The world is in the early stage of the so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’, a time when technology is changing at a pace never before experienced. In the last decade, we have moved from mobile phones to smartphones and from virtual assistants to digital assistants, not to mention everything in between.
As things progress in the digital realm, it is clear Artificial Intelligence will have an ever-increasing role to play. This is the case across every aspect of our lives, from driving cars to marketing products.
Across the world, forward-thinking developers are incorporating AI into their online products, either directly into websites or as smart and flexible plugins. Here are some ways this technology can be used to improve the customer experience, increase leads, and boost sales.
Intelligent site design
Until recently, we have had no way of truly knowing what kind of website design works for which industry. There are infinite different ways to present information and it is only through trial and error that business owners can understand the layout and functionality which will work best for them.
Developers are now able to access AI site development technology which can generate site layouts based on information about target audiences and industry. For example, a plumbing website may have better CRO (conversion rate optimization) with a front-and-center contact form, while a youth clothing brand may benefit from having its sales items closer to the top of the page. Using AI, much of the guesswork is eliminated and new websites can be more effective from launch.
Expanding on this technology, AI can be used to implement highly intelligent, constantly evolving A/B testing. Instead of a product manager manually updating a website and analyzing results, smart back-end systems will present different versions to different users and ‘shelve’ the site layouts which are least effective in converting buyers.
Live chat gives your customers an easy way to connect with service agents and have their questions answered in real time. However, you still have to have a person (or a team of people) on call to manage this correspondence. Unfortunately, this isn’t always cost effective for small businesses. For larger businesses which have peak inquiry times, it can still mean customers are left waiting.
Automating your live chat with AI puts a 24/7 sales representative in instant contact with visitors to your website. It is now a straightforward process to create a ‘script’, which is able to respond to standard customer FAQs. Once implemented, AI can interact with hundreds, even thousands of customers simultaneously, providing a higher level of service and drawing them down the purchasing funnel.
There will always be questions which a machine can’t answer but AI systems can be programmed to forward these to smaller, more productive customer care teams. With the right technology, inquiries can even be sent to the specific person who is best placed to respond.
If you ‘dig’ gardening, it is likely your Facebook feed will share posts about heirloom tomatoes and weed removal thanks to its algorithm and understanding of your preferences and history. The homepage of Yahoo does the same, serving thousands of different versions of the same page based on user habits.
As AI becomes more powerful and easier to implement, there’s nothing to say smaller businesses can’t provide similar experiences for their customers. Everything from the homepage message to email comms can be personalized based on a customer’s interactions with a website and their past purchases.
Amazon has been doing this for years, using ‘predictive analytics’ to make recommendations based on your past purchases and the items you have been looking at. This technology can benefit far more than the retail sector. For example, hotels can use it to recommend accommodation packages. Phone companies can suggest new packages to existing customers whose contracts have expired.
Artificial Intelligence is able to further improve the customer experience by learning about how individuals like to be rewarded. For example, some people may be prompted to buy when offered a 15 percent discount. Others may prefer a points-based reward system.
When AI is able to learn what a customer likes, it will be able to present the best incentive for them to continue to purchase from a brand.
Furthermore, AI can be used in digital marketing to send email communications to customers based on individual open rates. Until recently, marketers have relied on general open rates, sending emails when most people are likely to open them. With AI, this can be refined to the level of the individual. Being smart about these touch points has the power to significantly optimize conversion rates.
According to Forbes, 84 percent of businesses believe AI has the potential to deliver or sustain competitive advantage. What’s more, 83 percent of businesses, see AI as a strategic priority. This technology not only has the potential to save on manpower, it can take so much of the guesswork out of online marketing.
With this in mind, business owners should be seeking the guidance of developers who are across new innovations in AI. As a developer, it is well and truly time to have this technology on your radar. Investigating ways to deliver AI to customers or to develop user-friendly plugins will prove to be a key strategy during these rapidly evolving times.
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