With more people relying on e-commerce, the ideal purchase processes should be more like the conversational experience consumers have in a store with a salesperson, who is providing their insights and recommendations to help the customer make better purchase decisions. In the quest to deliver the best customer experience, how can e-commerce search automation and conversational AI change customer journeys?
Over the last decade, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, companies have grasped the importance of intelligent automation and have accelerated the deployment of these services to increase productivity and customer satisfaction while saving resources.
Intelligent automation consists of techniques that accelerate business processes while maintaining high-quality services. In e-commerce, where there are reduced personal interactions, this also provides an opportunity to improve and personalize shopping experiences.
While there is sometimes a misconception that intelligent automation will replace human agents, the main benefit of these solutions is that they help human agents focus on more complex issues while boosting customer engagement and carrying out end-to-end transactions.
New trends in E-commerce
The past year saw dramatic changes in nearly every industry. Customer purchase behaviors were altered as well. One of the main beneficiaries of these changes has been e-commerce.
There has been a shift with more people buying online. Consumers are now used to the comfort of having their purchases delivered to their homes. One month into the pandemic, e-commerce revenue had already grown by 68% and conversion rates had risen 8.8% reaching numbers usually expected on Cyber Monday. With retailers forced to close their physical stores, e-commerce reached an all-time high of 16.4% of total global retail sales.
E-commerce is expected to continue to grow at a vertiginous rate, allowing online businesses to compete with retailers on an online landscape. According to the UK-based Office for National Statistics, e-commerce grew by 46% in 2020. Concurrent with this, is the need to provide a better customer experience.
However, successful e-commerce businesses must deploy cutting-edge technologies that cater to growing demands from customers who have gotten used to buying products from anywhere, at any time, in their preferred language, and with as little hassle as possible.
Following the major trend running through most industries, e-commerce teams have responded to increased competition by enhancing their tech stack with AI-based solutions with the goal of optimizing customer engagement by delivering a superior customer experience.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become instrumental in ushering e-commerce into a new growth spurt that has elevated customer engagement, conversions, web traffic, and revenues. Today, AI in e-commerce is an element in the customer journey that ensures customers are engaged by their unique experiences.
New strategies and trends such as programmatic advertising retargeting audiences based on their consumption, the development of omnichannel capabilities to meet customer demands, the deployment of intelligent chatbots to bolster customer service, and new digital payments are heavily influencing how companies seek to deliver optimal customer journeys.
An additional key trend that must not pass unnoticed is how businesses are adopting automation in a customer’s search phase of their journey.
Automation allows marketers to deliver higher-converting campaigns. By leveraging data, they can deliver content and services that are tailored to each customer. The use of machine learning (ML) and Predictive Analytics help identify patterns in large datasets and provide more refined campaign planning, optimization and execution, content selection, and product suggestions to deliver an effective and positive customer experience.
The importance of automated e-commerce search
While the pandemic boosted the e-commerce market, it also increased competitiveness. The most important brand differentiator today is customer experience. Consumers demand speed and efficiency with easy-to-use, intuitive digital experiences across channels and devices.
Going digital is the first step for businesses trying to adapt to this new landscape and automating processes will help them stay ahead of the curve. Search capabilities are a key feature that needs special attention in an e-commerce site and the importance of leveraging such a feature must not be undervalued.
Indeed, automated e-commerce search can be an invaluable business tool that can drive sales, conversions, and a positive user experience. But this can only be achieved if site searches are configured and automated intelligently. Some features like autocomplete, related searches, and analytics, alongside proactive chat and conversational AI, are must-haves in order to convert browsers into buyers.
Knowing that it is important to implement AI-powered e-commerce search is the first step. The next is choosing the best solution to ensure that it delivers the results you and your potential customers need.
3 ways to implement AI-powered, intelligent e-commerce automation
When implementing e-commerce search automation, it is important to ensure that customers are fully satisfied with the search example. A search bar is not just an ornament on a webpage, but an essential tool that drives revenue and can condition customer satisfaction with your brand.
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