Last fall, I was reading about how the battle is heating up for the best Artificial intelligence based home assistant. One thing that took me by surprise, was Amazon’s home assistant, Alexa.
Alexa is one of the few AI based assistants for modern shopping that can shop on your behalf. It lives in 2 Amazon products, namely the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Dot.
Gone are the days when you have to rush to your nearest grocery store because you ran out of milk for breakfast for next morning. Now, it’s as simple as saying, “Alexa, order a crate of milk and get it delivered tomorrow.”
Under the hood, Alexa will use Amazon and make an order on your behalf and it will be at your home the next morning.
Isn’t this fascinating, that Alexa only needs to verify your voice pattern to make an order on your behalf. Truly, the future is here.
This is just an example of how Artificial intelligence for eCommerce industry is completely disrupting traditional customer engagement techniques. Sorry, not just engagement techniques, but also the complete customer lifecycle.
Today, AI involvement begins from outreach, advertising, marketing and ends with reducing cart abandonment, churn rates and improving customer retention rates.
With a 68% rate of cart abandonment and average user purchase cycle of 2 months, I am hard-pressed to find an eCommerce website that’s not getting restless to increase it’s customer engagement rates and drive higher sales.
So let’s show you a few ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) will change the modern shopping experience in the eCommerce landscape.
Ways in Which Artificial intelligence is Changing eCommerce
Product and User Personalization
Personalization is nothing new to eCommerce. If you have used Amazon and other eCommerce companies rather frequently, you know what I am talking about.
But, with the advances in AI and machine learning technologies, such deep personalization has finally found its way into the fast growing eCommerce space.
Many eCommerce companies use collaborative and rule-based targeting and filters to provide user personalization.
The problem with such technologies are, limitations to one channel and ever changing user preferences. These techniques can gather customer details only from a certain channel, for example, an eCommerce brand, might only be able to gather user data based on what activities users perform while they are on the website.
Whereas AI based personalization for eCommerce takes the multi-channel approach. An AI engine, such as Boomtrain, sits on top of the multiple customer touch points to analyze how users are interacting with the brand. Be it a mobile application, website, or email, the AI engine is monitoring all the devices and channels to create a unified customer view. This unified customer view helps in delivering a seamless customer experience across all platforms.
So the next time when you check out a study table on the website, you might receive a push notification on your phone, informing you about a flash sale for study tables. And, now you can directly make the purchase on the phone, saving a lot of steps for both parties.
AI is Bridging the Gap Between Personalization and Privacy
Whenever it comes to personalization, there is always a trade off with concerns to user privacy. There has been a strong display towards the importance of user privacy in recent years. And, brands are striving to take transparency, security and honesty to a whole new level. But to do that, they can’t forsake user personalization, as it is the crux of any successful e-Commerce venture.
To combat this problem, large brands are taking advantage of AI. It’s a known trend nowadays, that users are ready to share their details, if they are getting something truly valuable in return.
Think Google Now. If given access to your account, it can sync your calendar, emails and search habits. Now, every morning you are greeted with a small briefing of what’s on your plate, which orders are arriving home today and if you’re gonna be late to office today due to unusually high traffic.
This is the same magical approach that Amazon took with Alexa, they offered a modern shopping assistant that put the user’s day to day routine first and helped them with daily house chores. Later on, they added the intelligence bit in Alexa that converses with the users and buys things on their behalf. The end result, 82% Americans know about Amazon Alexa based products, Echo and Dot. Moreover, out of the 82%, 20% of the people are using it on a day to day basis.
At the end of the day, AI enables these brands to provide magical experiences throughout a user’s day, and for such an experience, any user is happy to share their personal details. There can’t be a better example, of how AI is bridging the gap between user personalization and privacy.
AI is Key to a Connected Shopping Experience
With the world moving towards a more connected era, as we speak, it’s hard not to add AI into the mix.
Once AI is integrated with connected devices (like IoT devices like Amazon Dash, nest thermostat and Home assistants), the consumer world will start moving towards a completely different direction.
The next gen of IoT devices and smart devices, will learn from user behaviour, habits and pick their lifestyle patterns to serve a better overall experience. Devices will strangle data from everywhere to predict the right opportunities for transactions.
Using innovations in the mobile first based world, these engines will pick data from device sensors rather than today’s app ecosystem. Chatbots and NLP will start picking up human emotions, habits and know whether you are happy, mellow or charged up, to recommend products in a smarter, non-intrusive manner.
At the end of the day, a retailer has to accept that Artificial intelligence for eCommerce is accessible to everyone. It’s upto us if we want to provide a better customer experience. If an ecommerce business has to thrive in such a cut-throat competition, then he or she has to make the shopping experience more personal.