Yes, we already are in the Smart Machines era.
Today, a machine asks a human certain questions and verifies whether he/she is really a human. There are machines everywhere and with everyone. And this already huge count is only going to increase further. For every need/want of yours, you will find a machine that is currently sufficing it or one which is in the development phase. Advancement is giving us new, progressively innovative technologies and thus enabling us to match the pace of the ever-changing world around us.
So, the Smart Humans use the smartest of machines to achieve the key goal of every business today i.e. Customer Experience.
The CX domain has clearly gained an immense amount of attention in the Martech world today and has also turned out to be the prime focus area. Safe to say, Customer Experience has taken centre stage!
And this brings us to the million-dollar question, “How do I actually enhance the Customer Experience I offer?”
Taking into account the hottest Martech trends, the answer to that is “Personalization”.
As per Gartner, “Organizations that focus their personalized messaging around helping consumers can expect 16% more impact on commercial outcomes than those that don’t.”
The question is not ‘Personalization or No personalization’ anymore. Today, it’s all about how powerful and accurate your personalization is.
And what determines how good your Personalization is? Yes, your Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence capabilities.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is here, Big and Bold. Along with all the business use cases, it now impacts our daily lives. Starting right from face and voice recognition to completing the holistic picture of IoT and Smart cities, AI is starting to live up to its expectations. Government initiatives, security measures, social credit and healthcare industries are realizing a welcome transformation with AI.
But what is that one thing that has excited people worldwide, especially marketers?
The boon of ‘AI plus Personalization’.
You talk to any marketer around the globe and they’ll go gaga about how this killer combination is enabling them to re-invent and offer the best-in-class customer experience. The e-commerce segment significantly stands out when we talk about the ‘AI plus Personalization’ transformation.
Gone are the days of plain vanilla customized messages to customers to check your latest offers. Today, your customer expects to receive a personalized message content, personalized offers and recommendations via their preferred channel at their preferred time. So, all they have to do is to click on the product to buy and even the payment gets completed via their preferred mode of transaction. While the top players have decoded this problem statement and there are some excellent examples of personalized offerings, there is still room for improvement.
In the current day, if you aren’t showing your customer exactly what he/she is looking for, you can be rest assured they won’t be your customers for long. It is now becoming a mandate for the e-commerce players to offer the best personalized experience. No doubt, we are seeing some of the biggest investments and acquisitions being done in the AI and Personalization space. Let’s be honest. You need these capabilities to delight your customers. Either you build them in-house or you get them on-board is a decision you need to make pretty quick if you already haven’t.
With AI, personalization in e-commerce can be levelled up to greater heights. With each passing day, we realise that the scope is immensely vast and innovations in these spaces are continuously transforming the offerings the businesses intend to provide. Listing down the 5 key functional areas where the ‘AI plus Personalization’ boon can work wonders in e-commerce:
- Intelligent Predictions and Product RecommendationsPredict exactly what the customer wants and show them the same. Go a step forward and recommend products on what they are currently looking for and what they will look in the near future.A customer’s behavioral data, eyeball data, intent data and their preference of style, colour, size, specs, price etc. are all taken into account and analyzed to come up with the best and the most intelligent predictions and recommendations. Better the predictions and recommendations, higher will be your conversions and thus the profit margins.McKinsey estimated that 35 % of consumer purchases on Amazon come from product recommendations, although the e-commerce giant itself has never revealed its own estimates.
- “AI plus Personalization’ driven Image Search FunctionalityThis is a capability that excites me the most. AI capabilities are constantly making the search functionality all the more powerful. For e-commerce players, the image search functionality is by far the most potent search offering capability offered.Around three-quarters of U.S. internet users regularly or always search for visual content prior to making a purchase, according to eMarketer; only 3% never do.Like something that you see? Just click a picture and get to know everything about the product. This was very popular for comparing the prices in-store but this can go a long way. With much improved AI capabilities, the buyer can click the picture of the object anywhere and then via personalization, they get the best offers and recommendations to choose from. Product discovery and customer engagement shall be drastically improved via this resulting into more conversions.Also Read: AI-Powered Real-Time Personalization: 6 Popular Alternatives to Dynamic Yield
- Personalized and Automated E-mail MarketingEveryone talks about offering a personalized experience to their customers on their websites or apps. But, do not stop there. There should be a focus laid on creating personalized and automated e-mail marketing campaigns. Personalized emails, tailored to the journey progress of each user can address a vast list of concerns and in-turn, can help you in generating the highest ROI.Personalized automated e-mails give you an excellent opportunity to showcase your creativity and even add a pinch of humour with the content you send across. The entire buying process can be made very simple for the buyer with one timely e-mail depending on their current journey stage and redirecting them to website/app to complete the process from where they had left.
- Virtual Assistants as a Personalization toolWith AI-powered Virtual Assistants, you are entitled to get the in-store experience sitting miles away on your comfortable couch. And with the injection of personalization to this, you can interact with the modern chatbots and they can extract customer details by interacting with the customer databases and thus, providing you the best personalized shopping experience in real-time.With Augmented Reality, customers can be shown exactly how they will look after trying the different products in real-time. This makes the decision process extremely efficient and results in enhancing the Customer Experience to great levels. Customer service, order processing, returns, and exchanges are areas where significant impact can be observed.
- AI-powered Voice Assistants for E-commerceWe are in the age of Alexa, Google Home, Siri etc. And by 2021, the dominance of Voice Assistants is only predicted to increase further. Voice-only commands, voice-exclusive deals etc. will soon become a typical norm in the e-commerce segment. The ‘out-of-the-box’ voice assistants will transform the e-commerce experience for buyers providing the best seamless customer experience as far as finding the right product and deal for a particular individual is concerned.In fact, 69% of e-commerce brands see voice ordering as an opportunity.
“Today’s smart retailer is engaging in a new era of shopping experience, combining the human touch and technology to deliver a more tailored consumer experience.” – Guita Blake, Sr. VP, Mindtree
‘AI plus Personalization’ is here to stay and transform the customer experience with every passing day. The smallest details, the smallest activities, the smallest interaction can be pure gold dust as far as personalization is concerned and give you the exact insight of your customer. There is plenty of data out there. You just need the best Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence capabilities to harness its’ maximum potential in order to delight your customers day in, day out!