The value of personalization is no secret on this blog. People expect an experience tailored to them, and with so much data out there, it’s more possible than ever to provide it. There are very real benefits to providing someone with a personalized shopping experience–and very real costs to failing to do so.
Even with all of the tools available for personalization, it’s still easier said than done. If you’ve found yourself wishing you could provide a better experience than you currently are, you’re not alone. A study of senior decision-makers found that more than 90% felt like they could be doing more to personalize their customer experience. In this situation, trying to also incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into your business strategy may feel like putting the cart before the horse. But the next big thing in tech could be just what you need to get the most out of the current big thing in digital commerce.
What AI is–and isn’t
Thanks to movies and people’s tendency to extrapolate concepts, the words “artificial intelligence” conjure up thoughts of everything from killer robots to self-aware computers. But the term casts a wide net. While the capabilities of AI are continually improving, we’re a long way from realizing one of Stephen Hawking’s greatest fears. In its current state, AI has a much more practical–and manageable–application in digital commerce.
Right now, one of AI’s primary selling points is its ability to sort through vast amounts of data very quickly. It can than process that data more efficiently than a person, providing greater insight into techniques like segmenting. What it can’t do, however, is apply that data to a business strategy. Which is why AI should be used to augment, rather than dictate, your digital commerce strategy. The data remains most useful when in the hands of the people who can best utilize it. While it may, one day, be incredibly convenient to have an AI as capable as you are, its limited scope should come as a relief for now. The technology doesn’t have to do anything more than help you.
How AI can help you
Simply put, AI helps make your data useful. It can take search and purchase data and recommend new products, a great way to increase conversion rate. It can also help you stay on top of your inventory, so you don’t start promising things you can’t deliver.
As your data cache becomes deeper, the process of personalization becomes more granular, to the point where it can be proactive as well as reactive. Email marketing can be automated in a way that more accurately provides someone with the offer they want. Landing pages can be more dynamic, targeted not just to existing customers but also to people finding your site for the first time.
But even that might be more than you’re ready to take on. The point is that AI, when used as a complementary tool to make use of data, can be very powerful when it comes to personalization. The patterns it finds help create a clearer picture of your customers, allowing for a more 1-to-1 buying experience. And it isn’t nearly as overwhelming as it might sound.
The right AI infrastructure
None of these capabilities mean anything if you don’t have the right infrastructure to take advantage of it. Which is why Episerver’s tools include AI that allows for ongoing personalization. Everything from search-box data to clicks to purchases help build a profile of the people buying from you. This is then used to help provide the right content in the right context.
When building a campaign, your segmented customer bases are the foundation for what you offer to whom. Episerver’s smart campaigns allow you to narrow the scope of your campaigns to the people most likely to be interested. The less scattershot your approach, the less money wasted targeting the wrong customers, the better your return on investment.
Because AI is constantly developing, machine learning was built into Episerver’s platform, allowing the technology to improve itself as your database grows bigger. Over time, it can simplify the customer journey, provide more adaptive content, and optimize the customer experience. After all, providing the best experience for your customers is the key to digital commerce.
Keeping up with the digital Joneses
As AI continues to develop, it will become a more involved part of any online business. For now, its current, complementary role makes it a useful part of a digital commerce strategy. It’s an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the technology before it truly does become a dominating force.
If you’d like more information on how AI can help your digital commerce platform, please contact us. There’s no cost for an initial consultation. If you’d like to stay current with trends in digital commerce, subscribe to our newsletter.