Defined as commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet, eCommerce has become staunchly embedded in our economy. According to Oberlo, “It’s estimated that there will be 2.05 billion global digital buyers in 2020.” That staggering number is roughly 25 percent of the world’s population. With that number of online transactions, no business, big or small, will be untouched by eCommerce. Oberlo states “The number one reason people shop online is that they’re able to shop at all hours of the day.” With eCommerce comes a level of convenience that’s unavailable in physical stores.
This has become increasingly feasible as artificial intelligence becomes more closely tethered to both businesses and consumers in the eCommerce economy. With personalized marketing, chatbots, and voice-controlled assistants, consumers know what they want sooner, are able to inquire about products easier, and make their purchases faster. One may wonder how businesses can keep up with the efficiencies of AI in the buying experience, but with cloud-based ERP systems and supply chain management software, businesses can manage sales and inventory faster than ever—staying well prepared for online orders day and night.
As consumer data becomes the new crude oil in today’s economy, AI’s ability to digest and analyze that data has made personalized marketing campaigns incredibly sophisticated. By utilizing predictive analytics, businesses are able to deploy effective ad targeting, product recommendations, and even dynamic websites “where web page content changes depending on a visitor’s purchase data.”
Nowadays, consumers are increasingly weary of inauthentic advertising schemes and marketers are faced with the challenge of personalizing customers’ user experience while utilizing the capabilities of artificial intelligence. One way they have dealt with this hurdle is through personalized messaging. By generating email content based on data gathered from consumers, marketers are able to create content for specific customers. This approach feels more authentic to consumers and in turn, they are more likely to remain loyal to a certain brand. The use of AI in marketing is bringing customer’s better information and in turn, moving them through the sales funnel much faster.
Chatbots and Voice Controlled Assistants
As marketing has become more sophisticated, so too have the buying habits of consumers. According to DialogTech, “81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying.” Whether making a purchase in a physical store or online, it’s almost guaranteed that a responsible consumer will complete their due diligence before making a purchase. For businesses, this means you should be providing the absolute best resources for your customers. If a customer is unable to do thorough research about your products on your own website but they can on a competitor’s webpage, your chances of winning out will likely be significantly diminished.
One resource businesses can offer online is the use of chatbots to assist customers by navigating the site, offering product recommendations, providing customer support, and even completing purchases. This will help consumers conduct their research, and give them confidence that assistance will be available when the need arises for customer support.
Another great resource to have connected to your eCommerce platform is the ability to use voice-controlled assistants, like the Amazon Echo and Google Home Mini. If your product has the capability to be controlled by these tools through the Internet of Things, customers are likely to be influenced to purchase your product over others.
The potential use of voice assistants on nearly any eCommerce site is growing quickly, too. This will provide a more personal experience for users and will soon be a customer expectation for any eCommerce site. In anticipation, it would behoove any online retailer to be prepared for this technology to become available.
Businesses Keeping up With AI
While customer interactions continue to evolve as AI creeps into every shopping experience, AI in cloud-based ERP systems is reshaping eCommerce behind the scenes, making business processes faster, more accurate, and more connected than ever before. By centrally locating everything from ledgers, to logistics, businesses are able to utilize AI’s ability to do predictive analysis and make important business decisions based on their findings.
An ERP system connects the stockroom clerk to the CFO and allows a business to act fluidly as new logistic obstacles arise. The system connects coworkers in real-time so that small problems can be solved quickly and not grow into bigger messes. The ability to collect real-time data also helps businesses make decisions based on insights from AI. That means as customers are buying products day and night through eCommerce sites, businesses can stay on top of the constant need to move those products around the world.
One has to wonder how soon AI will be deploying shipments based on predictive analysis of data gathered from past logistics. Will the supply chain be managed in part by artificial intelligence? With AI growing ever-more prevalent in our economy and society, to what extent will AI be involved in eCommerce? With AI already taking stock of the groceries in our refrigerators, how long until it is ordering a refreshment for the groceries it knows you purchase every week so an ERP system can then ship it from the grocery store to your front door? When considering AI’s role in eCommerce, it is hard to imagine how much further it will evolve. The opportunities are infinite, what remains to be seen is the role AI is going to play in reshaping our existing shopping behaviors and hence eCommerce