Artificial intelligence is no longer just the stuff of blockbuster movies. More startups are leveling the playing field by offering AI-powered tools and platforms for ecommerce businesses of all sizes.
Whether you run marketing for a small business or an established enterprise, you can employ AI to lift online sales and deliver an exceptional, highly personalized customer experience.
Why Add AI to Your Ecommerce Strategy?
Most ecommerce marketers rely on trends and assumptions to determine which messages to show their audience and when.
But with each click and scroll, your website visitors are subtly signaling what they’re interested in and thinking
Today’s consumers won’t suffer through a poor experience or ill-matched messaging. Without tracking their behaviors (and applying your learnings), it’s impossible to achieve the level of personalization that consumers now expect.
Instead of sitting on that information, you can use it to power a better experience, increase average order value and reinvigorate your online sales.
Using AI tools and software, you can compile and analyze large swaths of data to deliver personalized experiences on any budget.
AI ecommerce tools track, dissect and learn from user behavior and automate personalization across your online marketing channels. In turn, they save marketing teams huge amounts of time and paint a more complete picture of each user.
How to Use AI in Ecommerce
Countless AI applications exist in ecommerce — from email marketing and display advertising to onsite content, SMS and more.
Here are 12 of the most effective ways to use AI in ecommerce to generate out-of-this-world sales growth.
1. Email Your Contacts Product Information Based on Their Hottest Interests
When competing for inbox attention, your message needs to be relevant to that person’s real-time behavior and interests to stand out, increase sales and minimize unsubscribes.
In fact, Adestra’s State of Personalization found that 82 percent of marketers saw better open rates when using personalized emails.
If you’re like most marketers, you use form data to bucket your contacts into one interest or list, which determines the email content they receive.
But consumers’ interests change. And your email messages need to give people what they want at that moment, not what they wanted months ago.
Products like Personalize track user behavior to show which products a person is most interested in at any given time. Armed with that insight, you can email contacts information on the products they actually care about so messages stay fresh and relevant.
2. Optimize Email Send Times to Improve Open and Engagement Rates
Email is one of the most profitable yet crowded digital marketing channels. You’re competing with hundreds of companies for your audience’s attention every time you press send.
Employing predictive email sending is an effective way to break through the noise and send your message when each contact is most primed to open and engage with this channel.
Platforms like Seventh Sense and ListTrak monitor your contacts’ email engagement rates and optimize send times. This way, your message is delivered when a person is most active on email. The result? Higher open rates, click-through rates, engagement and revenue.
3. Display More Relevant Reviews to Boost Conversion Rates
Consumers are inundated with ads as they browse the web and have grown increasingly desensitized to marketing messages. When they get to your site, their skepticism is high and guards are up.
Positive customer reviews validate your product’s value and give wary website visitors the confidence to complete the purchase process. In fact, 97 percent of customers rely on reviews when making purchase decisions.
Services like Yotpo surface relevant customer reviews to website visitors to amplify ecommerce conversion rates. Yotpo’s AI engine offers filters so visitors can easily find reviews that address their concerns or share feedback, giving you a wealth of user-generated content to use as sales fuel.
4. Improve the Product Search and Discovery Experience on Your Site
All online shoppers have experienced the struggle of a poor site search experience. You come to a furniture site, type “end tables” into the search bar and are shown thousands of tables of all sizes. So you continue to refine your search query and filter results until you find what you’re looking for.
Don’t make your visitors work to purchase from your site. Making small improvements to deliver the right products to each person can make a world of difference in your ecommerce conversion rates.
Your product search engine is harboring a goldmine of information that you can use to improve the search experience over time.
Products like Twiggle pair AI with site search engines to better understand user search behavior and allow you to display more relevant products to your audience.
Twiggle can also enrich your understanding of searcher intent by cataloging product attributes using just a photo. Say you sell women’s clothing, and a searcher is looking for blouses. As they view different products, Twiggle dissects the product attributes from the photo to learn what that person is truly looking.
5. Automate Customer Service and Expedite the Purchase Process With Ecommerce AI Chatbots
When browsing your site, people expect immediate information. Answering something as simple as a payment question can mean the difference between earning and losing a sale.
Chatbots allow you to address customer pain points, guide users through the checkout process and increase sales — no customer service rep required.
With chatbots expected to manage 80 percent of all customer service interactions by 2020, they’ll become increasingly critical for ecommerce brands.
Expecting that website visitors will find your FAQ page or product information won’t cut it. Users won’t waste their time searching for answers — so you need to be there to provide them.
6. Build Chatbots in Facebook Messenger to Connect With Your Audience
Facebook Messenger has become the most popular messaging app in the U.S. People use the tool to connect with brands and ask questions and are 3.5 times more likely to open a marketing message sent through Facebook Messenger than email.
You can customize your own chatbot on Facebook Messenger to capitalize on this captivated audience and offer another customer touchpoint.
For example, you can send promotions, complete sales transactions, answer customer questions, enable appointment booking and much more.
7. Enable Voice Commands to Improve the Customer Experience
Today, daily tasks like checking the weather, ordering groceries or creating reminders are just a “Hey, Alexa” away.
Gartner predicts that 30 percent of searches will be done without a screen in 2020. As more people rely on voice for purchases, voice search will become even more lucrative for ecommerce brands.
People also speak faster than they can type, so enabling voice commands on your website can cut the time it takes to receive the information they need considerably. And speed is everything when competing for the dollars of impatient online shoppers.
Voice search engines like EasyAsk allow you to add this capability to your site and deliver a refreshingly fast and intuitive customer experience.
8. Show Personalized Product Messaging
Does your product serve multiple audiences with distinct needs?
Create dynamic content that’s targeted toward each user’s unique situation or pain points to increase relevance and engagement.
With WordPress’s Content Aware Sidebars plugin, you can create rules to show widgets to certain groups of people based on their pages visited and other criteria. You can also customize calls to action and other conversion-driven design elements.
9. Offer Real-Time Product Recommendations to Increase Average Order Value
Another way to capitalize on the droves of user information at your disposal is by suggesting additional products.
You might already show your website visitors related or complementary products to remind them of what else your company offers. For example, if your website visitors add curtains to their cart, they’ll likely need a curtain rod as well.
AI-based product recommendations tools take this a step further. Tools like Adobe Target leverage machine learning to suggest products based on a person’s actions across the web.
Depending on your goals, you can display related products on the cart page or promote them via other channels like email.
10. Use Dynamic Product Pricing to Win the Sale
The rise of ecommerce stores has democratized product information — including pricing. With a few clicks, online shoppers can quickly compare product pricing and benefits. So if your products aren’t priced competitively, you’ll likely lose the sale.
Of course, you have to consider your profit margins when undercutting competitors or other online retailers on price. Or, winning the sale could end up costing you more than you stand to make.
Tools like Prisync scan and digest online pricing strategies across the web to dynamically update your product price. You can set parameters to ensure your profit margins stay within a predetermined range and optimize pricing to look attractive and competitive to online shoppers.
11. Feature Dynamic Promotions Based on User Behavior
Coming up with product discounts requires a healthy dose of psychology. For example, studies on customer behavior show that people prefer to receive something for free rather than a deep discount.
If you’re a savvy online marketer, you also probably conduct your own tests to see which promotions and discounts perform best among your audience.
But what if you could customize your discount strategy based on each person’s particular interests and receptiveness to past promotions?
Harnessing artificial intelligence, you can determine which customers respond best to which promotions, and optimize your discount strategy based on their past behaviors.
12. Send Personalized SMS Text Messages
Nine out of 10 customers want to message brands, according to Twilio. If you’re not offering text capabilities today, you’re leaving money on the table.
But in the era of personalization, you can’t send generic text messages and expect to earn the sale or a customer’s loyalty.
Companies likeZETA compile billions of user data points to paint a complete picture of each user. Armed with this information, it allows you to send push notifications and SMS messages specific to each user.
Instead of blasting the same drab message to hundreds or thousands of people, you can customize each SMS text to drive the actions you want.
Get Started With AI for Your Online Store
Your website visitors and customers are leaving tiny clues about their interests and mindset as they browse the web.
Following and learning from their digital footprint allows you to show more relevant products and messaging, elevate the customer experience and drive more online sales.
But you don’t need a big-box budget to access and capitalize on this information. Personalize tracks your user behavior and provides insight into your audience’s top interests at any point in time. Armed with that information, you can deliver more relevant email content, website messaging, discounts and more to pique their interest and win the sale.
Ready to get started? Get exclusive access to the Personalize beta today.