Whether you’re on board with the idea of AI and chatbots or not, there is very little denying that they are the future of ecommerce, customer relations and data collection. Similar to the way the internet and social media spread and changed the face of how we communicate with one another, with brands and with the rest of the world, AI and chatbots are considered the next wave of change to occur and overhaul the current ways of thinking and working.

What is AI?

AI stands for artificial intelligence and utilises the concept of creating and programming machines to ‘think like humans’. AI was developed utilising a technology called ‘machine learning’, which aims to alleviate monotony and remove human error from arduous tasks.

The majority of AI processes at the moment perform menial or repetitive tasks in order to free up human resource time, for more important tasks. Advanced AI is now able to learn, plan, reason and understand languages in order to support tasks within the workplace. Although the current AI technology is not on par with actual human intelligence, it does look to bring big changes to the way in which we live and work.

What are chatbots?

There are two different kinds of chatbots, these are; scripted chatbots and AI chatbots. AI chatbots are much more intelligent than scripted chatbots and rely on learning information in order to become more efficient. The AI chatbots are able to learn 1,000 times faster than humans making them able to process data and present intelligent results in real time.

Chatbots are currently being used to solve problems and answer questions, with ecommerce brands adopting the technology, in particular, to answer questions about products, ordering processes, chasing order status and resolving issues. This reduces the requirement for initial contact with a human, leaving the ability for the complaint or issue to be passed onto the ‘human’ customer service assistant at a point where the AI can no longer support the query.

How do AI and chatbots integrate with marketing?

Marketing looks to continue to be heavily impacted by the integration of AI, from making recommendations for product purchases based on that customer’s past preferences, to supporting the development of algorithms which offer shoppers alternatives to ensure the best pricing for a basket of products on a website. The possibilities are endless and can also support market research by collecting a wealth of information about how individuals use ecommerce platforms and utilising this knowledge to provide more optimal experiences. This learned knowledge can also support in serving customers the right type of advertising in the right locations and at the right times.

Social media will be more integrated with AI, analysing opinions and creating responses and content that aligns with this data, looks to be developed further in the future, even integrating the ability to analyse all media formats, including video, text and audio.

The use of AI can overall free up market researchers to spend more time developing creative assets and strategies, whilst the machines manage the data collection and analysis side of the work. The ongoing process of build, test, learn and share will allow the AI to continuously gain information and build a database of research that will assist marketers in understanding their audiences more completely. The information will support in predicting trends more accurately, based on algorithms, and could ultimately allow brands to get ahead of the curve by understanding the past to predict the future.

So, what now?

AI is currently a very hot topic, particularly for those working within branding and marketing. AI opens up options to boost resources and streamline the process, ultimately, making more time for the human resource to focus on tasks which require human emotional intelligence to be completed. It also means that data processing can be completed more quickly and cheaply, compared to previous methods, with the ability to analyse more data and capture signals from customer interactions more accurately.

Brands are opting to adopt AI to support their customer interactions, due to the reduced cost and the ability to adapt to all customers, particularly in terms of language and understanding. Brands such as Amazon, are already using AI to recommend products by utilising machine learning, to provide better shopping experiences and strengthen their selling power through a holistic understanding of the consumer, but these high-tech processes are applicable to just about any online brand and should not be ignored.