Technology grows and advances every day. Because of technological advancements, e-commerce has emerged and flourished in a way that global businesses of all sizes have benefited from.
The owners of those same online businesses see stories in the news every day about artificial intelligence (AI) and how it's being perpetually integrated into our lives. When it comes to e-commerce, will AI ultimately be a help or a hindrance?
What is Machine Learning?
Today's systems use machine learning to study you and what makes you who you are. Machine learning goes deeper than general information about you like your age, gender, or educational level. It will make a note of the fact that you collect baseball trading cards and search often for vegan recipes.
How is that helpful? When it comes to marketing, machine learning can be applied to gradually learn what a company's clients like and don't like. It can slowly determine what information can be presented and in what format that will increase the likelihood that the customer will buy their product or service.
Innovative Chatbot Use
Chatbots are used in many aspects of our lives these days. Whether you're calling your bank, your children's school, or a favorite retailer about a recent online order, more often than not, you're connected with a chatbot who instructs you to listen carefully to the menu options and to choose the one that best suits reason for calling.
Chatbots have evolved impressively, understanding unstructured data co it can relate to real human conversation. Chatbots can serve as qualified customer service representatives around the clock to handle a large portion of basic questions a company's customers will have. That's a huge benefit for small and medium-sized businesses.
Machine learning enables such chatbots general information to receive the programming they need to answer customer questions. As they interact with growing numbers of customers, the chatbots will be able to amass more specific information on your products or services and expand the ways they can assist.
Agreements for the use of chatbots, particularly where they are provided by third parties, should be strictly outlined in advance. While you're collecting information on your clients with their permission for your business, you'll want to ensure that information is not being used or distributed elsewhere.
Intuitive Display and Search
The enhanced ability to search for the items you need and want is another huge advantage of machine learning. Today we search using what we consider to be relevant words or keywords as they are called by marketers and businesses. Business owners hope they've optimized for the same words so they can provide what you're looking for.
Machine learning amps up search capabilities by providing a wider array of synonyms at the user level. The system will search for synonyms to any nouns entered along with popular phrases commonly used for the same type of query. Machine learning also enables systems to learn a business's site and its metrics. The search will become even better for the consumer with the search engine able to find products with the best ratings or limit them if there's a lack of inventory.
This feature of machine learning, however, shouldn't be "set it and forget it." It would be easy here for the fine-tuning system, if left unmanaged, to get to the point where it would completely stop marketing a product with poor sales. As a result, those links would suffer in the search engine rankings, wasting marketing efforts.
Removing the Guesswork
When you move past the chatbots and searches, machine learning offers a great many opportunities for marketers to use it in their campaigns and promotions. It can help you anticipate the upcoming needs of your customers and send them special, timely offers. They can help you proactively approach the holiday buying season with tempting offers for those who've purchased from you before.
Since it can be used to handle a lot of the manual labor for you and to remove a lot of the guesswork in your marketing efforts, machine learning systems can teach themselves to craft prospective sales that meet a broad range of criteria whether for returning customers, managing inventory, or more. Machine learning can eliminate a lot of the questions you try to answer for yourself in AB testing which is a great convenience.
That being said, such offers should be managed by human staff to ensure there's a balance on how long a given offer is good for and the range of prices. It's a turnoff to a customer, new or returning, to see a special offer only to have it gone if they didn't or couldn't click the link immediately.
Where to Start?
Many experts support getting started in machine learning slowly. Some believe chatbots are a good place to start.
Others think analytics engines like Spark ML is a great starting point. As opposed to the interaction or query information we're accustomed to with relational databases, analytics engines like Spark allow you to deploy, execute, and run analytics. If you create analytics that you intend to be valuable for your company, the analytic engine can either validate or invalidate the energy and time you spent on it in short order.
In today's landscape of complicated systems, machine learning could be the key to helping some brands wield technology to go much farther than they ever thought they could and achieve great profits. Staying current on new technologies, and being able to identify what innovations might benefit your business, will be vital in the future to your success