By now, we are all quite familiar with the recommendation engines of brands like Amazon and Netflix. These brands take note of what we click on and like, and then offer us more of the same. If you regularly watch “Orange Is the New Black” Netflix might suggest you try “Wentworth,” for example.
YouTube works the same way: If I watch a video about how to make sourdough bread, YouTube will suggest more of the same types of videos. And does anyone do this better than Pinterest? Pinterest fills my newsfeed with images similar to what I’ve already followed or pinned. Then takes it a step farther—enabling me to shop via images, finding products matching the items in a pin and allowing click and buy in a matter of seconds. This is how Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is defining engagement.
From Recommendations to Engagement
Driven by AI, these recommendation engines help consumers to find more of what they want—and drive consumer expectations even higher. This kind of personalized targeting raises the bar for all brands to follow suit, and now every brand is expected to make recommendations and deliver experiences that are in line with one consumer’s wants, needs, and preferences. And this also means you can add AI for e-commerce brands beyond Amazon, meaning all brands selling online, whether they have deep budgets and IT resources of Amazon or not.
For those brands that pay attention to these changing expectations and deliver the experiences consumers want, the payoff is huge: an increase in customer engagement. It’s simple math: When you give people what they want, you deepen your engagement with them because you’re meeting their expectations. And engaged customers are customers who buy—and then come back to buy again as engagement leads to loyalty.
Five Ways AI for E-Commerce Can Enable Customer Engagement
But how do you take that e-commerce experience to the next level without adding to your marketing or IT team—or budget? You rely on AI. The technology exists to enable you as the marketer to learn from your users’ signals and market to their needs in a targeted way—with little or no effort on your part. To help you wrap your head around using AI to deepen customer engagement, we describe five ways to do so below.
1. AI enables you to do personalization at scale. With AI at work on your behalf, you can predict what a consumer might like or want and put that in front of them automatically. And you can do this for millions of consumers with accuracy and efficiency. Think back to our Netflix and Pinterest examples: Both have millions of users, but both are making recommendations and suggestions based on individual behaviors, for one-to-one targeting.
2. Repeat order personalization: This kind of personalization can include products that need to be re-ordered or refilled, like the anti-inflammatory medicine for the pet dog that needs to be re-ordered monthly. Or it can be more complicated than that. For example, if a consumer buys nectar for a hummingbird feeder, you can prompt them to re-order based on their buying history of that product or that of other customers who bought the same product.
3. AI can help you optimize your cross-channel spend by determining which consumer prefers which channel. Maybe one consumer prefers email and you can count on a high open rate with her when you send a campaign, but another consumer prefers Facebook so you’re better off showing him ads within that platform. With AI for e-commerce, you’ll gather—and use—the data regarding who likes what, not just in products but in channels too. Then you can automate how to reach out to each consumer based on the channels each prefers.
4. AI enables content optimization. You already knew you could optimize send times, right? But now you can optimize content too with automated testing that ensures the higher-performing content is used.
5. AI will help you eliminate guesswork and market efficiently. AI is constantly gathering and learning from information, enabling you to take deep dives into analytics and then use data about behavioral trends to drive your marketing strategy and budget decisions moving forward.
MoEngage’s Sherpa Is Your AI Option
AI is now a commonplace tool in the marketer’s toolkit with several vendors offering solutions. For example, MoEngage’s Sherpa is an AI engine that can help you use AI to deepen customer engagement as an online retailer. Using Machine Learning, Sherpa determines which content is performing best in multivariate testing, then uses that content in your marketing campaigns. In addition, Sherpa can make sure messages are sent to consumers on an individual basis, at the time they are most likely to open and engage with that content across different channels like email, SMS, push notifications, app, and site.
Unlike earlier generations, we’re living in a global economy with nearly everything within our reach thanks to e-commerce. And technology not only enables that limitless access to goods, but also the personalization that ensures I see just what I want to see despite the endless choices out there. Because there’s no way I or you or anyone else could sort through a world of choices. We need AI to do that for us—for our benefit as consumers and marketers both.