Posted: 5 January 2018
Savvy online shoppers know their time has value. The best deals save money and don’t take hours to find.
Online marketers know they don’t have a lot of time to get your attention and show you why their product is for you.
Enter Artificial intelligence (AI).
Rapid implementation of AI in the ecommerce marketplace gives marketers greater ability to reach consumers and generate revenue.
But how does that help you, as a consumer?
Here’s an overview of how AI affects online shopping and what you need to know as you search for deals and special offers.
You know the thrill of finding a discount or online coupon for the exact item you were looking for? Many times, you can thank AI for that.
In the ecommerce marketplace, websites collect a variety of data points that help them know what you’re looking for. Often, they can also understand your financial expectations.
With that information, they can offer you a price that too good to pass up. Or, if they don’t offer the product themselves, they can display an ad that will take you to a site where you can buy the product. For the click, the original site could earn a referral fee.
Or, let’s say you check hotel availability for a trip you’re taking next month. In a fraction of a second, a restaurant in that same city could buy that data from the booking website. Then, the next time you search for anything to do with that city, you could see a special offer for a meal at the restaurant. Valid only during the week of your trip. What luck!
All personalization happens fractions of seconds before you see what you see onscreen. Businesses use companies like Kybotech to help them develop the best ways to attract and engage customers so that they click and make purchases.
Many times, personalization is beneficial to both you and the company. But be mindful that this isn’t always the case.
Based on your browsing history and patterns, AI can also recognize times when you’re eager to buy something. Maybe even be willing to pay a little more. In those cases, they can make the price higher than usual without you noticing a thing.
With personalization, companies can increase profits by 6%-10%.
For consumers, there are a few ways to help keep AI in the dark, especially about price sensitivity and time limitations.
- Clear your browsing history and cookies every day.
- Use one browser (e.g. Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Explorer, Firefox) to research products; use another to make the purchase.
- Use one device to research and another to purchase. Don’t sign into your Google account on either device.
AI has taken the ecommerce marketplace to a new level with visual search. Here’s an example to illustrate the wonder of this functionality.
Let’s say you’re hunting for the perfect gift for your fashionista friend. She has this killer blue dress and you want to give her a purse that would look great with it.
You upload a photo of your friend’s dress. Clicking on the dress, you then choose the visual search option on a shopping site and request exact match or complementary. The results will show you items in the exact or complementary colors
How cool is that?
Websites and search engines can also use visual searches to direct you to where you can buy the exact or similar item to one in a picture. You get exactly what you want and save time doing it.
Getting To Know You
From the merchants’ perspective, AI revolutionizes customer records management (CRM).
CRM is how companies keep track of everything they know about you. They document each time they interact with you and you with them.
Years ago, customer records were basic. Name, address, phone number, and dates and amounts of purchases. If you were a highly profitable customer, there might be an asterisk beside your name to make sure you received extra attention.
Artificial intelligence further refines that functionality. It can pull data from multiple sources, including your browsing history, into a CRM system.
With AI integrated into a CRM, companies can use algorithms to predict what you’ll ask or do next. That enables them to be proactive in their communication and promotions.
For example, a dental office in your town could have online ads that appear when local people visit specific websites about weddings. Each click on the ad creates a new record in their CRM.
Then, every click you make on the dental office site is recorded and added to the CRM. That enables AI-driven content and chat boxes to appear.
So, if you clicked on the ad on the wedding site, the dental site could display content about how to have a beautiful smile on the big day. The chat box prompt could be: “Do you have a major event coming up? Ask me how to brighten your smile for selfies and professional photographs.”
And, each time you click or type on while on the dental site, your CRM file grows. AI “gets to know you” a little more. The content you see feels more relevant and engagement feels more authentic.
You have a better experience. The business has a better chance of making you a customer.
Customer Service Conversations
Once you are a customer, AI can make customer service better for you and the company.
The speed at which AI can understand what you’re asking is great. But what’s remarkable is its ability to understand context.
In an AI-enabled ecommerce marketplace, computers can respond to most customer service queries and requests with high accuracy and natural language. Most users don’t realize they’re typing back to a machine, not a person.
The capacity for artificial intelligence to collect, store and index every comment and question typed into a form, chat box, or comment field is endless. Even more powerful is its capacity to retrieve the information and apply it in a way that is unique to the situation.
Because there’s no flesh and blood customer service rep, conversations are faster and resolutions come sooner. People need time to understand the situations, formulate answers, and type responses. AI can do all that in a fraction of the time.
You save time. The company saves time. Another win-win in the ecommerce marketplace.
Closing Thought About the Ecommerce Marketplace
As you search for deals and special offers on the web, it’s impossible to know how much artificial intelligence is at work behind the scenes.
If that’s a concern for you, practice daily “cyber hygiene”. Browse in “incognito” mode. Clear cookies and your browser history. Use multiple browsers and devices. Turn off locating services. Turn security settings to “high”.
But keep in mind that one of the most compelling attributes of the ecommerce marketplace is the speed at which you can get what you want. And AI is a central part of that.
Check this blog regularly for more tips and insights. New posts are added all the time!