Once again, a successful year for German eCommerce has drawn to a close. The Top 3 online shops in Germany alone generated sales of around 12 billion euros in 2017. This corresponds to about 44 percent of the total turnover of the Top 100. But behind these figures stands much hard work. Increasing competition and technical developments are forcing shop operators to follow new paths and to constantly adapt their business models. The touchpoints with customers are becoming more numerous and diverse, and so retail decision makers have to find ever more urgent answers to the question of how the customer journey can be optimised. Addressing customers with the right content at the right time, after all, is now and will remain decisive to competition in 2018. Nowadays, data that is generated, for example, through social media activities, purchase transactions, weather sensors, fitness bracelets or GPS signals, is a particularly decisive success factor. An analysis of big data creates competitive advantages and increased efficiency. In today’s article we show you why companies really need to engage with AI-supported solutions and how the data-intensive online retail can profit from artificial intelligence.
Big data analyses as a decisive competitive advantage
More and more customers are reaching for new, digitally networked technologies while shopping – and thus generating data. Using intelligent systems, this can be processed immediately in real time. When online retailers utilise the information gained here, sales can then be increased and costs reduced. The success of retailers is becoming increasingly dependent upon whether they can manage, integrate and understand these huge volumes of data. As a recent Capgemini study shows, the technology and evaluation of big data offers you, the online retailer, great opportunities to optimise the shopping experience and ultimately increase your sales.
Changing search queries need matching answers
With Siri or Alexa, solutions based on artificial intelligence have already arrived in the daily lives of many consumers. In the coming months and years, this will also significantly alter the search queries of consumers. Voice search and interaction with language assistants are increasingly replacing the typed search via computer, tablet or mobile phone. On the one hand, consumer inquiries are becoming longer and more colloquial, and, on the other, companies are receiving significantly more data of much greater precision. Intelligent systems make it possible to automatically collect, store and evaluate this data – and thus also provide retailers with the opportunity of generating client-specific offers. For certain, artificial intelligence will soon be expanding to sound and face recognition as well. The intentions of the customer can thus be understood even faster and the search results then continuously improved.
Also on the company side, the dialogue with the customer is changing. In the area of customer service, language assistants or chatbots are already helping now to optimise the service. They serve as assistants or consultants, who can, for example, be asked in a live chat about product details, a particular delivery or even a return. On the basis of artificial intelligence, the consumer is provided with a smooth shopping experience. As the recent Forrester study “Building Trust and Confidence: AI Marketing Readiness in Retail and eCommerce” shows, some 92 percent of respondents from the retail and eCommerce sector believe that artificial intelligence has the potential to create greater customer satisfaction and added values for users.
Artificial intelligence for an individual customer experience
With the help of AI, it is already now possible to identify patterns in the purchasing behaviour of a customer and to recommend them the appropriate products when visiting an online shop. With a more detailed data collection and automated learning systems, these recommendations will become even more accurate. Not only the purchasing behaviour of customers can be predicted, but the shopping experience can also be optimally adapted to every online shop visitor. The attention of customers is generated by personal, individually tailored content, such as the optimal product. So-called data-driven marketing, or data-based marketing, makes it possible to filter out the valuable information from huge amounts of data and to incorporate this into planning. In addition come general AI-based forecasts, on the question, for example, of which articles will sell in the coming days, how often, in which size and in which colour? In this way, it is possible to make accurate predictions about sales, which will increasingly facilitate the company’s assortment and warehouse planning.
The fact that successful companies particularly use AI solutions for their own purposes was also the result of the worldwide survey “Getting to Iconic” from the MIT Technology Review. Cult brands use artificial intelligence to a far greater extent than their competitors for their CX processes (customer experience). Some 91 percent of respondents from cult brand companies said they used AI solutions to increase customer satisfaction. In the overall sample, however, this share stood at only 42 percent. In addition, 58 percent of companies whose brands have achieved cult status use AI solutions for customer analysis. This value is a good 20 percent above the count across all respondents.
Optimal price management only with the proper software solution
An even more efficient and optimised price management also requires a focus on data. To avoid the ever-increasing pricing pressure, you have to price your products in such a way that your margin increases over the longer term and that customers can also be won. Big data generates more comprehensive data than can be processed manually. Solutions based on machine learning provide a much-needed approach to performing complex analyses both quickly and cost-effectively. Our intelligent software solution blackbee enables you to adjust your sales prices to competitor prices, both precisely and over the longer term. blackbee also supports you in the implementation and establishment of a professional price management.