The Potential for Artificial Intelligence in Ecommerce

Artificial intelligence is becoming more ubiquitous in our everyday lives. Even ecommerce giant, Amazon.com, is paving the way for advancement with Echo – its smart-speaker running Alexa personal assistant software. But, while Echo and Alexa are consumer products, the technology behind them could soon become a mainstream component in ecommerce business strategies.

The aforementioned Amazon products use advanced speech recognition technology to perform tasks – like searching for information or re-ordering specific products from Amazon. The algorithms that help Alexa understand people can be used to improve efficiencies in many sectors of ecommerce. Speech recognition technology can be used in a call center to understand caller questions, then direct callers to the appropriate responses or call queues based on their needs. While this use of AI is not widespread in ecommerce yet, it’s already used by many banks and telecom companies.

Earlier this year, Facebook launched "DeepText," an AI learning-based tool designed to make sense of all the data on the social network. Potentially, this could help companies strategize their social marketing campaigns – enabling them to send targeted promotions based on an analysis of content posted by users. Similarly, platforms such as Microsoft’s Cognitive Services can analyze positive and negative feedback in customer reviews, highlighting key trends in user sentiment.
    
Given how quickly AI has developed in recent years, there could be many more applications for ecommerce in the near future. We look forward to seeing what else is in store!

How to Enhance the Customer Experience

Ecommerce businesses have access to a humongous audience. But getting a hold of the attention and trust of customers (and keeping it) in an industry packed with competitors is nothing short of challenging. That's why focusing on the customer experience your company offers is critical for standing out from competitors and retaining customers. Below are some tips for enhancing the foundations of your customer experience efforts.
    

Start with staffing

As representatives of your company, customer service staff can be a defining factor in the customer experience your business is known for. Give your current staff the authority and flexibility to come up with novel solutions that satisfy customers, then grow the team by looking for candidates who can use their creativity and customer-empathy to make the most of that flexible environment.

Be proactive with information

Even if you don't have the fastest shipping or the best order incentives, the value that clear and easy-to-find information adds to the customer experience is paramount. Make sure that your shipping fees, returns policy, and other information that customers would want to know before ordering is understandable and available. The same principles should apply to your methods for data collection. Since personal and financial data privacy is so important to users, be as clear as possible with customers about the data you collect, how it is used, and how it is protected.

Make your return policy more convenient

A good return policy is a great way to emphasize your commitment to the customer experience while improving brand perception and customer trust. By easily accepting returns, you’re showing customers that you stand behind your products and that you’re willing to fix any issues that cause returns.

Little Things you can do to Retain Customers

In ecommerce, returning customers are your bread and butter. Once the hard work of getting their attention, trust, and first purchase is completed, they tend to buy more (and more often) from you. In fact, returning customers generate about three times more revenue than new customers. Keeping customers engaged and coming back to your site is critical for ecommerce success. Internet marketing efforts like email newsletters and a social media presence are good for accomplishing this, but the other half of customer retention is providing customers with a good experience the first time (and every time) they purchase from you. Below are some small ideas that can go a long way toward leaving a good impression on your customers - encouraging them to shop again. More...

The Benefits of a Customer-Friendly Returns Process

A tedious, red tape-covered returns process can scare off potential new customers, and turn into a nightmare for customers who have a return issue. Streamlining returns will do wonders for your reputation and build customer trust. If you can turn your returns process into something hassle-free for customers – you can use that as a selling point to increase your sales. Simplified returns show customers that you stand behind your products and that you’re willing to fix any issues that cause returns. More...

How to Improve Your Fulfillment Operations for 2015

Self-improvement is the purpose behind all New Year’s resolutions. If you’ve resolved to have a bigger and better 2015 for your ecommerce business, you’ll need to analyze your current operations for areas in need of improvement. Here are some suggestions for areas of your business you may be overlooking – and how to bolster them for 2015. More...