2017 Predictions and Prep: How AI Will Transform Local Commerce

Posted by Mila Hose on Dec 19, 2016 12:02:06 PM

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With the arrival of Microsoft’s Project Evo debuting to rival the likes of Google Home, Amazon Echo and IBM Watson last week, it is evident that 2017 will hold a continued focus on voice search and AI-powered technologies. Artificially intelligent personal assistants are increasingly being used to organize, answer and converse with consumers about anything and everything in their daily lives. The ways in which customers and brands will interact with and ground themselves in AI like never before, and here are some ways brands can keep up with the hype. 

Microsoft’s Project Evo
Microsoft announced a new collaboration last week with Intel on what is codenamed, “Project Evo.” The tech giant hopes to deliver “all-new ways for devices to light up with the latest in advanced security, artificial intelligence and Cortana, mixed reality, and gaming” with Project Evo. The capabilities that Microsoft hopes to achieve with Project Evo are somewhat ambitious, with Microsoft’s goals for innovations including the following:   

- Far-field speech communications to ask a question or play a song from across the room.
- The latest security capabilities to protect devices from malware and hacking threats.
- Mixed reality experiences for everyone through affordable PCs and head mounted displays.
- Gaming innovations like eSports, game broadcasting and support for 4K, High Dynamic Range (HDR).

From Cortana, a personal assistant with voice recognition software that will answer questions, power directions or build grocery lists, to virtual reality and augmented reality that is accessible to all and as easy to manage as a laptop, Microsoft wants Project Evo to be at the center of users lives.

How AI Will Change Local Commerce in 2017
In the following year, personal assistants and artificial intelligence will not only impact how users deal with technology from within their own homes, but also how they use AI technology and interactions with brands to identify and analyze user intent.

Bing Ads Evangelist, John Gagnon, explains why personal assistants will be so much more impactful for business than typical search results:

john-gagnon-2.jpg When you hear Personal Assistants, the connection to your business is voice search.  Voice search kicks off a typical search results page right now, but with Echo and other home devices that respond with voice, it’ll be one answer.  Use 2017 to prepare yourself to be the number one answer for your customer’s questions. ~ John Gagnon, Ads Evangelist, Bing

One of the biggest changes that will come in 2017 due to artificial intelligence is users’ anticipation and expectation of predictive brand engagements. Hyper-personalization will be key to winning consumers’ hearts and wallets. While initially users may not understand how brands are able to serve more relevant content, they will increasingly begin to expect brands to interpret their habits before they act on them. Whether through offers catered to their purchasing habits, in-store or messaging bots who can provide instant assistance, or voice recognition software at checkout, people will demand a higher level of sophistication and personalization from their shopping experiences with AI-powered technology.

Brandify’s CEO, Manish Patel, made the following prediction regarding enhancing the customer experience through personalized brand interactions:

manish bubble green.png AI and voice search are creating a paradigm shift in how brands connect with consumers. Using machine learning, brands gain deeper insights about their customers, which enables them to create better personalization for their consumers. ~ Manish Patel, Founder/CEO, Brandify

With AI helping to complete speedy transactions and cut down on lines and wait times, the expectation for immediacy and customization will increase, as will the need for accurate data to get consumers to their locations and help them complete their intentions with the ease and simplicity promised by personal assistants and artificial intelligence.

2017 Prep
As enterprise brands gear up to compete with artificial intelligence and personal assistants, integrated into the unfolding creativity of business models everywhere, there are a few key aspects that can ensure that brands get found in voice search results. Artificial intelligence feeds off of data, and without complete and accurate data to pull from, your brand may be dropped from relevant categories.

As brands compete to be not only first, but the only result provided by a consumer’s personal assistant, voice search optimization will be critical for being found. Enterprises need to experiment with disruptive strategies to become top of mind for local users and win loyalty for the long-term.

If you are an enterprise looking to master local listings management, cultivate engagement and drive action through conversational commerce, you are invited to participate in Labs: an experimental, mobile-first incubation environment focused on local innovation. Learn more by signing up for Labs’ latest development in voice search – Cognify.

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Topics: Local Marketing, Voice Search, Artificial Intelligence