We might not always be aware of it, but Artificial Intelligence is now an established component of our daily experience as consumers. Whether it’s choosing a movie based on unique recommendations from Netflix, asking Alexa to share the local weather, or interacting with online customer support via bots, AI is behind the scenes delivering highly personalized, smart interactions. Retailers and brands, acutely aware of the unparallelled opportunity before them, are now fully embracing AI to create these same experiences. 

When a shopper visits an AI-powered ecommerce site, like one of the hundreds powered by Salesforce Einstein, the very fabric of the site is unique to them. From rich product imagery on the homepage to product assortments in search results, the future of AI brings personalized shopping experiences to a whole new level. Think of it this way: If a brand has 200,000 regular customers, there could conceivably be 200,000 iterations of their website. 

So when visiting a sportswear retailer’s site, my soccer-obsessed cousin might see imagery of Messi on the soccer field and soccer gear, while I’m more likely to see Tom Brady and Patriots merchandise.

It gets even better when I walk into that same retailer’s store, and with my permission an associate can look me up and provide relevant product recommendations and offers based on my online browsing and user profile. The brand has connected with me in a whole new way that’s relevant. I feel like they truly understand me and are going out of their way to secure me as a loyal customer.

AI isn’t just changing the way consumers shop and interact with brands. It’s also empowering retailers to create truly personalized experiences and automate the time-consuming manual tasks that they face every day. 

Retailers can now use AI to get smarter by tapping into their wealth of customer and product data.  Imagine the insight brands could gain, the creative campaigns they could launch,  if merchandisers and marketers were freed from the tedium of manually merchandising categories or pairing complementary products that need updating every quarter, month or week.

Forward-thinking retailers are letting AI uncover usage patterns and recommend (or autonomously execute) specific actions with immediate benefit. Merchandising teams will be freed from manual tasks, giving them time to chase that next big opportunity and supercharge revenue.

At Salesforce we are already putting AI in the hands of our customers with Einstein.  Commerce Cloud Einstein is being used globally by nearly 140 brands across 387 sites. These brands are leveraging the pure power of AI with capabilities like Einstein Product Recommendations and Einstein Commerce Insights. Einstein is embedded into the commerce platform, and is accessible to all retailers - no data scientists required.

The results speak for themselves:  Black Diamond implemented Einstein Product Recommendations and saw a 9.6% increase in conversion and a 15.5% increase in revenue per visitor. Icebreaker saw 40% more clicks, 11% higher average order value and 28% more revenue from recommended products. And Skis.com saw a 7% increase in overall revenue per visitor from Product Recommendations powered by Einstein.

Clients are already using our newest capability, Einstein Commerce Insights, to turn vast amounts of data into actionable merchandising insights with an easy to use dashboard. Now, retailers have a better understanding of how their shoppers are purchasing, and are making better decisions about product bundles, deals and store planning.

And we won’t stop there. The future of Commerce Cloud Einstein is full of new AI capabilities made for just for retailers. Our next capability, Einstein Predictive Sort, infuses personalized product assortments throughout the shopper journey, using customer behavior to show shoppers more relevant products, decreasing the time a customer spends looking for what they want, and increasing conversion. It’s the equivalent of a one-to-one shopping experience consumers might experience in a boutique vs. leaving a shopper to aimlessly wander the aisles of a huge department store, hoping they’ll discover what they want on their own.

The age of AI isn’t coming. It is here. As Salesforce’s chief digital evangelist Vala Afshar wrote recently in the Globe and Mail, most consumers have already integrated some form of AI into their daily lives, whether they realize it or not. Now, it’s time for the companies they engage with to do the same.