“Brands have yet to fully understand all the ways in which AI will change the marketing game. The practical applications we already see today in precision marketing, dynamic ad creation [and] marketing automation… are just the tip of the iceberg” – Jean-Luc Chatelain, chief technology officer at Accenture Analytics
A study by global public relations firm Weber Shandwick has found that most Chief Marketing Officers believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will become more important than social media in the industry. Of the 150 CMOs asked, 68 percent said their brand is currently using, selling, or planning for business in the AI area. There’s no doubt that AI will become a huge part of marketing, so the question is: are you ready to integrate it into your ecommerce store or brand marketing strategy? Here are the top trends you need to know about.
If you’ve struggled through an interaction with Siri or Google Assistant you might be skeptical about the ability of voice commerce to revolutionize retail, due to current limited functionality and misunderstood commands.
However, Amazon’s Alexa has truly been a game-changer: the voice-powered app now has over 25,000 skills and an estimated 8.2 million people own an Amazon Echo device. This is translating into more revenue for the ecommerce giant: owners are spending an estimated 10% more on Amazon than they did before they got the device.
A streamlined customer experience is crucial for retail success and voice commerce can remove many barriers to conversions – even the need to click. People respond to convenience,and as the technology becomes more available, the way we shop will fundamentally change; with research suggesting that 55% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
If you want to harness the power of voice commerce, you will need to leverage Natural Language Processing (NLP). It’s a a branch of AI that analyzes and generates the language that humans naturally use; one which computers have historically found hard to process.
Retailers can use NLP-based engagement platforms such as Klevu, Twiggle or Angel.ie to help drive more relevant customer engagements.
Put simply, dynamic pricing offers retailers the ability to decrease prices and increase sales when the market is slow, and increase prices to create more profit when it’s booming.
This might sound like a strategy that only huge retailers can afford to employ, but it’s not. There is plenty of affordable AI-based dynamic pricing software available that will give ecommerce store owners much more control on pricing and marketing strategy.
It’s definitely a great way to map pricing and sales onto customer behavior, but you have to be careful in order to not alienate people through this strategy. The changing prices of flights and retail deals can sometimes leave customers confused.
If you watch Netflix, you’ve already experienced predictive analytics. The streaming giant collects and analyzes all sorts of data on viewing habits – how long people watch, which devices they use, location, time – in order to figure out what viewers might enjoy next, and keep them engaged with the site.
As an ecommerce store owner, being able to predict what your customers are looking for as soon as they land on your site is sales gold. One major way people interact with ecommerce sites is through the search bar; if this function is made more predictive, brands can start to anticipate what the customer is looking for before they’ve even started typing....
Predictive search results are determined from purchase history data, viewed items, click-through behavior, demographics — all done in real time.
The influence of AI and big data on huge companies like Amazon has trickled down to smaller businesses and there are many easily deployable cloud-based solutions available for ecommerce brands. Even online store builders like Shopify are harnessing AI and data in order to create a smarter, more intuitive customer experience and dashboard.
Alongside voice recognition apps such as Alexa, ‘conversational commerce’ also includes chatbots. Chatbots are software that converse with a customer through messaging applications and can be used to support online shoppers with their purchasing decisions, make recommendations, and prompt to buy.
If you need convincing that chatbots are vital for ecommerce retailers, consider this: research has shown that chatbots will power 85 percent of all customer service interactions by 2020.
AI chatbots have the ability to understand conversation and progressively learn from the responses of customers, achieved through the power of NLP. This level of personalization allows chatbots to influence user behavior; for example by directing them to the products or information they are looking for.
Fashion tech start-up Dressipi developed a chatbot that customers can use in-store to find the most suitable clothing for them, with the responses being completely personalized and solely based on preferences they have previously expressed.
Even if you are a smaller retailer you can develop a bot that will support your ecommerce store. Services like Chatfuel and Microsoft Bot Framework allow any Facebook user to create a personalized chatbot to support their customer service meeds.
Understanding AI and its potential to influence and shape consumer behavior is critical for marketers and ecommerce retailers of all sizes. AI behavioral marketing is going to redefine the relationship between consumers and brands, and savvy business owners need to be ready to integrate these data-hungry and intelligent applications so they can stay ahead of the curve.
Victoria Greene is a writer and brand consultant. She writes a blog called Victoriaecommerce. A big advocate of making smarter marketing decisions using the power of AI and data.
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