18th November 2020 - 3 minutes

Perception vs. Reality of AI

The perception of AI

What comes to mind when you think of artificial intelligence (AI)? Is it a taboo subject? Is AI something extremely complicated and exclusive to bigger enterprise sized companies? Or is it the 2004 film that the famous actor Will Smith stars in – I, Robot?

In 2020 we conducted research around the current ‘perceptions of AI’ within the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) market. Covid-19 has changed the way people shop online, so we thought it would be important to research what software technology SMEs were adopting to help adapt to the new shopping climate – and we wanted to know if eCommerce personalisation was one of them.

The research involved surveying 250 UK SMEs with a turnover of £2m – £20m (B2B and B2C 50/50 split). We spoke to; Head of Ecommerce, Senior Ecommerce Managers, Head of Digital, Digital Ecommerce Managers, Head of Marketing (if the marketing covered off and online) and Ecommerce Managers.

After speaking and surveying these people and organisations the results shocked us!

Who knew that when people thought of AI the famous actor Will Smith still came to mind? It was clear to see that there were many unknowns and misconceptions about AI and eCommerce personalisation.

As a result of this only 66% of the SMEs, we spoke to, had introduced new software technology into their martech stack to try address the challenges they faced online.

Other useful findings include:

  • 45% feel Ecommerce Personalisation is more suited to bigger retail businesses due to costs
  • 75% agree their customers want to be treated as individuals
  • 41% are concerned about the competition becoming more advanced via the use of AI
  • 49% agree that AI would help them better predict and target customer preferences
  • 26% agree that websites that have not adopted ecommerce personalisation will struggle to compete
  • 31% agree that ecommerce personalisation is now common practice within the ecommerce arena

The reality of AI

So, what is AI?

The BBC have recently described AI as “technology that enables a computer to think or act in a more ‘human’ way. It does this by taking in information from its surroundings, and deciding its response based on what it learns or senses.” (Newsround, 2020)

What does it do?

AI can be used for multiple purposes.

It surrounds us through our personal electronic devices or accounts (e.g. social media). AI uses machine learning to help understand more things about what individual people are interested in. Not as scary as it seems, right?

More recently, retail has adopted the use of AI-driven personalisation software to predict products their customers may be interested in. This strategy has proven to allow for a smoother customer experience, increase customer loyalty and revenue.

“But now more retailers are using AI (artificial intelligence) – software systems that can learn for themselves – to try to automatically predict and encourage our very specific preferences and purchases like never before.” (BBC News, 2020)

How can AI-driven eCommerce Personalisation technology help SMEs reach their goals?

Our research showed that before being prompted the top five challenges SMEs were facing in 2020 are;

  1. Ensuring their website stands out from competitors
  2. Converting browsing into sales
  3. Building a loyal customer database
  4. Keeping up to date with eCommerce trends
  5. Trying to deliver personalised 1-2-1 interactions with customers

After being prompted with a series of options the top five challenges changed to;

  1. Ensuring the customer journey is personalised
  2. Converting browsing into sales
  3. Keeping up to date with ecommerce trends
  4. Ensuring their website stands out from competitors
  5. Evaluating online success

I can confidently say that AI-driven ecommerce personalisation software, like PureClarity, can achieve or improve 90% of the issues that these SMEs have stated that they are facing.

“eCommerce Personalisation is the process of delivering personal experiences on eCommerce sites by dynamically showing content, product recommendations and specific offers based on previous actions, browsing behaviour, purchase history, demographics, and other personal data.”

“Personalisation is increasingly important to merchants seeking to, not only engage shoppers, but also to increase repeat purchases, drive sales and increase conversion.” (bloomreach, 2020)

This technology can come in various states – from personalised homepage banners and campaigns, intelligent product recommenders that appear on all buying pages, personalisation within search, popups that appear to reduce cart-abandonment, live chat for direct customer engagement, personalised recommendations within email, the ability to segment your customer database to any criteria you wish and many more applications that can be used to suit your goals.

Introducing PureClarity

PureClarity are specialists in intelligent eCommerce customer engagement and personalisation. Our software offers a wide range of features that helps you increase revenue and average order value, converting your online visitors into loyal customers. 

In fact, we won AI Innovation of the Year 2020 – go us!

Engaging with your customer at a personal level is the key to success. With technology fast evolving and the competitor landscape for SMEs growing quickly, the ‘today’s customer expectation’ is higher than ever – why not give people the best customer experience possible?

PureClarity’s advanced AI-driven eCommerce technology and abundant personalisation features makes staying ahead of the competition affordable, less time consuming and easier than ever.

Leave the heavy lifting down to us. Book a free demo or download our 30 day free trial.

Additional reading 

Online Shopping the New Norm? 

The Rise of the SMEs Throughout Lockdown 

The Perfect eCommerce Personalisation Solution for SMEs in 2020

AI The Backbone of Effective eCommerce Personalisation

SMEs: Create Engaging Online Experiences, Create Online Growth

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