You can no longer ignore AI (Artificial Intelligence). Once a futuristic concept that conjured up images of robots, AI is growing fast and is becoming a mainstay of every industry imaginable, including the world of website builders.
The ecommerce industry has also been growing for years, not least thanks to the pandemic, and it’s no surprise that the world of online shopping is being revolutionized by AI.
AI has the power to totally transform the customer experience you offer your audience, but understanding how to unlock its potential can be a daunting task.
In this article we’ll take a look at customer experience AI and the role it plays in aspects such as personalization and recommendation systems, enhancing the overall customer experience you offer.
AI isn’t something to be feared, so join us as we hop aboard the ecommerce AI revolution…
It’s predicted that by 2040, 95% of all retail purchases will take place online*. Yes, you read that right, 95%!
With the ecommerce industry booming and the rise of ecommerce website builders, customers’ demands and expectations of online stores are only going to grow. One of the best ways to keep up with customer experience expectations is going to be AI.
Artificial intelligence ecommerce systems can make your ecommerce business available 24/7. This means you’ll always be switched on to customers’ needs and it will increase the overall productivity of your online store.
From product recommendations to chatbots, personalized experiences to real-time price changes, AI is transforming how ecommerce businesses are run and the experience they offer customers.
If you want your ecommerce store to grow to meet predicted demand, you can’t afford to sleep on artificial intelligence ecommerce.
So, let’s take a look at seven ways AI can improve customer experience.
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Personalization has become a huge requirement for online stores in recent years. With so many options available to customers, offering a bespoke and personalized shopping experience can often be the driving force behind you beating out the competition.
Personalization in ecommerce refers to creating a totally unique and personalized experience for each individual customer. Personalizations can be based on an array of different factors such as previous purchases, browsing behavior, location, and language.
A personalized approach to ecommerce can be a huge factor in driving conversions and building a satisfied and loyal customer base that returns time and again to your online store.
But how can AI help with this?
Personalization is all built on data. In fact, to offer a truly personalized experience for customers you’ll need to sort through huge amounts of customer data. Luckily, AI analytics and algorithms can sift through this data for you, creating accurate predictions of what customers are looking for based on your collected data and previous browsing behavior.
The reality is, you’re not sitting next to a customer as they browse on your website, watching where they go and how they shop online. Instead, this information is collected by machines.
Ecommerce retailers rely on machines to collect, analyze and interpret the data in order to provide things such as personalized product recommendations or regional content.
AI personalization is already out there. Here are two examples of it in action…
We’ve all been there. You decide to settle down to watch a movie but spend more time searching for something to watch than you do actually watching the film.
That’s where streaming platforms such as Netflix’s personalized recommendations come in.
Netflix’s recommendation algorithm is driven by artificial intelligence. The algorithm uses data from each user profile, centered around previous watch history and regional location, to provide tailored TV show and movie recommendations to users.
With so much content on the streaming service, personalized recommendations are essential for keeping users engaged and active.
Ecommerce giant Amazon also takes advantage of AI to offer a personalized customer experience. Using huge amounts of customer data including browsing behavior, purchasing history, and customer locations, the AI algorithm will sift through Amazon’s vast product catalog to offer bespoke and personalized recommendations.
This is an epic sales tactic. We can bet almost everyone has been tempted into making a purchase based on the product recommendations Amazon has served to them. Thanks to AI, Amazon is able to predict exactly what its customers want, before their customers even know it themselves.
Sometimes we just need some help and assistance when shopping. Many people would argue that the benefit of doing your shopping in-person rather than online is the sales assistants who are on hand to answer your shopping questions and make your experience smooth and hurdle-free.
The good news, however, is that assistance is now available for online shoppers too, and it’s all thanks to AI.
AI-powered chatbots are able to provide efficient and personalized support to customers in real-time, meaning there’s no need to get stuck on busy phone lines or email portals waiting for assistance.
AI chatbots equipped with natural language processing (NLP) capabilities are able to understand customer queries in real time, offering 24/7 support and assistance.
Online stores don’t have opening hours (or most don’t at least), meaning customers are able to make purchases at any time of the day. This means they could also need assistance at any time of the day, too, especially if you operate internationally. It can be almost impossible to keep up.
AI chatbots ensure you aren’t leaving customers in the cold, improving response times and enhancing the customer experience. They can also be great for cost-saving too, reducing the need to pay customer support staff.
AI chatbots are commonplace on websites, so let’s take a look at some examples…
WordPress customers whose plan includes Premium Support can access the 24/7 AI chatbot for help and assistance.
The AI chatbot is able to offer help and support on how best to use the platform and assist users with any technical issues that may have arisen.
Great support is crucial for tech brands and offering users quick access to help will only increase satisfaction with the WordPress platform.
Beauty website Sephora has utilized an AI chatbot on its website to enhance the overall experience it offers customers.
Customers are able to use the AI chatbot for two purposes: to get product recommendations and insights or for general customer service inquiries.
Sephora’s AI chatbot therefore truly takes over the role of the in-person sales assistant. It provides not only assistance for queries such as returns information, but by understanding customers’ needs, behaviors, and language, it’s able to suggest products and ideas for customers to buy.
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Learn about the key reasons using AI Customer Service can be beneficial for your business in our full deep dive.
Much like personalization, AI can be a game changer when it comes to driving sales through recommendation systems.
An AI recommendation system can help businesses of all sizes to increase sales and engagement, especially when it comes to cross-selling and upselling to existing customers.
AI recommendation algorithms can analyze huge amounts of customer data such as buying history and browsing habits in order to suggest totally bespoke and tailored recommendations to customers.
Having a recommendation system in place can transform your conversion rates and crucially, increase the average spend of each individual transaction.
For example, a recommendations system powered by AI can recommend items that customers will like based on what they are already looking at or what they have already added to their shopping cart.
This can be via cross-selling, such as offering product recommendations that compliment their existing purchase, or via upselling, offering them an even better (and usually more expensive) alternative.
These tailored recommendations will not only increase how much a customer spends but also the likelihood that they will return.
You might have seen AI recommendation systems in action before. Here are a few examples.
Clothing website ASOS uses AI to cleverly recommend products to customers in order to increase the value of each individual user who makes a purchase.
When users view a product listing and add it to their cart, the recommendation system will suggest an array of different products including similar items, trending products, and items to complete the outfit.
These recommendations persuade customers to add more items to their baskets and position products that they may not have seen otherwise.
Cosmetics brand Aesop cleverly uses an AI recommendation system to recommend products to people that other shoppers have also viewed.
The “Others also considered” section showcases products that previous customers who have added the same items to their basket have viewed online.
This AI recommendation system cleverly uses customer data and behaviors to recommend products to other shoppers based on the concept that customers who are buying the same products are likely interested in the same items.
A crucial part of ecommerce success is accurately forecasting sales and managing your inventory accordingly. The last thing you want is to be left with too much stock on your hands, or not have enough in the first place!
AI-powered tools can totally transform how you predict sales and manage your inventory by analyzing huge amounts of historical data and watching current and future market trends.
AI systems are able to use machine learning to get better and better at predicting sales and what levels of inventory you need to keep in order to meet customer demand. One of the big benefits of using AI to forecast your sales is that the tools are able to anticipate quick changes in sales forecasts that you may not see coming.
The fact is, sales forecasting is crucial. Ordering too much stock that you can’t shift will leave you out of pocket and storage space trying to deal with deadstock, while not having enough to meet demand will result in handling out of stock issues as well as disgruntled and disappointed customers.
Sales forecasting is one of the key benefits of customer experience AI and if you run a Shopify website there’s an easy way to utilize it on your online store.
Shopify AI Forecasting
If you use Shopify’s fulfilment network, you can make use of its in-built forecasting tool powered by AI. This tool helps small businesses to predict future sales and identify trends by analyzing masses of customer data. These predictions can then be used by small business owners to order and manage their inventory accordingly, ensuring optimal profits and customer experience.
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Want to know if Shopify is the right platform for your online store? Check out our full Shopify review for our expert insights and opinions on the platform.
Voice search is becoming an increasingly popular way for users to not only surf the web but to make purchases, too.
Users are able to use voice search for a myriad of tasks related to shopping online, including product research, finding store reviews, searching for products, and completing their purchases.
AI-powered voice assistants are able to understand and process voice commands in order to offer personalized search results to users. It can also help them to complete a purchase online.
In order to capture voice shoppers and searchers and ensure you aren’t missing out on a large chunk of potential customers, it’s important to optimize your online store and product listings for natural language and long-tail keywords.
From smartphones to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, AI voice assistants are becoming increasingly popular.
Did you know that some of the biggest brands have already adopted voice search as part of their wider artificial intelligence ecommerce strategy? Take a look at some examples below.
Domino’s Pizza has optimized its full order system for voice shoppers, allowing customers to order pizzas with voice commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
This enhances the overall customer experience of ordering with Domino’s because it makes the order process totally accessible and easy for every customer… and satisfied customers are much more likely to return again in the future.
Retail brand Target is one of the biggest brands to understand the value of AI-powered voice search, utilizing it within its customer experience strategy.
Target’s ecommerce site includes a voice-activated shopping feature that allows customers to add items to their cart and complete purchases using voice commands via Google Assistant.
Product descriptions are a key part of a great ecommerce store and they also play a big part in the overall experience a customer has when shopping with you.
An accurate and detailed product description allows customers to make informed purchasing decisions, while descriptions that are sub-par can often lead to returned items and disappointed customers.
But writing product descriptions manually can be pretty time intensive. At least, it was before AI came onto the scene. Did you know that you can now use AI to generate your product descriptions for you?
That’s right, auto-generated product descriptions are an interesting and useful feature of artificial intelligence ecommerce strategies.
AI-powered natural language generators can automatically generate tailored and bespoke product descriptions for your items.
Based on the information you provide, AI can generate product descriptions that are accurate, of a high writing standard, optimized for SEO, and engaging to customers, helping to save you time and resources.
Some of your favorite brands are probably already using AI to auto-generate product descriptions. Check our examples out below.
Wayfair is an online furniture and home decor brand with thousands of products listed on its website. Due to its vast levels of inventory and product offering, the retailer uses AI to generate unique product descriptions that engage customers and provide them with all the information they need. This helps Wayfair to manage its resources optimally, as using humans to create each product description would be incredibly time-consuming.
The North Face
The North Face is another brand that uses AI to auto-generate product descriptions for its outdoor clothing and equipment.
The North Face makes use of AI to generate tailored product descriptions for customers based on their segmentation and preferences. This is a great example of using AI to enhance the overall customer experience.
Deciding how much to sell your products for can be a hard decision and it’s one that’s important to get right.
There are a lot of factors to consider when pricing products, such as the quality of the item, manufacturing costs, current market conditions, customer behavior, and competitor pricing.
The good news is that AI can help.
Pricing algorithms driven by AI, known as dynamic pricing, can analyze all of the above to provide you with the optimal price for your product at any given time.
What this means is that AI can generate the right price for your product on a specific day, based on the factors we listed above. After all, none of those factors will stay the same forever, but dynamic pricing allows you to set optimal pricing rates at any given time, taking these conditions into account.
AI-powered dynamic pricing tools can also predict when you should raise the price of an item or when you should put it on sale, meaning you’ll always be meeting market demands.
Dynamic pricing optimization not only helps to boost your revenue and ensure you’re competing at the right place in the market, but it will also help customer perception of your price points.
Plenty of big brands are already using AI-powered dynamic pricing models, such as those below.
Uber uses AI to power a dynamic pricing model that ensures its prices are always based on supply and demand. If you try to book a ride at an exceptionally busy time, or for a popular route, prices will be higher than at quieter parts of the day.
Uber changes its prices based on how many drivers are available and how many people are looking for rides in order to offer the fairest rates to both customers and drivers.
We’ve already mentioned how Amazon uses AI to offer personalized recommendations to customers, but it should come as no surprise that the ecommerce giant uses AI for its pricing, too.
Amazon operates a fully dynamic pricing strategy, meaning whenever a competitor offers discounts or sales, Amazon will adjust its own prices by up to 20% to ensure it remains the cheapest and fastest option online.
Artificial intelligence can be invaluable to ecommerce brands, offering insights, data analysis, and automation that can transform the experience you offer customers.
To recap, some of the main ways AI can transform your customer experience include:
- Recommended Products
- Sales Forecasting
- Voice Search
- Product Descriptions
- Dynamic Pricing
As AI capabilities continue to evolve and be embraced by ecommerce brands, any store not utilizing customer experience AI features will be left behind in the race to the top.
Now that you understand how artificial intelligence customer experience works, why not take a look at our top 10 AI marketing tools list next? Or, if you’re just starting your site, pick a platform from our list of the best AI website builders!
AI stands for artificial intelligence and refers to the process of machines such as a computer system replicating human actions. AI uses things such as machine learning, natural language processing, and data mining and analysis in order to operate.
Yes, absolutely! While using AI systems will of course come with its own financial costs and investments, in the long run using AI to complete tasks such as auto-generating captions and 24/7 chatbots can save you the need to pay employees to carry out these jobs.
There are a whole host of benefits to using AI in ecommerce such as increased efficiency, reduced costs, strong security and fraud prevention, and a better customer experience.