By 2020, Gartner estimates that “consumers will manage 85% of their relationships with enterprises without ever interacting with a human.” So, the question becomes, who will they interact with? The answer is simple - some type of artificial intelligence (AI). While no one knows for sure how this will impact different businesses, industries, and the economy overall, that certainly hasn’t stopped businesses from jumping on the train. According to Narrative Science, 62% of organizations will adopt AI by 2018.

There are some significant trends which may give us valuable insight to what the future of AI could bring. Some common examples of AI include virtual assistants, chatbots, self-driving vehicles, and personal shoppers, to name a few.  Each AI type is designed to help businesses to operate in a more productive, efficient and timely manner. It’s important, however, to consider both the positive and negative impact that artificial intelligence may have on businesses now, and in the future.

AI and Ecommerce = A Personalized Shopping Experience

Personal shopping applications are popping up all over the place, and are used to help consumers make better purchases. For example, The North Face uses Expert Personal Shopper (XPS), (powered by IBM’s Watson) which asks a variety of questions and uses the answers to help the shopper make the most logical shopping decisions. Another example of an AI personal shopper is Mona, which isn’t affiliated with any particular brand or product, but aims to help consumers to shop smarter.

Using artificial intelligence in ecommerce can help create a more personalized shopping experience.

These are just a couple of examples of AI shopping tools that have emerged recently. In each case, the tool focuses on providing a more personalized experience for the shopper, which results in a more satisfied customer, and often creates customer loyalty in the long run. These AI shopping tools are changing the way we shop. Not only are they changing the way consumers look online for products and services, they are also changing the way businesses are advertising to consumers.

AI and Chatbots = Better Customer Service

Chatbots are computer-managed programs that engage in conversations with people using a combination of artificial intelligence, automated messaging, and language-based rules. While traditional chat applications are often manned by a person within the organization, handled by a 3rd party customer service provider, or a combination of both, AI and chatbots go hand in hand.

If you browse or shop for products or services online, you’ve likely encountered a customer service chatbot. You may not have even realized it, because they are designed to emulate real-life interactions with online customer service representatives. Just like traditional chat boxes, they often pop up when you visit a website for the first time, and can either be closed out completely, minimized, or temporarily closed or minimized, depending on the automated settings.

When it comes to the ways chatbots can improve customer service for businesses, the possibilities are endless. They allow customers to chat directly with the organization to get quick answers, making it easy for the customer and the business to resolve simple customer service matters.

The Downside of USING Chatbots

While implementing chatbots to handle customer service chats can undoubtedly help make your organization more efficient, it can also potentially negatively impact your productivity in other ways. While they can effectively reduce or eliminate the need for hiring a large, in-house customer service staff, which is great for business budgets, they could also be tough on the future of our workforce.One of the negatives of using chatbots is that it could take a toll on the future of the workforce.

Additionally, chatbots can easily make mistakes with language, and therefore may not always have the most relevant (or comprehensible) answers to customer inquiries and concerns. This could cause frustration for your customers, resulting in a call to your organization, and in-house staff being pulled away from other responsibilities to resolve the issue at hand. In some cases, it may be necessary to monitor chatbot conversations from time to time to identify any recurring language issues, so they can be fixed going forward.

THE Benefits of AI for Marketing

There are many benefits to using AI for businesses, such as using it as a marketing tool. By nature, interactions with chatbots are more engaging than most other types of B2B or B2C interactions, which makes the impact of such interactions far more powerful than many traditional marketing tactics.

The use of chatbots and messaging apps to communicate with customers can create a powerful brand experience.

Because customers are more engaged and immersed in a powerful brand experience during a conversation with a chatbot or similar messaging app, they are more likely to recall the experience for a longer period of time. The short-term result is often improved brand recognition and loyalty. Over the long-term, however, businesses may have access to more personal and relevant customer data, helping them to predict future shopping behaviors and preferences.

Do you use Chatbots or other forms of AI in your business? If so, which ones, and how are they working for you? We want to know!

Emily Burns
By Emily Burns

CommonPlaces favorite Marketing Manager, Emily, loves golfing, hiking, bowling, and finding stuff to do-it-herself on Pinterest. However, her true passion lies in curling up in sweats and watching sappy Nicholas Sparks movies with a nice glass of wine.

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