reach customers. Enter AI: the technology that’s transforming the eCommerce industry. From predictive analytics to automated customer service, AI is revolutionizing the way we conduct our online shopping. So, is AI the future of eCommerce? Let’s take a look at what we know so far.

What AI is and how it works

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Before jumping into how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to better your business, we need to understand how this technology works. AI refers to machines that have been programmed to think as a human and mimic their actions. It also relates to machines that have problem-solving and learning capabilities like humans. Basically, it’s placing human intelligence into a machine. It may sound scary at first, but the possibilities of this technology are astounding. It’s also important to note that there are many discussions happening regarding the ethical use of AI. If you’d like to read more on the topic, have a look at our article: The ethical use of AI content – A basic guideline.

Ideally, artificial intelligence would have the ability to rationalize and pursue an action that would achieve a desired outcome. It’s now also making use of machine learning, allowing it to adapt to new information and data without any help from humans. Over the years, this type of technology has been making its way into every industry, from culinary to healthcare and everything in between. In this article, we’re going to focus on how AI is influencing the eCommerce industry.

The potential uses of AI in eCommerce

As AI grows in popularity, the possibilities that its integration creates are limitless. Studies have shown that an astonishing 91.5% of leading businesses invest in artificial intelligence on a regular basis. Another forecast made by Gartner predicted that customer satisfaction will increase by 25% with the help of artificial intelligence by 2023 in the majority of organizations that choose to adopt it. Now that you’ve had a look at some of the promising statistics, let’s take a closer look at some of the different ways that one could use AI in eCommerce.

1. Customer service and virtual assistants

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First up on our list is a form of AI that many of us are already familiar with. Many eCommerce companies have implemented the use of chatbots to allow them to deliver customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of the customer’s time zone. This is especially important, considering that 81% of customers say that a positive customer service experience increases the chances of them making a repeat purchase in the future. Easily one of the most popular AI developments, chatbots are computer programs that simulate human-like conversation in order to satisfy customer queries and concerns. Their initial input consists of the answers to the company’s frequently asked questions. If the chatbot can’t answer the request, it typically helps to connect the customer with the relevant person who can. Most modern chatbots make use of more advanced technology such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) to be able to hold a conversation with customers, proving to be a cost effective and efficient addition to any company that has an online presence.

Benefits:

  • It allows for 24/7 interaction with customers and is highly accessible.
  • AI is more efficient if customers have time-sensitive problems.
  • Your service capacity is larger, allowing you to assist more customers in a shorter amount of time.
  • The communication is controlled, ensuring that shared information is relevant, up to date and void of circumstantial human emotions.
  • It is a more cost-effective approach to customer service as it eliminates the need for call center employees.

2. Increased conversion rates

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We all know how important conversion rates are for online businesses. This is the percentage of people that visit your page and actually perform a desired action or reach your goal, be it signing up for your newsletter or making a purchase. The higher the figure, the more successful your marketing efforts have been. An important part of increasing your conversion rate is by providing a better customer experience. Research has shown that 80% of customers consider the experience provided by a company to be as important as the product or service itself. In comes the AI. This technology can be programmed to, for example, generate relevant and quick site searches. Did we mention that this alone can increase your conversions by up to 216%? This could mean impressive return on investments for companies willing to invest in these programs. 

Benefits:

  • It can generate highly targeted marketing campaigns, giving you the best chance at conversions.
  • AI offers an enhanced customer experience as a result of its specialized algorithms.
  • Higher conversion rates lead to an increase in profit margins and return on investments.
  • It can be used for automations such as relevant A/B testing.

3. Personalization

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Personalized marketing tactics go hand-in-hand with a positive user experience (UX). This strategy is all about giving your customers what they want, in a way that is unique to them. Using AI and its algorithms will take your personalized marketing efforts to the next level. We’ve seen 97% of marketers experience an increase in their business outcomes after integrating personalization into their marketing strategies. It allows you to target customers based on things such as their geographical location or shopping preferences. You will be able to offer personalized product recommendations based on a client’s search history and buying patterns, and offer individual discounts that prompt customers to take action as a result of their relevance. By making use of targeted marketing strategies, businesses can drastically decrease costs as they are aiming their products and services at customers who offer the best chance at conversions. 

Benefits:

  • Targeted marketing and personalized product recommendations lead to higher conversion rates.
  • Increased customer satisfaction as you provide results that are tailored to their particular tastes and preferences.
  • Increased brand loyalty as customers value personalization.

5. Analytics and data

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When it comes to collecting and analyzing data that has been generated by businesses, artificial intelligence greatly surpasses what humans are capable of, with regards to both speed and time. AI-powered software has the ability to rapidly analyze data and come back with relevant and appropriate insights. It can draw conclusions, offer a descriptive analysis of what the data represents, or predict what will happen in the future based on current occurrences and patterns. Many AI tools are also equipped to provide SEO feedback and reports for you to use in tailoring your content to your viewers. I know, sounds crazy right? All of this has been developed in order to make large scale, and even small scale, data analysis that much easier, simpler and faster. 

Benefits:

  • It allows you to make decisions based on real-time data.
  • AI can be used to make accurate and reliable sales forecasts.
  • It works with data on larger scales without being overly time consuming.
  • AI gathers data from multiple sources to draw accurate and comparative conclusions.
  • Predicts trends and helps with future planning.

6. Marketing automation

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Since AI came onto the scene, it has been changing the way that companies interact with their existing and potential customers. Artificial intelligence can be used for more than simply carrying out repetitive tasks; marketers have been using these automations for everything from pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, search engine optimization and keyword research. Basically, AI can be considered a very powerful marketing tool when used correctly. In fact, 45% of companies stated that improved efficiency and an increase in ROI were the biggest advantages of using marketing automation. Whether you’re trying to automate emails and create appropriate workflows or trying to enhance your lead generation, AI can do it all. 

Benefits:

  • The efficiency of reduced staffing costs and time spent performing repetitive tasks.
  • Leads are followed and nurtured as the AI follows predetermined workflow setups.
  • Data is accurately measured, monitored and stored.
  • AI scheduling helps to deliver marketing communications to customers based on their individual preferences, such as click-through-rate and optimal-open-time.
  • It is extremely cost effective as marketing efforts are targeted and only take place once certain actions have been completed.

7. Copywriting and content writing

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Now this is where AI has progressed in leaps and bounds over recent years. It is now capable of producing everything from business ideas, logos, social media captions, Tweets, you name it! AI copy is short, concise and can often be written in a tone of your choosing, be it witty, pessimistic, professional or, I don’t know, Arnold Schwarzenegger maybe? And if copywriting isn’t quite what you’re looking for, then this impressive technology can write long form content as well. If you’re suffering from writer’s block and need some help coming up with new and interesting content, then artificial intelligence could be your saving grace. With the help of AI, you could generate a 1500 word article in a number of seconds, saving you time and money in the long run.

Benefits:

  • It is more efficient than spending time writing long form content.
  • You will be able to produce more targeted and relevant content with the help of SEO tools and keyword input.
  • AI writers are more cost effective than hiring copywriters.
  • AI copywriting provides effective ways of repurposing old content.

8. Cybersecurity 

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AI has the impressive ability of detecting abnormal patterns and weak spots within extensive networks, and it does this in a fraction of the time that humans are capable of. Its ability to analyze large amounts of data in a short period makes it a valuable tool for early detection of threats and vulnerability, before it’s too late. Already, 51% of enterprises are predominantly relying on AI to detect threats, make predictions and responses. It allows companies to take appropriate preventative actions, avoiding attacks and risks wherever possible. These protective measures are crucial when companies have gained access to the private and personal information of their customers as it is their responsibility to keep these details confidential. With artificial intelligence, you’ll be able to quickly identify, assess and evaluate risks, putting you in a better position to take corrective action and eliminate these concerns as quickly as possible.

Benefits:

  • It can detect threats that would otherwise be unknown.
  • AI is capable of analyzing large amounts of data in a short amount of time.
  • You’ll be in a better position for vulnerability management.
  • Your detection and response times to threats increase.
  • It is more efficient and eliminates the problems of duplicate processes.

9. Breaking the language barrier

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Using AI to breach the language gap is one of the biggest advantages of integrating this technology into your business. Whether you’re an American company that is looking to expand your reach into the German market, or vice versa, artificial intelligence can do it all. From tasks as small as writing a product description in a different language to translating entire passages, there is an AI tool available to achieve just that. Companies such as ContentBot and OpenAI are prime examples. With ContentBot, you have the option of writing everything from Tweets to video descriptions, and even entire blog posts in your language of choice. And did we mention the new InstructBot? By simply entering a few prompts and asking the AI to perform a task, you’ll receive unique and high quality content in just a few seconds. OpenAI has also recently released ChatGPT, allowing you to simply enter an instruction and let the AI work its magic. Tools like these are why artificial intelligence is quickly making its mark in the eCommerce world.

Benefits:

  • It grants you the opportunity to expand into new markets that would otherwise be difficult to enter.
  • The challenges presented by a language barrier are eliminated.
  • Efficiency increases as all the necessary tools are often completed using a single platform.
  • It is a more cost effective approach than spending large amounts of money on translators and interpreters.
  • Entering new markets is more attainable and can take place in a much shorter time.

So, what did we learn?

Artificial intelligence is keeping the world on its toes. With new developments constantly presenting themselves, who knows what the future may hold? What is clear to us is that AI is rapidly changing the way that companies conduct their business, and many changes are still to come as more and more people start using these tools to complete everyday tasks. It’s also important to note that while AI is new and exciting, adopting it into your company is a decision that requires careful consideration. Do your research on the different tools and platforms available, and how each one could potentially benefit your business. By taking the necessary precautions and figuring out how to use AI to enhance your company’s operations, we have no doubt that you’ll see why AI is changing the future of the eCommerce industry.

If you have used AI in your business, we would love to hear about your experience in the comments section!

Lauren Meyer
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