The next decade could very well be defined by the continued proliferation and advancement of AI and Machine Learning and the data that process collects. Assuming that occurs, it certainly means that AI will have a major impact on all aspects of business. How will that all play out? Only time will tell. But there have been a number of recent developments in these fields that are blazing a trail toward rapid changes across the digital eCommerce landscape. Let’s take a look at a few of these developments.
Automated interactive personalization
In the modern world, consumers are inundated with hundreds, if not thousands of ads every single day. And as consumers continue to get barraged with messaging, they are going to become fatigued, if not completely unaffected by seeing generic ads. To combat this occurrence, AI-powered personalization will become more prevalent and grow in importance. Customers decide very quickly—in a matter of seconds—whether they like your marketing message. Provide something relevant and personal and you’ve got a satisfied customer. Miss the mark, however, and they’re gone. While many companies have been able to personalize with a few product lines or segments, most still struggle to scale this personalization across all the ways they engage with customers. Done right, personalization enhances customers’ lives and increases engagement and loyalty by delivering messages that are tuned to, and even anticipate, what the customers truly want. These personalizations for the customer translate into financial benefits for the companies who succeed in this effort. Personalization can reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50 percent, lift revenues by 5 to 15 percent, and increase the efficiency of marketing spend by 10 to 30 percent.
What is needed to execute this personalization pace at scale is the right automation technology. Assembling and operating a marketing-automation tech stack, however, can be a challenge. Magento extensions such as Klevu, dotDigital and Listrak have already begun this endeavor. By driving site search, on-site personalization, email, and remarketing. But it is going to be more of an SOP and a necessity as time goes by. Advances in technology, data, and analytics will soon allow marketers to create much more personal and “human” experiences across moments, channels, and buying stages. Physical spaces will be reconceived to include these new personalizations and improve the consumer experience. The new customer journey will be supported far beyond a brand’s front door. AI has been at the forefront, helping companies automate the ways in which they personalize their interactions with customers, thereby enabling companies to scale their operations. Examples of how AI and deep learning impact the customer experience include automating the removal of backgrounds in product images as well as automatically enabling videos originally shot in landscape mode to be delivered in portrait mode, which greatly improves the viewing on mobile phones.
Building a scalable, yet personalized customer experience remains at the heart of what every brand desires to create in the 2020’s. Experiences that harness the power of rich media, whether in the form of images or videos, are a significant driver behind this success. However, business and technology executives need to think through the complexities and implications of these efforts, at both a technical and customer impact level. Doing so, and doing so early on, will enable a more seamless delivery of the campaigns and experiences they desire.
Data & Analysis
Data analysis has changed dramatically since the start of the century and that evolution has only become more rapid and pronounced as we advance into the 2020’s. If you’re operating an eCommerce store, and/or employing any of the AI/Machine Learning developments we just discussed, you’re no doubt dealing with tens of thousands of points of data. Data that is now no longer relegated to just numbers. Data is now music, images, videos, downloadable files and more. Data is large, dispersed and in multiple formats. So, how will you organize and implement this data into your digital sales efforts in the future?
Cloud-Based – As data sets become larger and larger it will become more difficult to run the massive amount of necessary calculations on your local machine. This will create an entire market of cloud-based data services that, simply put, make analysis faster.
A/B Testing with AI – As we recently covered on our blog, A/B testing is only going to grow in importance and the technology being developed and in some cases already implemented is going to be more efficient and effective at A/B testing than any web designer or marketing manager. By way of review, A/B Testing is the altering of elements of your site to different, random visitors. These elements can include, but are not limited to, variations in the content, colors, images, copy, Calls-to-Action, and even prices. It is through A/B testing that you’re able to come up with the optimum combinations of website elements that will keep visitors engaged and making purchases. But rather than having an employee analyze the site, select which elements to alter and test, analyze the data and choose which tested elements to keep and which to remove, AI will be taking over all of these steps. There are already extensions like HiConversion that are currently available that will automatically run its own A/B tests to your pages, changing the elements based on visitor behavior. It will then provide recommendations based on these continual and evolving A/B tests. This AI-driven A/B testing will only become more advanced and more standard as the decade progresses, leaving fewer elements of your UX/UI to guessing or to the discretion of your team. Your real-world customers and website visitors are your greatest teachers and AI will learn directly from them more and more.
Smarter Marketing – But what to do with all of this customer information you’ve gathered? Quite simply, put it to work retaining your customers. With the personalization information you’ve received and the on-site data you’ve collected you can, for example, set up automated messages to reach segments of your customer base, no matter where they may be: Remind visitors of the contents of their abandoned cart via email, show them display ads that tie directly to pages that they’ve visited via remarketing, and use your A/B testing programs to deliver the most appealing and effective User Experience possible once they’ve returned to your site.
Check back next week for the second installment in our ‘What’s Next’ series, where we will be discussing Progressive Web Apps, Headless eCommerce and more.