Artificial intelligence is getting more and more mature with each passing day. Plenty of modern algorithms and problem-solving techniques are being innovated every day that adds to the power of AI. The past couple of years have also been the most pivotal year in implementing artificial intelligence in day-to-day life because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As per one report by SHRM, 43 percent of the small business owners found new ways to survive in the business during the pandemic. Restrictions imposed forced businesses and customers to go online. This has changed the customers’ shopping habits and can be the beginning of the new eCommerce era.
AI is expected to power online businesses even after the COVID pandemic. A forecast made by Gartner stated that artificial intelligence will help increase customer satisfaction by 25 percent by 2023 in most organizations that use it.
AI: Helping eCommerce Businesses Grow
The pandemic has forced online business owners to try out new endeavors with the ever-developing artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial intelligence has a lot of things to offer to online business owners, ranging from small vendors to well-renowned brands. It can help eCommerce business owners to automate and improve a variety of tasks with minimal effort. Some of the key benefits of implementing AI in eCommerce are:
- Improve customer experience
- Customer retention through a personalized shopping experience
- Personalize shopping experience
- Effective supply chain management
- Enhance security by analyzing possible threats
- Provide a stronger customer support
Understanding the New Normal of eCommerce
The online market is constantly changing along with the shopping habits of the customers. Therefore, online businesses must be dynamic and versatile enough to meet the audience’s behaviors.
During lockdown periods in a majority of the countries across the world, most of the businesses and customers went online. As per UNCTAD data, online companies witnessed new peaks in the year 2020. Online trades increased from 14 percent in 2019 to 17 percent in 2020 and are expected to grow.
As we have learned more about the transmission of COVID, many areas have seen businesses reopening in person. However, online shops are expected to continue their momentum even after the pandemic. This has to be accepted as a new normal, and eCommerce business owners must try to leverage artificial intelligence for their stores.
Below are some of the significant points on how eCommerce platforms can benefit from Artificial Intelligence.
As per one report by NBER, the pandemic has hit small business owners more than anyone else. The main reason behind it is that the business owners were not ready for the upcoming pandemic and its cash flow challenges. Most businesses could not pay their debts, loans and handle scheduled transactions and salaries of their employees during this challenging period.
However, artificial intelligence can help businesses to improve the cash flow effectively in multiple ways. AI can predict the outcome from the previous entries and help the business owners to anticipate actual collections.
AI can also maintain the inventory effectively by studying the market trends, demand, stock, and more, and thus help in making better financial decisions.
Smooth Checkout Process
Easy navigation, clear communication, trustworthy content, and a clear call to action are important pillars that make up a smooth checkout process, ensuring more conversions.
However, targeting the wrong audience type can go against marketing and heavily impact the conversion rate. Artificial intelligence can make use of chatbots and analytics to target the best audience for the online business. AI can also interpret data much faster than any manual interpretation and thus allow dynamic and versatile audience targeting based on the inputs.
Moreover, AI can suggest products to customers based on their shopping cart or recent purchases, improving the overall checkout process. Integrating payment gateways can make the checkout process smoother by offering the preferred methods for payment to the customers.
As per the reports, the number of cyberattacks has skyrocketed after the pandemic. The main reason behind this spike in attacks is the larger audience finding the existing security vulnerabilities.
Business owners must take this figure seriously to provide utmost security to their customers and thus win their trust. However, small business owners can not afford to hire professional cyber experts or cybersecurity companies.
This is precisely where artificial intelligence can do wonders. AI can constantly look for vulnerabilities and loopholes in online stores and help prevent most cyberattacks. AI can additionally detect potential malware such as viruses, trojans, rootkits through machine learning.
Spread the Word About Your Brand
Brand awareness is one of the crucial steps of marketing. It is a long-term process that generates fruitful results. Businesses can create brand awareness by spreading their messages over social media and other platforms hanging out on their potential platforms.
Brand awareness requires consistency and regularity in postings. For a business owner, this can be time-consuming to plan and create regular content for their brand. This is where AI comes in. Content creation tools powered by AI can ease the load of creating and scheduling posts for business owners.
Study Marketing Campaign Performance
Poor marketing campaigns often lead to higher cost-per-click(CPC) and lower conversion rates. Analyzing and optimizing the marketing campaign is one of the most important things that you must consider to get more conversions at lower CPC.
Analyzing a copious amount of customer data manually can be time-consuming and is often prone to manual errors. However, artificial intelligence can manage and analyze such data effectively faster.
Online marketers can target the correct audience through AI-provided analytics tracking and data-driven insights. It can help the online marketers to get answers to some of their questions, such as:
- Who is their target audience?
- What does the audience want?
- When and where to reach the audience?
Thus, implementing AI in marketing campaigns can provide faster data analytics and accurate insights with greater efficiency. It can help online business owners to achieve meaningful results with massive ROI.
Customer support is one of the most important things that online business owners must consider to win loyal customers and retain them. However, it may require a lot of manpower and thus can add up to its expenses.
In 2021, chatbots and AI customer support have become most prevalent than ever before. The majority of online businesses are implementing artificial intelligence and chatbots to provide basic support to their customers.
Online business owners can provide 24/7 basic customer support on their websites through the never-sleeping chatbots, which are also cost-effective. It can also help to reduce manpower and can improve customer experience by providing immediate basic support.
According to Forbes, chatbots and artificial intelligence can recognize if the customers are angry, disappointed, or frustrated and directly escalate them to human support. Apart from that, it can also gather data that can be further analyzed for product improvements.
eCommerce AI Use Cases
Artificial Intelligence can help eCommerce businesses to blossom in the internet world in a number of ways. Here are some of the best ways to implement AI in online stores to leverage online sales.
- Chatbots: Online store owners can implement customized chatbots to their site to provide customers with basic support, gather customer data, and much more.
- Product Recommendations: Personalization is important to engage the visitors to your online store by showing products based on various factors.
Moreover, it can also go one step further by sending the product recommendations to the customers by sending push-notifications or emails, thus improving the conversion rate.
- Visual Search Engines: Providing the customers with visual search capability or search with image capability is another great use of artificial intelligence. It can help the customer to find what they are exactly looking for on your online store and thus can improve customer navigation. Similarly, implementing voice search is also another great option to use AI in eCommerce businesses.
- Product Grouping: Online store owners can easily group their products based on various factors and can provide customers with a personalized shopping experience.
- Other Practices: Apart from the described use cases of AI in the eCommerce business, it can further be used for various other operations such as supply chain management, marketing & sales, product improvement, platform improvement, etc.
Having plenty of options to choose from, it is important for eCommerce businesses to choose the most preferred AI tools for their business as per their requirements and business category. Business owners must consider their business category, potential customers, and tool costs while implementing any new AI tool in their online business.
The pandemic period has proven to be traumatic for most economies. However, eCommerce businesses that adapted to the new normal with AI have been successful even during tough times.
Considering the situation, eCommerce businesses are expected to rise in the upcoming years. Artificial intelligence will be a must-have success-driving factor for the eCommerce business due to its versatility and cost-effectiveness.