How can you use AI to improve your website?

Examples and what to watch out for.

AI to increase sales and enhance user experience

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become quite the discussion point in recent months, for more on what it actually is click here. Even before the hype triggered by ChatGPT though it was increasingly common for it to be used without the user (in this case either the person using the tool or the person implementing the tool) always consciously knowing it’s AI getting them the results being generated.

We’re frequent users of AI assisted tools ourselves, if for no other purpose than to explore what’s behind the hype and whether it’s justified, but if it’s not an area you’re comfortable in it can appear overwhelming.

In general AI powered tools are fantastic at processing amounts of data that would make most people wince if asked to process manually. They can therefore be really helpful in finding patterns in consumer activity, which you can then take advantage of. They’re also getting better and better at automating tasks, allowing you to be more efficient and do more with your time.

So, while there are clear use cases, we believe it is essential you understand how these tools work. You can then deploy them with due care and consideration to ensure they’re used in a way benefitting both your website’s visitors and your organisation.

The benefits of using AI on your website

One of the main advantages is how it allows you to personalise. By analysing user data and behaviour, AI can provide personalised content and recommendations, which should improve user engagement and thereby increase those all important conversion rates. You’ll have seen this in action after reading an article and then seeing a notification flagging other content you might be interested in, or after browsing a pair of shoes on a particular site you might be shown other shoes or clothing items on that site that you might be interested in.

In addition to personalising content AI is often used in the world of customer service. AI powered chatbots can provide 24/7 customer support (expensive to provide via humans) and answer frequently asked questions, thereby reducing the workload of actual human customer service agents, and (so the theory goes) improving customer satisfaction. Most people have at some point though felt their anger levels rise as they get stuck speaking to a chatbot when they ‘just want to be put through to a human!’

And therein lies the issue to be aware of – the need to be careful as to what extent you deploy the tools available and weigh up potential time saved versus potential people annoyed.

This is why it’s so important to keep on testing and soliciting feedback as you grow and tweak your website.

What to watch out for

There are then the ethical concerns with the potential for inbuilt bias to affect outcomes. Ultimately, for the time being at any rate, AI algorithms are only as objective as the data they are trained on, and if the data is biased, the algorithm will be biased.

On the subject of data – AI algorithms are also only as good as the data they are trained on. So, if the data you’ve fed in is incomplete or inaccurate, the algorithm is likely to produce unreliable results. It’s dangerous therefore to rely on the answers generated without doing your own evaluation.

In conclusion, AI powered tools can be a brilliant way of saving you time and supporting you deliver the best possible experience for your customers, but as with anything web related (and most things in life) – don’t forget to test for unintended consequences and do your research into how they work.