Applications, Electronics & Scientific Guide, Technology Trends

How Artificial Intelligence Makes Online Stores Personal

The Internet offers many advantages for distributors, but users often lack the human touch in web shops. This is also because online offers usually go by the needs of users. Artificial intelligence can help bring together online and offline.

The Internet has profoundly changed the component distribution. Many of these changes are positive. Traders can offer services on the Net that were unimaginable in times of paper catalogs. For example, customers looking for a new sensor in the online catalog can quickly view and compare numerous products. Once you’ve made a shortlist of eligible devices, you can access the datasheets with a single click. Then they can compare and analyze the technical details from the specifications until a suitable solution is found.

However, sometimes you get the impression that the internet has lost something in every aspect of trading – human interaction, personalized advice, and business relationships. It is not uncommon for a purchase to be made, with no form of human communication from selection to delivery.

Many distributors want to have more personal experience and have adopted a B2C web marketing strategy. To some extent, it can be helpful for customers to see product alternatives or favorite products on the merchant’s home page. However, this does not take into account how technical experts and the teams of the respective purchasing departments proceed.

Think like an FAE – or a shopper

An engineer or technician is extremely selective in the product search. There are strict requirements for the eligible products, and budget issues are often not the most critical aspect. Size, cabling, connection, power consumption, compatibility and many other factors must be for the purchase to be made. The recommendation of a PCB mount sensor, just because a customer previously ordered an industrial pressure transmitter, only shows a lack of understanding of the customer’s requirements and industry.

Shopping teams place other demands on the website of a distributor. Their job is often in entering orders or approving the orders of their colleagues. It is also no advantage for them to be shown comparable products or special offers since in most cases they do not know to be able to evaluate the technical specification of the offered alternative.

One of the benefits of a B2B retailer with local sales and technical teams is that they offer a human face in addition to the online interface. Customers enjoy the advantage of being able to select and order products online at any time as required, but at the same time, they have the opportunity to seek personal advice on purchasing decisions that need more expertise and support.

The customer as an unknown size

Retailers today often have a relatively confused understanding of the needs of their customers. Online services can be used to build profiles of individual buyers. With the appropriate consent, merchants could use enterprise accounts to create profiles of entire departments or organizations. However, these data provide only a very one-dimensional picture of the respective requirements. It is becoming increasingly important for distributors to take the time to understand their customers and offer them a personalized experience.

This requires a 360 ° perspective of both the individuals in an organization and the environment in which they work. This can only be done by distributors sorting, merging and evolving their understanding of customer requirements. They need to understand the history of their transactional data, consider their current purchasing cycle, and make the best use of preference data to make future interactions relevant and responsive. The 360 ° perspective continues to evolve by allowing distributors to keep track of data from all touch points – from responses to recommended products to interactions in solving order-specific issues.

Online presence enables 360 ° viewing

In the future, B2B users of a Distributor site should receive a tailored service, with information and marketing material that will meet their specific needs. For example, shoppers may receive updates on price reductions for items they regularly order, or special volume orders.

Maintenance engineers may receive information about recently purchased products or recall information about items they have recently purchased. Design engineers could be presented with recommendations for possible solutions based on their last meeting with the dealer’s technical team of experts.

Distributors are thus able to provide a service that is relevant to the role of the employee in the organization and to personalize interactions online as well as offline. For the implementation, of course, an opt-in of individuals and companies is required. However, if such a platform meets the expectations, it is highly likely that the approach will be well received and gaining acceptance.

Artificial intelligence helps with personalization

Such a platform will undoubtedly use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to segment the user base. Analyzing a wide range of data helps identify patterns that would be difficult to determine with other methods. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that every visitor receives precisely the information, offers, and support that help them master the challenges of their day-to-day work.

Looking ahead, given the enormous potential of Industry 4.0, it is hoped that integrated intelligence in industrial plants, control systems, actuators and sensors will bring further benefits. There is no reason not to assume that such equipment will monitor itself for wear and return updated data on the expected life to the manufacturer. For maintenance teams, this gives them the chance that these devices may even point out possible failures toward the end of their life. If you also include traders, interested customers have the advantage that the required spare part is sent immediately and is ready at the right time.

One becomes all too easily nostalgic and thinks that things were better in the past. However, the Internet has undoubtedly brought us significant opportunities for optimization and cost efficiency that would otherwise not have been possible. Sometimes human development and individual support have been lost in this development. However, now we are at the unique point of development where both aspects come together – the power and efficiency of digital commerce can leverage human relationships and deep individual understanding, ultimately benefiting the merchant’s customers.

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