Artificial intelligence is more than just a buzzword, and is now deeply embedded in our daily lives, whether we recognize it or not.
Simply put, machines are learning how to assist us with the tasks that we’d usually have to undertake, and they are getting incredibly good at their jobs, allowing us humans to do more. With machines now able to complete mundane tasks, we can focus on diving deeper into the things that previously we never had the time to accomplish.
Artificial intelligence in e-commerce
Since we live in a global economy where sales happen at all hours of the day and consumers can purchase goods from all over the world, businesses need to be operating on all cylinders, always ready to serve their customers. AI in e-commerce allows organizations to collect and analyze data in real-time, allowing businesses to be more efficient, and to personalize the customer experience based on what they know about that customer.
The ability of e-commerce sites to offer 24/7 support to their customers is thanks to chatbots. Providing a seamless brand experience, these bots have grown beyond their initial clunky replies to rather intelligent beings that can communicate effectively with visitors.
“More and more retailers are using chat bots on websites and through chat applications such as Facebook Messenger. Potential customers can communicate with them using speech and/or text. The bots will assess and answer customer questions, provide assistance in the selection process, and execute simple tasks,” notes Mark de Bruijn in his post on robots and AI in retail.
In the past, customer relationship management (CRM) heavily relied on people to collect and analyze data in order to best serve their clients. Today AI can quickly sift through countless data and accurately predict which customers are more likely to make a purchase, and how you can best engage with them.
“Being able to sift through and analyze years of customer data to pinpoint trends and tailor your actions is something we’ve been building towards for a long time. And now, it’s a task that tends to fall to our sales staff. But with machine learning, your advanced cloud CRM solution can learn over time to forecast and score deals with greater accuracy, freeing up those sales team members to focus on building and nurturing relationships that add value to the business. Sales reps will more easily reach their numbers, managers will see teams meeting and exceeding revenue goals. Machine learning offers the ability to simplify your organization by leveraging all this data you’ve collected,” Shalini Mitha points out in her post on AI being the future for sales.
Cohesiveness makes things run smoother, and IoT offers connectivity for all facets of daily life. From syncing multiple devices to programming your lights, washing machine, car, and appliances, while also monitoring city traffic lights and air quality, the Internet of Things is improving life around the globe.
Traditional B2C retailers and B2B retailers alike can benefit greatly from IoT innovations. Tim Clark muses, “Like so many other tech buzzwords, ‘innovation’ is ripe for ridicule. Overused and abused, it pretty much describes what every Silicon Valley start-up and stalwart is pushing. So what happens when you actually come across something innovative in the tech space? How do you describe it? Cool? Simple Useful?” In his post highlighting some incredible technology, Tim predicts that the future of e-commerce is undoubtedly more amazing than we ever dreamed.
No matter how much our world changes, commerce relies upon sales, pure and simple. AI can assist with the entire customer journey, from prospecting to a sale, to service after the sale.
Swati Sinha explains, “AI can generate accurate revenue forecast predictions at a macro-level for sales managers by providing insights into sales trends segmented by sales organizations, sales reps, etc. This can help optimize the resource allocation to build healthy pipeline, analyze team performance, and be cost-effective. With prescriptive insight managers can gain perspective into the underlying reasons for sales trends, as well as actions needed to improve sales.”
Product content management
From managing inventory to cataloging products, AI allows businesses to provide seamless customer experiences by tracking and organizing important data and materials.
“To deliver unique, yet consistent, customer experiences across every touchpoint, it is very important that you take into account product content management (PCM). Managing the complexity of a product that’s available across global regions should be done centrally and adapted locally, allowing customers to have a consistent experience, whether they are shopping in the store, or online, and no matter where they are located,” says Gaston Edreira.
Outstanding customer service is crucial in this competitive economy. AI allows brands and businesses to focus on what matters most: Making the customer happy, and responding to their concerns, no matter the hour or day.
“A hybrid customer service environment finds that balance between man and machine. It leverages the best of AI while still utilizing agent knowledge and preserving customer context. While chatbots and machine learning techniques excel with Tier 1 service engagements by answering those common customer questions, they may not always have the answer to the more complex, situation or customer specific questions,” notes Lisa James.
“Since there will be fewer and fewer in-person interactions in the future, the importance of them will rise. Luckily, many routine tasks will be automated and customer service agents can concentrate on what they do best: Deliver value-adding personal service to your customers,” says Kirsi Tarvainen.
AI and machine learning doesn’t mean that the robots are taking over, though some feel this way. They aren’t frightening things; they offer opportunity to retailers to provide exactly what the customer wants, when they want it.
“Using AI, the representative can connect the dots to more intuitively help the customer. This doesn’t upset the customer. It saves them time and the frustration of explaining something repeatedly, rehashing details and trying to communicate their dilemma,” explains Michele Hackshall.
The future is now. It’s time to embrace AI for all that it has to offer the world of commerce and beyond.
For more on this topic, see The Future Of Customer Service = The Best Of Man And Machine.
Find out how you can improve customer service.