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Artificial intelligence has reached a point in its advancement where the masses have an understanding of its capabilities. In fact, consumers already see the near future where AI simplifies specific tasks of their everyday lives such as booking travel, educating them, preparing their taxes, and driving their cars. It’s no surprise that the AI market projection is estimated to be nearly $70 billion by 2020.
While AI usage is still transitioning into a phase of mass adoption, businesses have the ability to individually expedite the process by giving control of their AI to their customers. Consumers appreciate new forms of innovation that make their lives easier and providing them with AI tools for their convenience will only increase business profitability. This profit comes directly from three reasons: saving customers time and money, increasing customer trust in AI, and improving the customer journey.
Saving customers time and money
Arguably the most crucial aspect of giving your consumers direct access to AI is the savings it brings them. According to a Gartner survey, 58% of consumers said they would use AI to save time and 56% said they’d use it to save money. The more time they save, the more likely they are to purchase a product and the more money they save, they’re likely to return to your business to buy again. Interestingly enough, we’re actually not far off from the early stages of these capabilities already happening.
Consider services such as Rakuten or Honey that automatically maneuver through thousands of online pages in an instant to save shoppers money across various stores, whether it be through online rebates or comparing product prices. Though this actual philosophy is more simple on paper than in practice. There are various aspects to consider such as AI capabilities, ease of access, interface, and how helpful it is at directing customers on your site. Once these basic features are accounted for, then companies can begin to implement next-level services to save their customers time and money.
So how do AI developers take their consumer AI to the next level? By putting consumers’ main wishes at the forefront of their innovation. This is specific to each company’s industry and services. Take the above examples of Rakuten or Honey; their profitability and consumer adoption could be rapidly accelerated with AI if they expanded their technological capabilities to forecast upcoming online sales and ensure future savings, thus creating returning customers. The algorithm to develop this could be based on previous sales trends, researching company announcements on upcoming deals, and analyzing shopper habits to predict when companies are likely to host a sale. When these methods are perfected, consumers can add extensions to get automatic notifications and purchasing a product on sale is one click away.
Increasing customer trust in AI
There’s no denying how important it is to get your customers to trust your AI product in order to use it more. Twenty years ago, consumers would have preferred bank fraud prevention representatives to be human when calling them to confirm any unusual activity on their credit cards. But now, everyone is content with receiving a text message just seconds after their card is used to confirm its legitimacy.
While consumers have an overall positive outlook on AI, only 49% said they would trust advice from AI for retail and 38% said they would trust AI-generated advice regarding hospitality. This is the time for companies to show they know what it takes to build an ethical and trusting AI product that consumers have direct control of. When consumer trust in AI increases, so does its adoption.
Improving the consumer journey
As Media Update stated, “artificial intelligence is the helping hand that you never knew you needed.” Ultimately, AI brings an approach that can make consumer interactions with your business a seamless experience that makes them want to return. Take a look at Sephora’s chatbot, which essentially replaces the need for customers to go in-store for beauty advice. After asking a few personal questions, the chatbot will share recommended products and their reviews, makeup and beauty tips, help customers book appointments with beauty specialists, and even recommend makeup colors based on a customer’s skin shade. The result? Sephora is a clear leader of the beauty industry.
So how does this improve the overall consumer experience? First, AI such as chatbots eliminates the barrier of wait times and allows customers to take matters into their own hands for customer service. Second, it encourages brands to be more proactive about sales. Ecommerce sites consistently have “recommended” sections where they present items that previous customers purchased based on the item a current customer recently bought or is looking at. Lastly, AI has the capability to personalize the purchase journey such as using a customer’s name, referencing recently purchased items, and already having their information on file. All these components make a customer feel more important.
The AI landscape is growing rapidly; so much so that profitability seems to be a secondary motive. The never-ending innovation that tech leaders bring to their businesses continues to improve the industry from a B2B perspective. We’re facing a gap where businesses can create significant revenue streams by the billions through their developments, and the bridge to the other end is built when they open their tools to the consumer. If all capable businesses hand AI to their customers, mass adoption will come quickly and the industry will experience unseen levels of growth.
Ramin Vatanparast is Chief Product Officer at Trustpilot.
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