If you’ve ever run an online search for the lowest airline fare you’ve probably been sent to a site which links, you out to 20 other popups to compare.
How about shopping for your dream car from home. The concept seems easy enough. Type your location, the make and model, and a few specifications which fit your budget. It seems simple in theory, but the concept of search fatigue is often linked to these “simple” searches, simply because sites/companies aren’t employing the right tools, to point their customers in the right direction.
Online shopping has made our lives so much easier from a technical standpoint. We can shop from the comfort of your homes, for nearly any consumer good we want to purchase. With the sheer volume of product listings and comparison sites customers are taken to when shopping, can drive even the savviest online shopper crazy. Companies which aren’t utilizing the right intelligence tools, are losing out on a great opportunity to better target customer shopping experiences, create a more enjoyable shopping experience, and are pointing their customer base to the realm they want to avoid, which is known as search fatigue.
What’s the Solution to your Problem as a Marketer/Business?
Step into the world of AI search tools. You’ve probably heard of the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and maybe even thought to yourself as a marketer… “These machines are going to steal my job!” Let’s take a step back. Sure, AI tools are more intuitive and can complete more tasks in less time than us (human counterparts). However, when properly implemented in the online shopping and e-commerce world, these tools can help rather than hinder a company’s ability to reach their audience, and better suggest the right products/services. That is, of course, when they are properly utilized within the business organization’s sales process.
Just step back for a second and look at how many industries AI tools are being implemented into. Think about how companies are utilizing AI. From knowing what customers are searching for, before they begin a query, to better-suggesting travel locations based upon previous vacations a customer has taken, AI tools can truly revolutionize the manner in which companies market to their audience. As an online marketer imagine how you can implement these tools to help customers. When properly integrated with other marketing tactics these tools are going to help your business grow.
Ultimately, you want to provide your consumer audience the best resources which will make their online shopping experience more enjoyable. You want to avoid search fatigue and tiring out your audience, with irrelevant product suggestions. By properly implementing AI tools which help reduce search fatigue, your business is going to see growth and increased profit margins. Rather than lose out on sales because your shopping cart feature is suggesting products your audience would never consider purchasing, AI tools will help create a more targeted and engaging shopping experience for your audience.
How Can AI Improve Search Results & Reduce Searcher’s Fatigue?
The end goal for any company is to attract more visitors, close more sales, and retain their audience. AI tools can help companies achieve said goals. How exactly will AI help your business make improved suggestions to your customers and avoid the search fatigue syndrome? These are a few ways artificial intelligence can be utilized.
Creating Customer-Centric Searches –
Remember the earlier example of consumers being inundated with dozens upon dozens of links just to compare an airline ticket? Or, think about how many different types of high-heels women can choose from, when shopping for the perfect shoes to match their dress for a work function. If consumers must shop through hundreds of links and products, just to find one which comes remotely close to what they’re looking for, this really detracts from the benefit (and time savings) which online shopping is intended to promote.
By creating “customer-centric” searches, AI tools will better help customers find exactly what they’re looking for, in a fraction of the time. Consumers tend to abandon e-commerce sites because product suggestions displayed are irrelevant. By utilizing natural language processing, not only can AI tools better target products which are closely related to the consumer’s original search but will also actually deliver suggestions to products which are more closely linked to similar products they would consider purchasing.
This Pinterest update is a great example of how the company has relied on AI tools to make the shopping process more enjoyable for shoppers. They simply select an item online and ask Pinterest to resurface similar suggestions. No more suggestions for coffee pots, when the customer is clearly shopping for lighting or home décor!
Monitor all Marketing Channels for Personalization –
You simply can’t forget that consumers are shopping on multiple platforms. As a business, you obviously understand that you need a mobile as well as a desktop website. However, it doesn’t end there! AI solutions can offer greater benefits and improve the shopping experience through different tools for businesses.
Increasing advances in AI and machine-learning technologies has brought personalization of the online shopping process to an entirely new level. One such example of this is Zeta (formerly Boomtrain). The company utilizes multiple points to better understand a consumer’s online interaction. Mobile apps, websites, and email campaigns are monitored; this in turn helps companies deliver a perfectly-tailored shopping experience, through multiple platforms.
So, the next time consumers are shopping for a new laptop case, if your company is promoting a flash sale, or 50% off sale, customers will receive a notification of the sale. This eliminates the need for them to visit multiple sites to find a sale, plus it promotes your products, without having to perform additional marketing/sales promos, to reach new audiences for your company.
Implementing an Efficient Sales Process –
Another way companies can reduce searcher’s fatigue is implementing the proper sales process. An efficient process, which eliminates the need for consumers to scan through dozens of pages before finding a product of interest, can greatly improve consumer-retention rates and repeat sales.
Many AI systems enable natural language learning and voice input solutions (think of Siri or Alexa for a minute). This, in turn, allows CRM systems to easily answer queries, and identify new opportunities for their sales team. Multitasking and handling multiple internal company functions is something the most advanced AI systems can do today.
Solutions such as IBM’s Watson are perfect for many companies. By simply asking customers different questions through voice technology, the AI platform will scan hundreds of thousands of products (from many different companies) delivering real-time results to customers. And, many AI systems even allow customers to interject specific brand names or parameters (i.e. uses for a product, sizes, colors, etc.), which can further enhance the sales process.
Source: IBM Corporation
The Rise of Chatbots –
“Conversational e-commerce” is a revolutionary approach businesses are integrating today, to reduce search fatigue. Introducing the chatbot! Visual, vocal, and predictive capabilities working together, to suggest the perfect product for your consumers to purchase.
Because consumers’ needs are constantly evolving, even the smartest businesses find it difficult to keep up with the changes at times. The inclusion of artificial intelligence, in the form of the chatbot, is a great option to drive the conversation. Or, at least it is a simple way for consumers to ask questions and receive relevant suggestions for specific products of interest.
Chatbots further allow businesses to better interact with their customers. An improvement in customer service will not only help drive sales, but also better funnel the search parameters for customers. In turn, more sales will occur, and companies won’t have to spend more to market products outside of the platforms customers are already searching on.
Chatbots provide a valuable customer support solution in the world of e-commerce. Contact forms and emails are great; but, chatbots have the appeal of instant gratification your audience is looking for. It is the fastest way to reply to inquiries, it keeps the customer on your site during the duration of the chat, and ultimately, it increases the likelihood of a purchase being made.
Improved Customer Recommendations –
Ultimately, this is the end goal with AI on e-commerce platforms. If you can better predict what customers want to buy, and make targeted-recommendations, no longer does your audience have to scour 25 different links or sites, to find the best price for airline tickets (or those high-heels they’ve been trying to find for weeks).
Starbucks is just one of the many companies which has utilized AI to analyze data. Their new prototype “My Barista”, enables their customer to place orders using messaging or voice commands. Account information, customer preference, third-party data, and previous order history, are a few of the algorithm inputs used, allowing the chain to deliver better suggestions to customers and deliver personalized messages to their customers.
Starbucks isn’t the only leader which makes suggestions. Amazon makes suggestions based upon previous purchases customers have made. Netflix suggests shows based on series their audience has watched or have stored on their account to watch later. eBay takes it a step further, and hand collects feedback left by shoppers, to create suggestions of sellers/items they might be interested in purchasing.
Source: Cassandra Summit 2016
What does this Mean for Companies in the Future?
With continual changes and upgrades being made in the world of AI, this is just the starting point which companies can rely upon to help make more informed suggestions to customers. AI tools are continually being improved upon, to help companies better suggest products/services for their audience and reduce search fatigue.
“Artificial” intelligence isn’t artificial at all. It allows businesses to better tailor suggestions to their audience, which will ultimately help them close on more sales. It allows companies to communicate more clearly. And, it allows them to make more narrowly tailored suggestions, which their audience will find relevant to their prior purchase history.
By analyzing data for your customers, AI empowers sales teams and personalizes the sales cycle like never before. It helps the seller engage with their audience at the right time, the right message, and better close on sales. And, ultimately, it will help end that search fatigue consumers are all too familiar with, which results in more lost sales, profits, and customer-base, which businesses are trying to avoid.