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Technologies every e-commerce site needs

Stephanie Neusser January 5, 2020

There is rarely a facet within an industry that hasn’t been touched by technology. Most notably, big data and machine learning are paving the way for robotics automation, the instant transfer of data, and a variety of interesting devices.

The retail industry is no exception when it comes to taking advantage of technology. In fact, successful businesses are setting the bar by implementing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, and voice assistants into their operations. The reasons vary, but can include that these technologies help provide excellent customer experiences through instant communication, providing support without the help of live employees, data management and security, and much more.

Many online stores already have integrated e-commerce software, but to stay in the competition, any e-commerce business must give serious thought into the following technologies to stay prosperous and maintain customer satisfaction.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI is revealing valuable insights into customer preferences — which can guide marketing campaigns. It also can provide for the automation and transfer of data management operations to increase performance. In the retail and e-commerce world, AI is being relied upon for several unique aspects of business.

Personalized user experience

74% of businesses believe that user experience is important for improving sales and conversions. AI provides a personalized user experience that 59% of customers say influences their shopping decisions. Artificial intelligence can facilitate a shopping experience that is supported by customers’ personal preferences.

AI, big data, and machine learning can offer analytics and foresight into customer behavior patterns which can drive advertising campaigns, provide support and services, and automate communication — all of which increase engagement rates for businesses.

Recommendations to customers

Since AI can predict customer behavior patterns, it is able to recommend relevant and useful information to customers on products and services and more. AI and machine learning algorithms can efficiently forecast this information by taking in a customer’s search history and other third-party data. This can lead to effectively proposing applicable information and solutions to satisfy customer needs.

Automated campaign management

Customer behavior patterns are a driving force behind any marketing campaign. Using AI, businesses are able to target both potential and existing customers by looking at data such as past certain history. These analytics can be used to provide a better aimed content marketing strategy for businesses.

Content and advertisements may then be created with a tone that engages various audiences and placed on the correct media platform to capture their attention. Using AI and marketing automation can show a business the data necessary for a strategic and tactical campaign.

The Cloud

You will be hard-pressed to find a successful business that does not have at least one aspect of their business operations posted on the cloud. Managing and processing data in the cloud is essential for the instant access of data by anyone who needs it, on any device. Especially for e-commerce businesses, a cloud ERP can improve delivery speeds, make your store more adaptable, and bring about business stability and growth.

Chatbots

Recognized for their customer satisfaction rates and wide-scale availability, chatbots have pivoted from limited use in call centers to wide-spread e-commerce website applications. Rather than asking questions and providing information to those over the phone, e-commerce websites that utilize chatbots can provide a variety of services and solutions.

24/7 assistance

Many businesses cannot provide answers exactly when a potential customer is searching for them. Additionally, customers may be frustrated when put on hold because a business does not have the staff to answer and tend to a high volume of customers.

Chatbots are available 24/7, day and night, to provide any answers and solutions a potential customer may inquire about. Having this automated communication can be valuable for businesses as it frees up employees to focus on other business operations, efficiently communicates with customers, and may even propose products and services.

Respond to queries

Built into a chatbot’s algorithm is what is called a decision tree. Decision trees use machine and deep learning to automate complex business processes, essentially developing, maintaining, and always expanding upon a comprehensive network of if/then statements.

By addressing commonly asked questions and concerns from customers, chatbots are able to expand upon their decision tree. Here, a chatbot can gain information on whether they’ve helped a customer or not. If they have helped the customer, this information may be passed on to another consumer with a similar question. If they have not adequately satisfied the customer, the chatbot may continue asking questions until they provide the customer with the information they are looking for. When they have answered the customer, the chatbot now has more choices in their decision tree to help customers in the future.

Send shipping and tracking information

Imagine if Amazon never remembered your address or payment information and never told you when your order is scheduled to arrive. It is a pain for customers to have to enter shipping information every time they want to order something from your e-commerce website. Additionally, it is a best practice for user experience to give a customer a timeframe for when the order will be at their doorstep.

Chatbots remember this information and can provide real-time shipping tracking details for customers. This can also help warehouse operations, as they could focus on the supply chain and fulfilling orders through their order management system rather than telling customers where their packages are.

Voice assistants

Not everyone searches for products and information via mouse and keyboard in the digital age. To accommodate these potential customers, businesses will need to adopt voice commerce — using voice recognition technology and allowing customers to use voice commands to find and purchase products online. Voice assistants such as Siri, the Amazon Echo, and Google Home are becoming increasingly popular for their convenience in searching for and purchasing products. In order to stay successful, e-commerce businesses will need to provide this technology and its benefits to capture a new wave of consumers.

Audio brand signatures

Any company jingle, music composition, or auditory tone is considered an audio brand signature. It is a way for businesses to better establish a brand identity, and help customers remember their name.

Businesses can command their audio brand signature to play through voice assistants to let their customers know where they are ordering their products from. By associating your brand with an auditory signature, consumers will know and remember they are ordering from your store – even when laying on their couch, speaking to a voice assistant.

Shopping lists

Customers would rather automate their continual shopping needs than frequent a website (or store) every month for their essentials. Through voice assistants, people are able to compile shopping lists — ordering what they need from who they want. This technology learns the preferences of the owners, and many businesses are able to capitalize on brand loyalty. If a voice assistant knows that a person wants a product from your store monthly, it can add it to their shopping list. This can be beneficial to companies in forecasting sales and balancing order management.

Assistive technology

In the marketing world, assistive technology and voice commerce are helping to reach a wide variety of new audiences — not just the younger generation who are using new devices, but the visually impaired as well. By using speech-to-text technology, the visually impaired can forgo the struggles of traditional search experience, and order what they need through new and developing assistive technology.

All interconnected, AI, chatbots, and voice assistants are becoming necessary for any e-commerce business to be successful. In order to stay with the times, businesses must adapt to these new technologies which appeal better to potential and existing customers.

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