- Create customer-centric search
Amir Konigsberg is the current CEO of Twiggle, a business that enables e-commerce search engines to think the way humans do. Watch any recent interviews with Amir and he will tell you that consumers often abandon e-commerce experiences because the product results displayed are often irrelevant. To tackle this problem, Twiggle utilises natural language processing to narrow, contextualise and ultimately improve search results for online shoppers.
Another business that is trying to improve e-commerce search is US-based tech start-up Clarifai. Clarifai’s early work has been focused on the visual elements of search and, as their website states, their software is ‘artificial intelligence with a vision’. They enable developers to build smarter apps that ‘see the world like you do’, empowering businesses to develop a customer-centric experience through advanced image and video recognition.
Leveraging machine learning, the AI software automatically tags, organises and visually searches content by labelling features of the image or video. Read more about their Custom Training, which allows you to build bespoke models where you can teach AI to understand any concept, whether it’s a logo, product, aesthetic, or Pokemon. You can then use these new models, in conjunction with existing pre-built models (e.g. general, colour, food, wedding, travel etc.) to browse or search media assets using keyword tags or visual similarity.
The AI technology gives businesses a competitive edge and is available to developers or businesses of any size or budget. A great example is Pinterest’s recent update of its Chrome extension, which enables users to select an item in any photograph online, and then ask Pinterest to surface similar items using image recognition software.
- Retarget potential customers
According to Conversica, at least 33% of marketing leads are not followed up by the sales team. This means that pre-qualified potential buyers interested in your product or service, fall through the inevitable cracks. Furthermore, many businesses are overloaded with unmanageable customer data that they do little or nothing with. This is an incredible goldmine of intelligence that could be used to enhance the sales cycle.
For instance, if we take a deeper look at the retail industry, facial recognition is already being used to capture shoplifters by scanning their faces on CCTV cameras.
But how can AI be used to enhance a customer’s shopping experience? Well, some businesses are now using facial recognition to capture customer dwell times in the physical store.
This means that if a customer spends a notable amount of time next to a specific product e.g. an iPod, then this information will be stored for use upon their next visit. As AI develops, we anticipate special offers on customer’s computer screens based on their in-store dwell time. In other words, omni-channel retailers are starting to make progress in their ability to remarket to customers. The face of sales is changing with businesses responding directly to the customer. It is as if businesses are reading the minds of customers and it’s all thanks to the data used with AI.
- Identify exceptional target prospects
New AI technology arms e-commerce businesses with the timely intelligence required to solve their business challenges such as lead generation. Predictive marketing businesses such as Mintigo, provide AI solutions for marketing, sales and CRM systems. Through Mintigo’s software, Getty images has successfully generated significant new leads by capturing the data that shows which businesses have websites featuring images from Getty’s competitors.
- Create a more efficient sales process
Thankfully, just about all of us have moved on from the days of old sales techniques such as picking up the trusty Yellow Pages and pestering potential clients through cold-calling. Customer’s lives are now heavily influenced by a variety of different media from TV adverts to social media. In fact, in the past 12 months, even Snapchat has established itself as a viable sales and marketing tool, opening up new opportunities.
If you want to tailor your problem-solving solutions and create a strong sales message that reaches consumers at the right time on the right platform, then integrating AI into your CRM is the way to go. Many AI systems enable natural language learning and voice input such as Siri or Alexa. This allows a CRM system to answer customer queries, solve their problems and even identify new opportunities for the sales team. Some AI-driven CRM systems can even multitask to handle all these functions and more.
The North Face, a large e-commerce retailer, is a great example of a company stepping up their game by using AI to better understand their consumers. By using IBM’s AI solution called Watson, they enable online shoppers to discover their perfect jacket. They achieve this by asking the customer questions e.g. “where and when will you be using your jacket?” through voice input AI technology. IBM’s software then scans hundreds of products to find perfect matches based on real-time customer input and its own research e.g. such as weather conditions in the local area.
- Create a new level of personalisation across multiple devices
Personalisation is nothing new for e-commerce and if you frequently use Amazon then you’ll know exactly what we’re referring to. However, with the ever-increasing advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, new deep levels of personalisation have started to penetrate the fast-growing e-commerce world.
Whereas AI based personalisation for e-commerce takes the multi-channel approach. New AI engines, such as Boomtrain, sit on top of the multiple customer touch points to help the business analyse how customers are interacting online. Whether it is a mobile application, the website, or an email campaign, the AI engine is continuously monitoring all devices and channels to create a universal customer view. This unified customer view enables e-commerce retailers to deliver a seamless customer experience across all platforms.
The next time a customer is browsing iPhone cases on your website, they may receive a push notification on their mobile, informing them about your flash sale for iPhone cases. They directly make the purchase on their phone, saving a lot of steps for both parties.