Before this year, we’d all heard of artificial intelligence and seen it in sci-fi movies like The Terminator and 2001: A Space Odyssey. But now, AI technology has become a reality in the ecommerce world.
Artificial intelligence in ecommerce is already changing online shopping. From smart logistics to a more efficient sales process, AI is performing vital business functions automatically and efficiently.
In this article, we’ll go over the best ways for ecommerce websites to leverage artificial intelligence and big data to improve their customer experience and boost sales.
Now that AI is here, why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?
What is ecommerce artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence in ecommerce usually refers to machine learning tools that generate customer insights by analyzing data and online interactions.
Unlike human employees, AI systems are able to track the actions of each online user and figure out the best ways to market to potential customers.
However, while they’re all grouped under the name of “AI,” there are actually several different types of artificial intelligence programs that are used in the ecommerce business.
For example, machine learning AI software can learn from past customer behavior to tackle fake reviews or act as a virtual shopping assistant. On the other hand, natural language processing focuses on the way humans use language by going over hundreds of thousands of texts, and it’s another important AI technology that’s increasingly being used in ecommerce marketing.
Benefits of AI in ecommerce
Using machine learning to gain a deep understanding of your customer’s online browsing habits can bring a plethora of benefits to your ecommerce business. Here are a few of the most important ones:
1. Personalized recommendations
Personalization has become a key part of the online shopping world over the past decade, but the arrival of AI technology is making it even more prevalent. Providing your potential customers with a personalized shopping experience can help you boost your conversion rate and sales.
AI algorithms can analyze historical sales data, generated customer data (such as customer feedback and requests), and customer interactions to create highly-tailored product recommendations. You can also use AI technologies to create customer segments within your overall target audience, allowing you to achieve even better message-customer fit.
There’s simply no reason not to greet your online shoppers with personalized messaging when this technology is so readily accessible!
2. Streamlined customer support with natural language processing
Hiring customer service representatives is a significant expense for many ecommerce retailers. Live support agents draw high salaries and, during busy periods, your customers might still be stuck waiting for an available agent.
AI-powered chatbots offer real-time assistance to website visitors, answering queries, providing product information, and guiding users through the purchasing process. These virtual assistants can handle routine customer interactions, freeing up human agents to focus on more complex customer issues.
Automated ticketing systems can also help to prioritize and categorize support requests, ensuring that urgent matters are promptly addressed.
3. Advanced security measures
Another benefit that many ecommerce businesses have experienced when using artificial intelligence is the advanced security features. With the integration of AI-powered security systems, including advanced encryption protocols and VPN services, you can maintain a more robust defense against cyber threats. This enhanced security setup helps you keep a tighter lid on the important consumer data that you hold, such as customer addresses and credit card numbers, ensuring a safer and more secure online environment for your business and customers.
7 applications of AI in ecommerce
Ecommerce companies are rapidly discovering the best ways of using AI tools to boost sales and improve the customer experience.
Here are 7 ways that online retailers use AI technology to gain a competitive advantage.
1. Landing page personalization
Paid ads are a vital part of the ecommerce industry, growing brand awareness and driving customers to an online store. However, many ecommerce retailers have trouble achieving high conversion rates on these paid campaigns, which cuts into their profit.
The bottleneck of your PPC ads might not be the ad itself, but rather the landing page that customers see after clicking on the ad. Ensuring that your landing page content is relevant to each individual customer using customer segmentation can skyrocket your paid ad performance.
Today, you can use artificial intelligence to dynamically customize headlines to fit the audience, leading to huge improvements in performance and profits.
OptiMonk’s Smart Personalizer is an easy way to boost your landing pages with real-time one-to-one personalization.
2. Product page optimization
Although product pages often don’t get the same level of attention as landing pages and home pages during the conversion optimization process, much of your traffic arrives on those pages—especially if you run Google Shopping ads.
The problem is that many ecommerce retailers have dozens or even hundreds of product pages, which makes updating all of them a tedious task. Well-crafted product descriptions can make a big difference to how likely a customer is to make a purchase, but you’d need to spend a lot of time to optimize each of them.
Once again, artificial intelligence can step in to take care of a tedious task for you. You can upgrade your product pages into high-converting sales pages by effortlessly optimizing hundreds of them with OptiMonk’s Product Page Optimizer.
3. Collecting and analyzing customer data
Ecommerce platforms can be upgraded by using AI to take advantage of big data by analyzing large datasets and extracting meaningful insights.
Online retail businesses already have lots of valuable data on their customers. This includes demographic factors like gender and location, but also behavioral information like how much time online shoppers spend onsite and which pages they usually bounce from.
Using AI robots to track all these aspects of customer data can help you monitor relevant KPIs and take action when the data shows you’re having a problem.
4. Automated A/B testing
A/B testing is a great way to generate the data that tells you how best to raise your conversion rate and retain customers. But doing it manually is complex and time consuming, which is why marketers often rely on gut feeling rather than basing their decisions on data.
OptiMonk’s Smart A/B Testing fully automates the experimental process, creating variants, running tests, and analyzing the results automatically. All you need to do is choose which on-page elements you want to optimize, and then the AI can work its magic!
5. Automated email marketing
AI in email marketing allows for personalized content creation based on individual user preferences, increasing engagement and relevance. Dynamically adapting content based on user interests and behavior leads to campaigns that are individually relevant rather than one-size-fits-all.
You can utilize machine learning algorithms to analyze customer behavior and tailor email campaigns to specific customer segments. And, since automation streamlines the process of sending targeted emails, you can save time and resources while ensuring timely, consistent communication with your audience.
6. AI-driven logistics and delivery
This tip is especially relevant to anyone that has a physical store but also sells online. Integrating AI algorithms for route optimization in logistics significantly reduces delivery times and costs.
These machine learning algorithms dynamically adjust routes in real time, ensuring the most efficient and timely delivery paths are selected. By harnessing AI for logistics and delivery, businesses can achieve substantial cost savings, improve customer satisfaction through faster deliveries, and enhance the overall effectiveness of their logistics operations.
7. Inventory management
AI-enabled inventory management systems have revolutionized the traditional inventory processes by automatically adjusting stock levels based on historical data and real-time demand.
Leveraging advanced algorithms and machine learning makes it possible to optimize stock levels by predicting demand patterns, helping businesses avoid overstocking or running out of stock.
2 real-life examples: explore the power of AI
Let’s take a look at three cases of AI being used to generate outstanding results in the ecommerce industry.
1. Mounteen increased their revenue by 18% with product page optimization
Mounteen is an ecommerce business that sells products across several categories, including makeup and skin care, home decor, and pet supplies. As you’d expect, they have lots of product pages and improving all of them using manual work was unsustainable.
Instead, they used OptiMonk’s Smart Product Page Optimizer to help them effortlessly level up their many product pages.
After analyzing their product page traffic and other historical data, the Optimizer recommended adding three elements to their product pages:
- Bold, catchy slogans at the top of each product page.
- Clear, benefit-driven subheadlines below the slogan to showcase the value proposition.
- A bulleted list of product benefits in the above-the-fold section so that visitors could instantly see how the product addresses their challenges or enriches their lives.
Then, the AI tool automatically added each of these sections to all the product pages on the site, resulting in an 18% boost to revenue.
2. Crown and Paw achieved a 16% revenue boost with A/B testing
Crown and Paw is an online pet shop that wanted to find out which home page message would resonate best with their audience.
However, their team didn’t want to put in the effort to create manual A/B tests, so they turned to OptiMonk’s Smart A/B Testing system. The AI software was able to take care of all the technical details, allowing Crown and Paw to easily try out different headline options for their homepage.
This A/B test resulted in a 16% increase in orders for Crown & Paw.
Challenges of using AI in ecommerce
Despite the obvious opportunities, there are still some pitfalls to keep an eye out for when using AI in ecommerce.
Here are the top three issues to be aware of when you’re planning your own artificial intelligence strategy.
1. Data quality and privacy concerns
Incomplete, inaccurate, or biased data can lead to suboptimal results and hinder the performance of AI algorithms by providing a skewed representation of customer preferences and behavior.
For example, incomplete data sets may lead to gaps in understanding customer trends, impacting the algorithm’s ability to make accurate predictions or recommendations. Biased data can reflect historical prejudices or demographic imbalances, leading to a risk of perpetuating discriminatory outcomes when using AI-driven processes.
Ensuring that you’re using fair, high-quality data is crucial for maximizing the performance and reliability of AI algorithms while avoiding misguided insights that can end up costing you money.
2. Cost of implementation and maintenance
Implementing AI solutions in ecommerce can be complex and demand a substantial upfront investment encompassing technology, infrastructure, and skilled talent.
However, you can reduce those costs by relying on out-of-the-box solutions that bring the power of AI to ecommerce businesses, such as the OptiMonk tools mentioned above. You’ll still need to have some basic tech know-how to make them work, but you won’t need to hire any experts.
Although building an infrastructure that’s capable of supporting AI applications doesn’t happen overnight, the long-term benefits, such as improved efficiency, enhanced customer experiences, and competitive advantages can make the initial investment worth it.
3. Ethical concerns and transparency
The inner workings of intricate AI models can create a “black box” effect that makes it difficult to understand the rationale behind specific outcomes. That means that AI users may find themselves following the advice of AI tools even though they don’t know why or how the tool produced that advice.
This lack of transparency raises ethical concerns about potential biases, discrimination, or inadvertent errors in algorithmic decisions, which can impact customer trust. Ethical considerations also extend to issues of privacy, as the use of AI in ecommerce often involves handling sensitive customer data.
Is AI only beneficial for large ecommerce businesses, or can smaller businesses also use it?
While there may be initial cost considerations, AI can be beneficial for businesses of all sizes. Smaller ecommerce businesses can start with targeted AI applications, such as personalized marketing or chatbots, to enhance customer experiences and gradually expand their use of AI as their operations grow.
What challenges are associated with implementing AI in ecommerce?
Common challenges include issues with data quality and privacy, high initial implementation costs, complexity in integrating AI with existing systems, a shortage of skilled AI professionals, ethical concerns, and the need to build and maintain customer trust in AI-driven processes.
How AI is transforming ecommerce?
Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing are revolutionizing ecommerce through personalized experiences, streamlined support, and enhanced inventory management. From dynamic pricing strategies to AI-driven logistics, AI tools are reshaping the online shopping landscape for increased efficiency and individually-tailored customer journeys.
Artificial intelligence can help you reach new levels of success in the ecommerce industry if you can stay on top of a rapidly evolving tech landscape. AI makes it easier to deliver a seamless customer experience across several channels at once, create personalized messaging, and leverage data like never before.
Luckily, more and more AI-powered tools for ecommerce businesses are becoming available, helping small and medium-sized stores access the advanced capabilities that only big players have been able to use up until now.
OptiMonk’s Smart Product Page Optimizer, Smart Personalizer, and Smart A/B Testing can help you make use of the powerful AI that exists today. Book a demo now, and start enjoying the benefits of artificial intelligence!