AI & Small Retail Business Websites – What the Future Holds
Did you know that according to several recent research studies, consumers sent to your retail website from search take just 50 milliseconds to decide whether your website is worth staying on? They no longer even hang around for seconds before making up their minds.
It’s therefore more important than ever for websites to be of high-quality in order to make sales. For online retailers, items need to be presented in an enticing way that convinces customers to buy. Web design plays an important role in this.
But while a website needs to appeal aesthetically, it also needs to provide a simple, efficient user experience from landing on the homepage through to purchase.
To survive in an ever-growing digital world, it’s essential for retailers to understand how AI can improve website design to begin incorporating it. Here are some ways AI is being used, not just by large retailers, but by small retailers as well to consider implementing
Visual Search Technology
Visual search technology lets users to take photos of products they’ve seen in store or online and match them to available items in stock which closely resemble the uploaded image.
This AI technology reduces the amount of time users have to think about finding the right keywords to locate a product or scroll through large online inventories. Visual search also allows retailers to make product suggestions and answer queries that might be too difficult over text, for instance, ‘Show me styles like this image’.
This is especially useful to a retailer whose customers are younger. 62% of millennials want the ability to use visual search to streamline the search process on e-commerce sites.
Moving forward, this feature could become the leading component in landing page design, particular in terms of image size and number of images shown. Less text may be used and pages will become more interactive.
Retail brands like ASOS and Nordstorm are already utilizing visual search to enhance its overall consumer experience, and small business accessible web builder services like Wix and Squarespace are working to bring it to a mass market, so it’s a feature to look out for in the near future.
The Rise of Retail Chatbots
Chatbots can revolutionize how consumers interact with a retail website by enabling instant communication without the need for a real-life human. These chatbots can answer increasingly complex shopping questions 24/7, eliminating the need for someone to ‘man’ the site 24/7 to help capture those late night/early morning web shopper dollars.
Chatbots run on complex natural language processing (NLP) systems as a result of AI, which mimic human language to generate more natural and meaningful conversations with users. Retail chatbots can perform tasks like completing purchases, offering product recommendations and providing customer support.
These services are expected to drive $112 billion in retail sales by 2023 so any retail website would benefit from factoring in this technology into their designs. Chatbots can either be developed from scratch by a team of designers and developers using complex coding and programming, or built automatically using services like TARS, Botsify and more.
Artificial Design Intelligence
Artificial design intelligence is a technology that automatically builds websites, as well as brand names and logos — for instance, sites like Wix and Squarespace. It is enabling good web design to be more accessible and affordable for both large and small retail companies and startups. The latter stands to benefit more as website templates can cost far less than a custom-made design.
ADI is relatively easy to set up, often with built-in functionality and a range of fonts and designs to choose from. Bear in mind, other sites using the same technology may have similar website elements making it less unique. It also removes the personal touch of a human designer, but if you’re in need of a website on a tight time-scale or budget ADI can be a good solution, especially as these sites tend to be SEO friendly ‘out of the box’, a factor that’s still important in driving customers to your site in the first place.