Once upon a time, the extent of retail personalisation was websites remembering a customer’s name.

That all changed when the likes of Amazon started using customer data to deliver tailored pages and purchase suggestions to their customers, and Netflix started providing content recommendations to its subscribers.

The personalisation of today is highly specific, and thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) it’s going to transform ecommerce as we know it.

Personal stores

Before online shopping was de rigueur, consumers were limited by the physical stock on display in their local shops and malls.

Online shopping came with seemingly infinite choices on virtual aisles and as it has become the norm psychologists believe that shoppers are feeling overwhelmed, less satisfied with their purchases and thus more hesitant to make buying decisions.

Personalisation is the response to this, hoping to offer a more engaging and positive experience to consumers.

AI will use advanced machine learning to remember and analyse browser history, page clicks, likes, shares and purchases, even down to how long a page is visited for, to gauge interest in certain products, and tailor recommendations to the interests and habits of each individual customer.

This is the future of personalisation and it’s driven by customers who demand a personalised online shopping experience.

Online stores will be able to tailor everything from the branding to product suggestions to the layout of their stores to different customers, depending on their needs and expectations.

AI does this by customising pages and elements to the point when it feels like the store was built just for that customer – and that’s because it was!

The return of the salesperson

Modern consumers enjoy the experience of human assistance and recommendations when shopping but without the interaction – this is also why influencer marketing is so popular.

Most shoppers would prefer to be left alone when shopping, either online or in a physical store, but also want to be assisted immediately when they want it – in other words, they want to shop on their own terms. AI is perfect for this.

Virtual assistants are like having a human on hand to recommend products but with the backing of a detailed database of information to make the right suggestions at the right time. This information is cleverly cultivated not just from each customer’s profile but by assimilating information from across the web – from blogs, to social media to images – to continually learn about the customer.

Getting closer to customers

Using customer data and insights to guide decision making and improve operational processes can help businesses get closer to their customers.

It helps businesses proactively solve problems, make better recommendations and create a frictionless shopping experience.

The goal of utilising AI for personalisation should be to ease the purchasing process for customers by filtering out unnecessary and confusing choices for an overall more satisfactory experience.

AI in marketing is beneficial in attracting new customers as well as retaining customers with greater value. That tailored, hyper-personalised experience strengthens brand loyalty and loyal customers are not only high value, they are incredible ambassadors.

The closer businesses can get to their customers, the easier it will be to give them meaningful experiences and purchases they are satisfied with.

Incorporate AI into your business

One of AI’s primary roles in marketing is to give marketers the tools to stand out in the torrent of adverts consumers see every day.

AI uses smart algorithms to find patterns in data, solve problems with statistics and use probabilities to continually learn about individual customers until it ‘understands’ the customer well enough to make considered and relevant recommendations and personalisations.

Businesses don’t have to incorporate AI into their business overnight but it is smart to start adopting it sooner rather than later. Huge impacts can be seen through the incremental introduction of AI with virtual chat assistants, personalised email marketing and product recommendations.

The future of ecommerce lies firmly with personalisation and AI is the transforming power.