3 Essential Roles AI Can Fulfill for Your Ecommerce Business
For many years, artificial intelligence was something we would only hear about in futuristic movies.
As we watched Will Smith fight off humanoid robots and Joaquin Phoenix fall for his AI virtual assistant, we wondered about how AI might one day affect our lives and businesses.
And now, suddenly, we find ourselves living in the future, with Siri and Alexa living in our pockets and Chat GPT taking the world by storm.
As an entrepreneur, always looking for the next opportunity, you may be asking yourself, “How can I use AI to improve and grow my business?”
In this article, we hope to answer that question by breaking down three key functions that AI can fulfill in your eCommerce business.
Perhaps the most widely used function of AI is to automate tasks.
The goal of automation is for AI software to complete mundane processes and tasks with as little human intervention as possible. This frees up time for you and your employees to focus more of your energy on activities that actually move the needle.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of automating tasks using AI.
Automating tasks using AI allows you to greatly increase your team’s manpower. If used correctly, a single AI platform could take on the workload of multiple virtual assistants.
One of the most common areas where eCommerce businesses have adopted AI automation is in their customer service departments. They use AI chatboxes to respond to low-level customer support queries such as checking customer order statuses, tracking their packages, or changing passwords on their accounts. This helps to reduce backlogs and frees up your customer service team to work on more pressing tasks like guiding consumers to complete their purchases.
Optimizing Talent Management
When you hire specialists in a certain field, whether it be marketing, sales, or logistics, you want them to spend their time using the skillset you hired them for, not being delayed by menial or repetitive tasks.
Your top sales rep may be excellent at closing deals, but their talent is wasted if they’re stuck behind a desk doing paperwork.
With routine, time-consuming tasks taken care of by AI, your sales team can spend more time impressing potential customers, your logistics experts can focus on optimizing your supply chain, and your marketing team can pump out more content that actually converts.
AI allows you to scale your business without having to hire extra staff. Not only can AI software fulfill the roles of several VAs but it can also help to optimize productivity among the rest of your employees. The data it provides can also help you to identify areas of untapped profitability.
In multiple organizations, the use of AI has led to large cost decreases in the areas of talent management, contact center automation, and warehouse automation.
The benefit of AI is that it never tires and will perform consistently. This means that your AI platforms can run data and complete tasks all day, every day, without a decrease in performance or the need for a vacation.
AI also learns as it works, so its performance is likely to increase over time.
Analyzing Consumer Data
As a business owner, you want to focus on growing the business and improving your profits. You don’t want to be stuck behind a computer for hours crunching numbers.
Luckily, data analysis is another area where AI technology shines. Here are a few key areas where AI can help you transform raw data into actionable information.
Data Processing and Customer Segmentation
As your eCommerce business grows, you’ll find yourself using a variety of apps and programs. You may have task managers and analytics software, logistics trackers, CRM tools, etc. These programs are great and help you optimize various processes, but your business’s data is fractured across the various platforms.
AI can help you collate data from different sources and programs into one unified view. This is important because it allows you to compare data from different areas of your business. Viewing sales and marketing data alongside your logistics data, for example, can help you forecast demand trends, helping you avoid over or under-stocking.
AI data analysis can also give you a better understanding of your customers and help you segment them into different categories. Customer segmentation allows you to fine-tune your message to suit different customer demographics, leading to increased retention and brand loyalty.
Predicting Business and Marketing Outcomes
It’s easy to learn from your mistakes once you’ve made them, but wouldn’t it be great to predict pitfalls in advance so you can avoid them altogether?
AI has the power to analyze market trends, consumer behavior trends, micro and macroeconomic trends, and other relevant data, to formulate predictions about the future of your business. You can use this information to get ahead of the curve and take advantage of upcoming opportunities or build your defenses against potential challenges.
Personalization is crucial to building a successful eCommerce brand. It helps you stand out from your competitors and foster loyalty in your customers.
But understanding your customer’s needs, unique behaviors, and buying patterns means analyzing and understanding mountains of data. Collecting the data is relatively simple, but interpreting and understanding it is a whole different ball game.
You could hire an expert to comb through the numbers and decipher their meaning but that can cost a pretty penny and will take a long time. AI can analyze customer data, purchase histories, and customer interactions in a fraction of the time, helping you zero in on what your customers are really looking for.
Another way AI can aid eCommerce sellers is by helping them adjust their pricing based on real-time data. This is particularly useful when it comes to dynamic pricing.
Dynamic pricing refers to the strategy of adjusting the price of a product based on current supply and demand. This process requires a lot of data analysis, so many sellers only adjust their prices once per quarter. With the help of AI-backed pricing tools, sellers can have a much faster market reaction time.
Adjusting prices due to seasonality and demand is something that airlines and hotels have mastered and it can have a profound impact on your profitability when done right.
According to recent research by Semrush, the two business areas that most commonly prioritize AI for their success are the marketing and sales departments.
Let’s take a look at the various ways AI can boost your sales.
Expanding Customer Service
When you serve your customers well, they are more likely to become repeat buyers and refer others to your business. This creates a strong link between customer service and your sales department.
As we touched on before, adding AI-powered chatbots to your website is a great way to improve your customer service. And analyzing customer data using AI helps you get a better understanding of what your customers are looking for and how to pre-empt their needs.
Ai chatbots can also help to move customers through your sales funnel by answering FAQs and automating abandoned cart inquiries.
Intelligent Search Features
We’ve already discussed how AI can gather and analyze customer data to help you better understand consumer behavior, but how can you put that knowledge to good use?
By showing consumers the products they’re looking for before they’ve even searched for them. This is already a fairly common practice among online retailers. Websites that recommend products based on your previous purchases use AI and machine learning to analyze your purchase history and predict which products you’re most likely to buy in the future.
We’ve touched on various ways AI can help your customer service, sales, and marketing, but did you know that AI can be a game changer when it comes to logistics?
According to a recent report, “AI’s predictive powers really shine when it comes to logistics. AI can help to forecast transit times, demand levels, and shipment delays.”
After experiencing manufacturing and shipping delays during and after the pandemic, eCommerce sellers are realizing how valuable this can be. Investing in AI tools will allow sellers to manage their inventory levels according to both historical and real-time data.
Take Time to Familiarize Yourself with AI
As you can see, AI has the potential to transform your eCommerce business. But that doesn’t mean you should dive in head first without a plan.
Creating a roadmap for your AI implementation will ensure you make the most of the technology and don’t lose money on false starts. Take time to think about what you want to accomplish using AI in each department of your business.
AI is a complex piece of technology so we’d recommend seeking out advice and help from experts to make sure that your systems are set up correctly and will grow and learn in the right way for your business.
AI isn’t always an instant solution. In some cases, you may need to train the AI to understand your unique needs, but with some patience and time, you’ll soon have a powerful tool at your disposal.
Use AI to Build a Bright Future for Your Ecommerce Business
We are only just beginning to tap into AI’s capabilities, but already it can support your eCommerce business in so many ways.
Automating tasks, analyzing customer data, and optimizing sales and marketing efforts only scratch the surface of this technology’s potential, but they are a great way to introduce AI into your business.
By using AI to reduce costs and ease your workload, you can focus on what you’re good at, building and scaling online businesses.
You could use some of the time AI gains you to add to your business portfolio. We have a wide variety of high-quality online businesses on our marketplace that would make great additions to your portfolio. Register an account to unlock your own dashboard where you can filter your searches and keep track of the businesses you’re interested in buying.
Alternatively, you can set up a call with one of our business analysts to get advice on the right type of business for your needs.