Upping Your Game With an AI-Personalized Website

SEMA News—December 2018


By Joe Dysart

Upping Your Game With an AI-Personalized Website

  Keith Block
Keith Block, co-executive chief officer for Salesforce, said that his company offers AI-driven web personalization software that continually refines how your website is customized on the fly for each customer.

Businesses looking to hyper-personalize how their websites interact with visitors—and spike sales in the process—are turning to a new friend: artificial intelligence (AI). Fortunately, it’s a buyer’s market if you’re looking for those types of AI web-personalization packages. Scores are available.

While the solutions vary in scope and capability, all have the ability to put together a personalized profile on each person who visits your website based on that visitor’s current and past interactions with your site and often his/her interaction with sites across the web. And all have the ability to learn about that visitor’s personality over time, including noting what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to personalizing your website for him/her and then making ever more customized refinements for that person to ensure that your site feels like a trusted friend to them—and a place where they’re very comfortable buying goods or services.

“Adopting an AI-based platform that will churn your big data, constantly learning and marketing to your customers, will prove invaluable,” said Joanne Burman, digital marketing manager for PureClarity, a maker of AI marketing software.

Aseem Chandra, senior vice president at Experience Cloud for Adobe, agreed: “Consumer expectations have skyrocketed to the point that hyper personalization is no longer optional for brands—it’s imperative.”

Given that everyone in business is in one way or another in the personalization market, it should come as no surprise that those who live and die by how well they personalize—retailers—are especially keen on those kinds of tools. Indeed, 96% of retailers surveyed in a report recently released by Infosys (www.infosys.com/newsroom/press-releases/Documents/genome-research-report.pdf) said that web personalization plays a significant role in what gets purchased online. And 62% of those same retailers said that they currently feature some sort of personalization on their websites.

Retailers who are personalizing their websites are seeing a nice payoff. Specifically, 74% of retailers said that enhanced personalization on their websites has resulted in increased sales, and 55% said that personalization has also resulted in greater customer loyalty.

Before you decide on the AI web personalization package that’s right for you, start by checking out the market leaders below. They’re a representative sample of the most you can get from AI web personalization.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud (www.salesforce.com/products/commerce-cloud/overview): One of the most influential makers of digital sales and marketing software, Salesforce has been on a growth tear the past few years, winning over thousands of new customers while investing heavily in AI. Central to its AI-driven package is Einstein, an AI engine that develops a profile on each of your website visitors and serves up your most appropriate product, information or other digital offering based on that visitor’s order history, browsing history and overall behavior and interactivity across the web. Those additional insights—overall visitor activity across the web—can be powerful.

Einstein continually studies the shopping patterns of hundreds of millions of web shoppers, so the chances are very good that you’ll have a great deal of knowledge about the likes and dislikes of every person who visits your site, whether its an existing customer or a first-time. Even better, Einstein’s AI capability is designed to be quickly and effortlessly embedded into any website with just a few clicks. You won’t need a programmer or an IT whiz to get things going, according to Salesforce.

Einstein also enables you to compete with uber retailers such as Amazon by offering your website the ability to feature products or services that are frequently purchased together. And visitors can further personalize their visits to your website by clicking on a request for product recommendations.

Apptus (www.apptus.com): Similar to Salesforce, Apptus uses AI to study the overall web activity of every person who visits your site so that it can help your site make personalized product and service recommendations. The software can also be instantly tweaked to change the products or services that are prominently featured on your homepage and throughout your website. For example, Apptus can be programmed to monitor daily weather patterns to feature snow blowers on days when a heavy fall is predicted, or it can feature essentials such as bottled water, generators and plywood on days when hurricanes are looming large in the forecast.

Like all authentic AI software in this genre, Apptus also learns over time. So during a period of five years, for example, it will study which emergency products move fastest during snowstorms or hurricanes and automatically make adjustments to feature those products or services even more prominently on your site based on past performance.

PureClarity (www.pureclarity.com): Yet another software package driven by an AI analysis and prediction engine, PureClarity studies the on-site and off-site behaviors of every person who visits your site in an effort to come up with custom-tailored product and service recommendations. The specific buying pattern variables that PureClarity studies include weather, season, current and past browsing behaviors, current and past searches, purchases, cart contents, age, gender, visit duration, expressed likes and dislikes, response to email campaigns, response to Google Adword campaigns and the type of device each visitor is using.

PureClarity also comes with an override function so that the software defaults to the human marketer and executes the human marketer’s preference when the software wants to personalize a visit in one way but a human knows a better way to achieve the same goal.

Adobe Target (www.adobe.com/marketing/target.html): Adobe has been working with AI for a number of years, so its product offerings in that space have been through a number of refinements. It’s AI engine, Adobe Sensei, continually studies the behavior of each visitor to your website and refines that person’s experience with your website based on how he/she interacts with your site.

For example, Adobe Sensei will learn over time that a repeat visitor to an art-supplies website tends to buy watercolor supplies. Based on that insight, the software features watercolor supplies prominently for that specific visitor.

Meanwhile, Adobe Target (another module of Adobe’s AI) can provide insights to your web design team regarding the most common computer devices used by your customers. For example, your design team may discover that most of your customers are using PC desktops to browse your site, so they’ll know that they should ensure that your site optimizes expertly on a desktop PC based on that insight to guarantee maximized sales for your demographic.

Joe Dysart is an internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan.




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