Traditional vs. Machine-Based (AI) E-Commerce: The Race to Higher ROI

By Jason Little
7 minute read

E-commerce has forever altered the consumer shopping experience as we know it.

 

Right this moment, brick-and-mortar businesses are crumbling under the pressure, placed upon them by e-commerce retailers. And consumers are responding. Statista predicts that worldwide e-commerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion by 2021.

As an online retailer, you’re used to offering your customers wide selection, low prices, ultra-convenience, comparison shopping, and immense value, all at the click of a button.

And like most e-sellers, you employ a variety of technologies and methods to engage and convert your prospective buyers. Your digital footprint may involve a highly-performing and fast-loading website, engaging and unique content marketing, social marketing, paid advertising, A/B testing, and ongoing platform optimization.

These elements, after all, represent the basics of any e-commerce marketing strategy.

However, to maximize your fingerhold on market share, it becomes important to select the method of operating your e-commerce business that will yield the highest return on your investment.

And to remain competitive year-after-year, you should always be on the lookout for emerging technologies that can help you stay in line with popular platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba.

The Power of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) represents the very technology that can help you offer a more memorable and personalized experience like never before.

While AI sounds like something out of science fiction, the technology is already being used by e-sellers around the world. Used correctly, the technology can level the playing field for the average e-commerce business owner.

Here are just a few ways you can compete with the Big Three e-sellers and snag a bigger piece of the market pie with the power of AI.

 

Personalization

As an online seller, you’re not able to look your customers in the eye and explain the value of your goods and services like you could at a brick-and-mortar shop. Yet, even with automation and modern tools for personalization, traditional systems tend not to scale well, making communication seem hollow the bigger your organization gets.

 

The Machine-Learning Advantage at Any Scale

AI platforms now exist that allow you to optimize email messages and even your website content for every visitor who lands on your site. From email flow and traffic analysis to website conversions, these systems automate the practice of keeping buyers in the loop. The best part is that they can be personalized to such a degree, users will be hard-pressed to determine if it’s a bot or human on the other end.

Nova, for example, uses AI-powered personalization to deliver emails, make phone calls, complete social tasks, as well as analyze advanced analytics. No longer do you need an entire team to keep up with customer communications. The system does it for you, including research and writing, to help your brand avoid Spam folders while earning more loyalty and repeat business.

 

Product Recommendations

E-commerce shoppers have long complained about irrelevant product search results. Like search engines, e-commerce sites are known for their keyword-based algorithms. The problem is that “blue dress shirt” may deliver results about blue dresses and blue shirts with no way to discern between the user’s intent. Similarly, “bike helmet” may return bikes, bike products, and helmets, much to the frustration of users.

AI can tackle this problem by contextualizing and sharpening search results for online shoppers by machine-learning over time. In effect, these systems are designed to hear and see the world as humans do, allowing AI to tag, organize and search through content, be it text, image, video or otherwise.

Automat provides Conversational Marketing to offer one-on-one conversations at any scale. The system can be used to offer product recommendations and brand messaging while customizing the experience for every consumer.

Enquire is a key conversion tool that uses natural language to deliver what visitors want. The system makes your website’s search functionality simple, yet powerful, by understanding buyer intent to prevent irrelevant results for more delighted customers.

DialogFlow uses natural language learning to build natural and rich conversational experiences, including on your website, mobile app, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Facebook Messenger, and wearable tech. Built by Google’s machine learning technology and optimized for Google Assistant, this system is user-friendly, intuitive, and effective at letting you scale to hundreds of millions of users.

Content Marketing

Along with initial research and to improve your marketing campaigns over time, you’re accustomed to crunching the numbers provided by Google Analytics and similar platforms to understand how your marketing efforts are performing over time. This information can then be used to tweak your campaigns to boost conversions.

Once again, the problem with traditional systems is scale. Having the numbers available isn’t quite enough. The information must be analyzed properly and acted upon quickly.  

Furthermore, you might be among the 42% marketers who cite interpreting results as the biggest challenge they face when it comes to conversion optimization.

With AI, analyzing and understanding analytics data becomes a seamless and useful affair. Not only can AI analyze immense amounts of web traffic with ease, but the information can be used to improve the e-commerce platform and overall user experience in real time.

Albert is the world’s first and only AI marketing platform. The system requires little human manipulation and yet can execute seamlessly across all channels, including mobile, social, email, search, and display. Albert removes the tedium from marketing by performing many of the manual tasks typically reserved for humans with speed and scale. The most amazing aspect of this and other AI systems is that Albert is constantly learning so as to maintain constant optimization and analysis of campaigns over time.

Sizmek is yet another AI platform that creates personalized branded experiences across all channels, including social, to personalize and optimize like never before.

Rocco AI is a social media bot that can help to improve user engagement on social networks by suggesting content deemed most attractive to users.  

LiftIgniter is an AI system that analyzes site visitors’ preferences to show each one customized content.  With the perfect match between visitors and products in real-time, LiftIgniter is said to boost user engagement and clicks by over 60%.

Persado is a revolutionary cloud AI solution that discovers and generates the very language and emotions that will cause your prospects to act and become customers. The system can be used to boost short-term sales and grow long-term relationships, essentially recreating the face-to-face human experience online consumers crave.

When it comes to your site’s design, EyeQuant uses machine learning to test the visual impact of any design instantly. The AI platform can even be used on your product images and other visual elements without the need for tracking code and with only a single click.

BloomReach is another AI platform that uses machine learning to improve your website’s structure, content, landing pages, and even maximize your SEO to drive immense amounts of traffic your way.

 

Conclusion

If you think these AI systems are unreachable for the everyday e-seller, think again. The technology is gradually penetrating the business process of e-commerce sellers at every level, and with a high prediction for an increase in return on investment.

The best part is that you don’t need to learn these systems or understand how they work to put them to good use. With the use of APIs, you can connect these innovative systems to your platform seamlessly, and with ease.

This is a good thing for all e-sellers, and even buyers, as AI is going to continue to alter the shopping experience to give buyers what they want most.

The time to jump on board with artificial intelligence is now, as Narrative Science depicts that 62% of enterprises will use AI technologies by 2018. Make sure your e-commerce business doesn’t get left behind.

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