When it comes to making decisions for business, customer needs should always be the focus. Dramatic advances in technology have revolutionized the ways in which companies and consumers can interact — perhaps none more so than artificial intelligence and machine learning. Integrating customer-focused e-commerce artificial intelligence (AI) tools into your operations can enhance the overall consumer experience, while providing hyper-localized assistance to individual customers.
Understanding Pain Points in the Virtual Customer Experience
As AI integrates into and innovates virtually every industry, business owners will need to provide their customers with tools that both leverage the power of AI and can serve the needs of a diverse audience. Complicated processes, unclear communication, and a lack of personalized attention can instantly hinder the customer experience. To effectively use customer-focused e-commerce AI tools, businesses must keep these four pain points in mind:
1. Ineffective customer service
2. Impersonal consumer experience
3. Interrupted sales processes
4. Inconsistent branding
Thankfully, these pain points are easily mitigated by integrating AI software into daily operations such as chatbot assistance, personalized recommendations, streamlined CRM, and consistent branding updates. Imagine leading a customer through every stage of their purchase journey, answering their specific questions, and providing personalized purchasing service, all without the need for a dedicated human employee.
Delivering Customer Service Around the Clock
Chatbots are changing the way customers interact with companies. These AI-powered virtual assistants are active around the clock, providing customers with 24/7 support as they engage virtually with a business. Although their most immediate benefit is their ability to instantly assist a customer with any questions, another significant feature is that these AI systems learn from prior conversations. Thus, each time a customer interacts with a chatbot, the virtual assistant can provide a better experience based on the success of interactions with previous customers.
This instantaneous support allows your business to be virtually open every minute of the day without the need for employee interaction. It’s an especially effective e-commerce tool for companies that serve audiences in multiple time zones.
Personalized Service & Recommendations
Utilizing a chatbot to guide a customer through a sale is an achievement, but the goal of any consumer interaction is to curate an experience that encourages their continued business. AI tools for e-commerce can improve the customer journey by providing a personalized and interactive experience. This can be achieved through live user interaction and customized profiles. AI-enabled e-commerce systems can adapt to a customer’s needs in real-time, similar to chatbots. By monitoring customers’ actions as they shop, AI tools can then suggest relevant products or services. Customized consumer profiles can take this information one step further by providing a hyper-localized shopping experience.
Using preferences customers selected when creating their profiles, AI can act as a virtual salesperson, presenting them with uniquely specific products or services they desire. Instead of pointing a consumer to a menu of options, these e-commerce tools can identify a customer’s exact need and deliver them the ideal solution.
Automated CRM with Fraud Protection
Chatbots and personalized service can promote a positive and successful customer transaction — but what happens when a customer abandons a sale? That’s where AI-led CRM software for e-commerce comes in. Streamlining an efficient sales process without human staff first involves getting to the heart of the problem: why did the customer reject the sale?
AI-based CRM software can analyze data and provide insights into every step of the sales process. When opportunities for improvement are identified, businesses can immediately pivot. The CRM will then provide insight into the success or failure of modifications and lead businesses closer to closing the sale.
Along with analytics, AI-based CRM can also streamline the transaction process while also detecting and preventing fraud. Customers trust that their financial data is protected on a website; businesses can reinforce that trust by bolstering security with anti-fraud AI.
Keeping the Customer’s Vision of the Company in Focus
AI tools for e-commerce do benefit the customer; however, businesses should also keep in mind that reliance on certain software can negatively impact a brand. For example, chatbots can successfully assist customers when employees are not available. If a brand is associated with top-notch customer service, they need to ensure that they are integrating a virtual assistant that won’t diminish the perceived quality of service. Similarly, if a company policy accepts returns or refunds, they must design a CRM to either facilitate these requests or swiftly forward the customer to a live employee who can.
The benefits of customer-focused e-commerce AI tools are growing every day. As AI and machine-learning technologies advance, businesses are primed to deliver exceptional virtual service to customers around the world. AI-based software — including chatbots, CRM, and personalized consumer profiles — will continue to redefine the virtual customer experience. Incorporating these AI e-commerce tools will likely be a necessity for e-commerce businesses throughout the spectrum of industry.
Nick Dauk | Contributing Writer