Artificial intelligence is a game-changer for multiple spheres of our everyday lives. It influences many of our decisions, it modifies the way we look for things, helps us save our time, and even alters our shopping habits. But what does this mean for online store owners?
There are many things that influence an eCommerce store’s success: the quality and pricing of the sold products, customer service, how well the site is running, it’s UX and UI, simplicity of navigation, visual appeal, and site speed, to name a few. That’s why website speed optimization, building a progressive web application, and overall site improvement have to be the step that appears before the one when you jump over to adding advanced functionality with AI.
In any case, since artificial intelligence is a step in the direction of the future, there are beneficial things you can obtain if it’s implemented in eCommerce and sales. In this article, we’ll introduce you to five ways in which you can use AI to your advantage and grow your revenues. Plus, we’ll provide examples of famous brands and companies that are already using such solutions to give you a better understanding and some inspiration.
1. AI Chatbots to the Rescue
Among the goals of any online business is to distribute and use resources wisely. That said, if any manual work can be automated, why waste time and money for having real employees spend human working hours on it?
Artificial intelligence can be of great help when it comes to chatbots. By “teaching” the bot to give replies to frequently asked questions based on predefined script scenarios, you can “grow” it into a great assistant. A helper and somewhat customer support force that’s available to your clients online 24/7.
And the best part about it is that AI-bots, like humans, get better at what they do. As some time passes, the bot learns to single out those situations when it wasn’t able to help out, giving you the chance to improve its capabilities.
To provide you with an example, below you can see how the chatbot of the Eurostar trains service looks like. It pitches often-asked questions as topics that come up most frequently from users and offers to assist if the client wishes to inquire about something else. Just imagine what a huge chunk of human work this little fellow took on in 2020 when the service was most likely heavily loaded with recurring customer support requests due to the returns, refunds, and other travel restrictions that occurred because of COVID-19!
Screenshot taken on the official Eurostar website
- Chatbots that run based on artificial intelligence can help you to reduce loads of manual work since they are capable of handling repetitive tasks that deal with often-occurring client inquiries. The bot is available round-the-clock and gets smarter as time passes.
2. Cross-Selling & Upselling Blocks
As your online business expands, it becomes trickier to keep track of all the products that are on sale. Not to mention the difficulty that arises with the proper display of items that go well and sell well together. So why not let AI handle the problem?
Cross-selling and up-selling sections of a product page are an outstanding way to expand the average order sizes. People are much likelier to buy a matching product from the store when offered such a chance vividly rather than if they have to waste time searching for it or stumble upon it on their own.
But the biggest question here is are the items that you’re manually pitching really the ones that sell together best and most frequently? Let’s assume that a customer is browsing a hoodie. You’d assume that the best-fit match for up-selling here is a pair of jogging pants from the same collection or product line, and you pitch it in the section. While the assumption is more than logical and correct, in reality, it may appear that a matching face mask set is the actually most-often purchased thing in combo with the hoodie.
Do you see the point? When cross-selling blocks are handled by AI functionality, such cases of common behavioral shopping patterns are detected systematically, not based on assumptions. This can ultimately lead to better sales. To provide an example of a neat up-selling section, take a look at the “Complete The Look” block on a product page on the official Puma website.
Screenshot taken on the official Puma website
- Opting for an AI-based solution for handling cross-selling and up-selling product picks is a wise choice. It can systematically detect buying patterns and help to single out great combinations that’ll allow increasing average checks.
3. Personal “You May Also Like” Sections
Apart from your personalized product descriptions or good-old cold emails and drip campaigns, you can make your client’s shopping experience more individual using AI. The most obvious way to do that is by incorporating personalized product pick blocks across your online store.
Artificial intelligence has the ability (and time) to study every user, their customer journey on the website, which product pages they’ve browsed, what they’ve added to their cart, and what they’ve actually purchased. Likewise, it can then even categorize your clients into groups based on similarity in tastes and use their choices as a hint about what another person in the “group” might like. It’s a tricky algorithm but it works!
Having such data at disposal, AI can make the best choices about how to sequence items in a product grid or what to show in “Just For You” blocks of the website. Below is a screenshot from Columbia Sportswear with such a section.
Screenshot taken on the official Columbia Sportswear website
- If approached properly, personalized product picks can increase your sales. By hooking up AI to your online retail site for these purposes, you can suggest those items that a person is most likely to buy.
4. “Try It On” Virtually
When artificial intelligence and augmented reality meet, a flaming result is inevitable. Such modern functionality has taken everyone’s favored face mask apps to a completely new level and advantageously embraced their amazing features in the eCommerce world. Yes, you’ve got it right, we’re talking about virtual try-on.
The idea is as simple as it can get: a user switches on the camera of their smartphone or device and obtains the unique opportunity to get a real-time visual mirror-like experience of what the browsed item can look like on them or in their home.
The technology is already a hit in many online retail spheres as its main power (apart from the entertainment side of it) is pushing away doubts. Top-quality implementation can give the right “illusion” and help users to make up their minds faster. For instance, the shopper won’t need to rack their brains trying to decide which pair of sunglasses will suit them better as they’re trying to make an order online, the person can just turn on their camera and see.
Here’s such an option presented on the Maybelline New York website. Users can see how the product will look on them when applied, as well as see the difference in shades. Furthermore, this can also be done via photo upload which is a nice alternative.
Screenshot taken on the official Maybelline New York website
- Virtual try-on is a real hit as such functionality can be a perfect solution for clearing away customer doubts. It’s perfect for letting the customer see the difference in shades, for putting on cosmetics, accessories, shoes, or even furniture without having physical access to the item or the testers.
5. Voice Search & Image Recognition
The last point we’d like to cover deals with the way people search for things. With the popularity of Siri and other voice assistants like Alexa being at their peak, eCommerce stores need to pick up their game and adapt to the difference in search queries.
After all, your buyers will use different wording when typing in a query in the search bar using text and when they’ll be requesting their voice helper for the same thing. To say the least, text queries are much shorter than those of oral speech. And for eCommerce, this firstly means the necessity to optimize the content for longer “live speech-like” search requests.
On a second note, using image search in your online store is one more exciting artificial intelligence move. As shoppers are on the ball for new looks, giving them the opportunity to find an item (or a very similar one) based on the picture that they’ve uploaded is terrific.
Pretend that there’s a hypothetical client who liked a sweater he/she saw on someone’s Instagram post. The person makes a screenshot or saves the picture. And instead of spending an eternity looking for the sweater, putting in dozens of textual sweater description variations in the search, they can just upload the photo and receive the item match in the store’s results. No pressure, no wasted time, happier client. An outstanding example of such a feature is the Amazon StyleSnap functionality.
Screenshot taken on the official Amazon website
- The search patterns and the behavior of shoppers are changing. With the growing popularity of voice search, eCommerce store owners should start doing something to optimize their content for such inquiries. Furthermore, image recognition can be an outstanding step towards winning over more clients.
Summing up, artificial intelligence is already changing things around. For eCommerce, this means the necessity to keep up with the trends, optimizing the website, and reaping the benefits of increased sales as a result. We hope that you’ve found the 5 examples of AI use for sales growth that we’ve covered handy!