Digital experiences personalized with Artificial Intelligence have three major benefits: They increase the overall online revenue by boosting the average order value, they increase the conversion rate, and reduce the cost of customer.
Today, almost every digital experience is personalized. Marketing teams use artificial intelligence to target advertising, and Netflix recommends series based on algorithms that precisely predict what will entertain you.
Personalization with Artificial Intelligence has long been an established part of everyday life - even if it is not always labelled as such. In e-commerce, B2C providers such as Amazon are already making heavy use of it.
But what about B2B?
Do B2B websites use Artificial Intelligence?
Not so long ago, the category manager, perhaps together with the purchasing department, determined what the offered online assortment should look like. B2B websites were static, complex and not at all targeted to a customer. They acted as information portal, because prices, delivery options and other agreements were made in person, between sales reps and customers.
But times are changing. Modern B2B buyers want to begin and end their procurement journey on their terms - ideally supported by sales reps at every stage necessary.
This is why B2B portals drastically catch up to their B2C counterparts, offering highly personalized websites, where visitors oftentimes don't even see the entire range of products. Instead, based on evaluated data such as surfing behavior, previous orders, or the assigned comparison group, the assortment and conditions are adjusted.
4 use cases for Artificial Intelligence in B2B e-commerce
Artificial Intelligence can be used to personalize many interaction points between seller and customer:
1. On-site search personalized with AI
Search indexes that use AI in form of machine learning algorithms can alter the product result list of search queries based on the customers' preferences. The visitor sees familiar products and brands on top, while products that cannot be shipped immediately are ranked at the bottom.
2. Product descriptions written with support of AI
Perfect product information is the foundation of a high conversion. But different website visitors need different information. The answer can't be to provide every detail to everyone, for that can lead to overwhelming experiences that lower the chance of conversion.
Modern websites can use "Smart Rules" based on Artificial Intelligence that share different information to various customer segments, such as first-time visitors or customers who regularly purchase the respective item.
3. Product recommendations chosen by Artificial Intelligence
Since the beginning of e-commerce, sellers have created associations between their products, but also towards additional items, content, accessories or services. Those hard-coded connections were used for cross- and up-sell activities.
Today, B2B buyers expect to find the product in question within minutes, and, following the "Amazon experience", personalized recommendations based on the selected item on product pages, home pages, within the shopping cart, on category pages - basically throughout the entire website.
Algorithms based on AI are able to determine what kind of recommendations are likely to convert - because it is a fine line for a recommendation between adding real value and being a nuisance for the user.
4. B2B E-Mail Marketing based on Artificial Intelligence
You learn a lot about your website visitor when they use your website: Browsing history, device used, ordered products, or abandoned carts. Tools that leverage AI enable you to surgically retarget them via e-mail.
And think about newsletters! Add your own data to the mix mentioned before - product information, ratings, special prices, stock information, delivery time, up- and cross-sell potential - to create promotional communication that fits perfectly to the buying behavior of your customer.
In the dynamic landscape of digital commerce, the integration of Artificial Intelligence in e-commerce is not limited to B2C giants like Amazon. B2B websites are undergoing a transformation, moving away from static, non-customer-centric models. Today, modern B2B portals are leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence to deliver highly personalized experiences.
When looking at the four key use cases for Artificial Intelligence in B2B e-commerce - personalized on-site search, AI-powered product descriptions, intelligent product recommendations and data-driven B2B email marketing - it becomes clear that the integration of AI is not just a technological advancement, but a strategic necessity to provide a seamless and tailored customer experience.