What comes to mind when you think of Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Maybe you think of robots taking over the world, like in the movies, or self-driving cars. Merriam-Webster defines artificial intelligence as 1) a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers and 2) the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.
Did you know that AI is gradually changing the way consumers shop at various stages of the buyer’s journey?
In subtle ways, artificial intelligence affects the way a potential buyer searches for product or brand information during the awareness stage.
Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, and Awareness
It’s been well documented that people turn to social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest for visual inspiration and product research. We know that algorithms (a type of AI) will drive what posts are surfaced to a user. Your Instagram feed is not just based on who you follow but rather it’s based on what you like and comment on. The more engagement a Pinner or Instagram user has with a post, then the visibility of that brand or product increases and the higher it will appear in your feed.
Additionally, with the advent of Checkout on Instagram, as well as a Pinterest shopping program, retailers can jump on board these new marketplaces. By opting into these platforms, businesses can expand their reach and gain new customers.
AI and eCommerce
Marketplaces like Google Shopping and Amazon track users’ web browsing behavior and past search history. AI is used to detect shopping patterns and purchasing behavior by tracking how much time you spend on each page, what links you are clicking and what products you are hovering over. In turn, this data is used to give consumers personalized product recommendations, whether it’s in the form of dynamic product ads, custom emails with product coupons, or targeted messages containing personalized bestseller lists.
It’s these multiple touchpoints that can encourage a user to move forward from the consideration stage to making a decision. We’ve seen that when offering personalized content to consumers, it increases the chances of a sale.
The quickest way to justify an investment into AI is that it improves and speeds up listing products on different advertising channels. One of the most resource-intensive and tricky aspects of eCommerce is product categorization. Results show an intelligent and experienced human will achieve an accuracy rate below 90%. This is significantly higher than Google’s approach which tests have shown to be below 70%.
However, this has changed with some incredible breakthroughs in product classification with Artificial Intelligence, achieving accuracy rates above 95%.
For businesses looking to automate tasks related to customer service, consider an investment in chatbots. The use of chatbots is becoming more commonplace among eCommerce businesses. According to Invesp, it can help businesses save on customer service costs by speeding up response times and answering up to 80% of routine questions.
Chatbots can resolve customer issues and give insight into what customers are looking for at that moment in time. Furthermore, retailers can take the data collected from those chatbot inquiries and use it to craft custom messages for future use.
AI-Powered Personal Assistants
We’ve seen the rise in the last several years with using voice search. As any grown-up or even toddler knows, just ask Siri or Google Assistant a question and these virtual assistants will answer. Voice-controlled devices like Alexa or Google Home can recommend products or services to users. The ability for consumers to “shop with their voice” via Google Shopping or Amazon is powerful. As a merchant, you’ll want to ensure that your products are optimized so that relevant keywords are included in the product title. If you don’t have the right terms listed, then your products may not show up in voice command search results.