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Future of ecommerce: How to improve customer loyalty using AI

Warren Buffet, business accelerator and one of the most successful American investors, has two famous rules for business:

● Number 1. Never lose a customer.  

● Number 2. Don’t forget rule number 1.

With those rules, Mr. Buffet reminds us that retaining customers costs a fraction of acquiring new ones. Therefore, as consumers have swarmed to shopping online, service quality is critical in the fight to keep customers coming back for more. In today’s enterprise, providing customers with easy, efficient, and fast ways to obtain information, solve their problems, and access options for purchasing as well as future customer care is key to customer satisfaction and retention.

Many companies think that cost is the prime differentiator for consumer-packaged goods (CPGs) and ecommerce purchases. Still, that is lower on the priority list than the quality of service when, in reality, a bad customer care experience can completely erase any satisfaction derived from finding a product delivered at a low price.

As businesses search for additional methods to connect and interact with their customers, many are turning to the use of artificial intelligence. The use of AI is helping to provide innovative commercial solutions by utilising algorithm-based customer shopping patterns to predict customer buying habits. For instance, online retailers now have access to data which can allow them to send personalised shopping offers, featuring products specifically tailored to the customers’ interests and therefore more likely to convert to sales.

Conversational AI in ecommerce

It is clear that when retailers go the extra mile, take that little bit of extra care and show up for their customers when needed makes a massive difference. As well as equipping human agents with the tools and training they need, this is also where Conversational AI comes in. This technology fuels a new generation of virtual agents and chatbots powered to speak the language of your customers and we are beginning to see an influx of ecommerce retailers that are looking to incorporate chatbots and virtual assistants that can provide 24-hour support to their customers.

Conversational AI can completely change your customers’ experiences with a CPG ecommerce transaction. Companies that leverage AI for customer service, automating and streamlining common processes, can stand out from the competition, encourage robust customer retention, and even bolster referral numbers. In addition, customers are happy to communicate with a virtual agent or a chatbot as long as it is a quality experience: fast, accurate, and satisfying.

The best experience can be offered when the virtual agent knows when to escalate and hand over the customer to a service rep. Here are some tips on how to best implement AI to support your ecommerce business:

Tip 1: Make efficiency a main goal

According to Call Center Helper, 22% of contact centre managers have already identified improved efficiency as their top priority for 2022. This is a crucial step in improving customer care, as service speed and accuracy are what consumers want.

Tip 2: Pursue self-service options for customers

Call Center Helper further points out that 62% of contact centres say self-service is a critical growth channel for CX, and consider it the most valuable use of AI within the contact centre. Customers who can access a fast, intuitive interface to resolve routine questions get a better impression of a company than those who have to wait several minutes for a response to a call or chat request. 

Tip 3: Acknowledge the impact of customer service on retention

Customers who feel they have not been appropriately respected and adequately served will go elsewhere for their next purchase. The statistics show that 71% of customers have ended their relationship with a company due to poor customer service. Intelligent messaging bots are becoming the new apps for many ecommerce companies, allowing consumers to quickly get information and buy from the brands they love from a single interface.  

Tip 4: Recognise the power of AI

AI can have a significant positive effect in increasing loyalty to a CPG brand through improved user experience. According to HubSpot, existing customers are 50% more likely to try a new product and spend 31% more than new customers, making it far more lucrative to retain customers than to try to acquire new ones.

Conclusion

It is already clear to see how AI and machine learning technologies are transforming the ecommerce industry. Whether through predictive shopping patterns, the use of chatbots or customer personalisation, we will continue to see the advancement of these AI tools. Businesses that have already incorporated AI are seeing massive benefits, as they are able to collect and utilise massive amounts of big data to enhance their customers’ experience.

Looking ahead, we can expect to see greater consumer expectations, greater competition, and greater innovation – with those businesses failing to integrate AI and other tools into the CX offering getting left behind.

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