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January 25, 2017

How to Integrate AI into Your Business Site

Written by Brooke Tajer

When you think about artificial intelligence (AI), you may think sci-fi flicks and robots roaming the earth. However, there’s much more to AI than that, and the things it may be able to do for your business’s website are actually out of this world.

At its most basic, AI is just a mathematical attempt to get a computer to think like a human brain and act as a human would, which can save actual humans a heck of a lot of work. Here are a few ways small businesses can use AI to save time and money.

Website Design

Typically companies have to hire developers to create their websites, which can be timely, complicated and expensive. Some new, upcoming AI technologies, from organizations such as Grid and Wix, however, allow just about anyone to create a website in a snap. You simply answer a few questions about your business, then it gives you a formula for everything from layout and design to colors, font and branding. While the technology is not perfect yet, it is a good option for companies who do not want to spend a lot of money hiring a developer.

Customer Service

When you cannot staff customer service agents 24/7 to answer customer questions and concerns, A.I.-supported chatbots are a great alternative. You can load one with all the most frequently asked customer questions, and automatically provide the answers customers want in a snap, anytime, day or night without using employee resources. Of course, the chat bots will not solve every issue (most are programmed to contact a live person if they cannot), but they can do some pretty heavy hitting.

Not only that, but customers respond well to the technology - one study found 64 percent of customers would rather text than call a business. Another study found that 89 percent of customers would prefer to engage in conversations with virtual assistants.

Sales

Chatbots can get to “know” your customers by collecting data based on their visits and suggesting products and services based on their likes. They are also a great tool for upsells upon checkout, based on those likes and dislikes. Chatbots can also help prevent cart abandonment by sending discount offers when there’s a cart in danger of being abandoned.

Marketing

Earlier this year Facebook announced it was opening up Messenger to allow chatbots. With more than 900 million monthly active users, Facebook Messenger is powerful marketing tool small businesses can use to answer customer questions and send out promotional notices, such as information on sales, links to blog posts and other marketing promotions.

Additionally, just having a bot on your site, which makes your business available to customers around the clock, is good for marketing, as good customer service will lead to happier customers and more word-of-mouth recommendations.

The bottom line: While AI may sound futuristic, the time for small businesses to consider using it is right now.

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