The Autonomous Web – the next version of the Internet

The Autonomous Web

Although we are at the early stages of autonomous vehicles with frontrunners such as Tesla, we have already gotten used to the concept that our cars will one day be driving themselves.  

The same is true for the next version of the internet, which is currently being developed.  

At Certainly, it is our ambition to be the company that makes this possible. Welcome to the autonomous web, a system adapting to individual user needs, powered by AI and advanced algorithms. 

 The technological advances in AI and Natural Language Technology have evolved tremendously over the past few years.  

Therefore, we are much closer to our goal of developing an intelligent and adaptable web making sure that each individual user – whether shopping for products or searching for relevant information – is presented with a personalized web experience. 

The era of Conversational Commerce   

First, imagine that your webshop is meeting and greeting all your visitors through a simple conversation with a chatbot to better identify each visitor’s specific needs:   

  • Hello. What are you looking for today?  
  • What is your budget?  
  • Is it for yourself or for someone else?  
  • What size are you looking for?  
  • Is it a gift?   

Then imagine that your web content adapts completely to the personalized needs of each visitor. This is all possible with Certainly’s latest R&D innovations.  

Based on behavioral science and persuasive strategies, chatbots on the Certainly Platform can be programmed to adapt to users’ digital habits and search patterns.  

As a result, conversations through chatbots make shopping experiences much more personal and interactive. 

What traditional webshops lack in personalization and speed, AI chatbots make up for with instant support and the collection of essential customer input (such as purchase intentions, personal context, preference center data) that translates into additional sales and increased revenue.  

On conversational website a chatbot helps the user to browse.

Why you should consider the autonomous web 

One of the most obvious benefits of the autonomous web is the over-arching customers satisfaction.  

Satisfied customers are often turning into loyal customers. Loyalty is developed gradually when the entire experience is great from the customer’s perspective. 

According to Rockefeller Corporation, 68% of all customers leave a brand because they think it does not care about them.  

Thus, understanding customer needs and making all customers feel they are center stage is key to successful e-commerce and is achievable with the autonomous web. 

  • Minimizing returns and optimizing your business: Nudging your customers in the right direction from the very start not only increases customer satisfaction.  Through conversation and subsequent personalization of the web experience, you will also be able to minimize returns by assisting your customers in their choice of sizes, colors,  fabrics in clothing or specs in home electronics. 

    As webshop owners are aware, returns are costly for two reasons:1. The shipping costs.2. The fact that goods in the return process cannot be sold. By using the autonomous web, you can gradually change this shopping behavior by making sure your customers leave with the right purchase the first time around.  
  • Maximizing the personalization: Through initial conversation the customer journey will be optimized ensuring that only the most relevant items and personalized offers will be presented to the customer.  Webshops cannot rely on purchase history and cookies (neither first-party cookies nor third-party cookies), since consumers assume different roles and have changing needs.

    For example, they may be shopping for themselves, their partners, or their children;  they may be shopping for shoes one day where “lowest price” is their primary criterion and  shopping for a washing machine the next day where “speedy delivery” supersedes all other  criteria. 
  • Using zero-party data: Traditionally, e-commerce businesses have used cookies and purchase history in their efforts to personalize their customers’ journeys and experiences. 

    However, with the introduction of the autonomous web, cookies will become obsolete.

    We call it zero-party data, which comprises anything a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand.  

    With the reduction in the usage of traditional third-party data (in the form of credit scores, cookies and click trials), zero-party data presents an opportunity for brands to run effective campaigns which build on trust and transparency while simultaneously collecting data from the source. 
  • Real-time conversations: One of the key benefits of using AI Chat and autonomous web technology is that your customers will interact with you in real-time. 

    Today, most websites and many webshops still use asynchronous conversations as reflected in traditional email communication and support tickets.  However, with real-time customer communication, you can dramatically reduce bounce rates and churn, as transactions can be completed on the spot when the customers are prone to completing their purchases. 

As a long-standing Certainly customer, Swedish high-end fashion brand Tiger of Sweden is already using Certainly’s NLU engine for their first-line support and is among the first companies to use Certainly’s autonomous conversational commerce solution.  

The autonomous web will undoubtedly also be applied in many other industries besides retail from finance and shipping to the public sector.  

Website navigation on human terms 

Particularly in public IT solutions, there seems to be a need for citizen-centric solutions that are easy to understand and use.  

The autonomous web that is capable of meeting and greeting each senior citizen, student, taxpayer, welfare recipient etc. on their terms can potentially free many resources that could be spent on more complex tasks and assignments when people are servicing themselves.  

 One thing is certain: We are still at the dawn of the autonomous web and the potential for both growth opportunities and cost savings in most industries is immense.   

From static web to full autonomous conversational commerce 

Stages Website maturity Customer interaction 
Silos: No integration between the web engine and the customer interaction 
0. Manual and static content. Typical tech enabler: WordPress No human interaction. 
1. Manual and static content. Typical tech enablers: WordPress, Shopify Asynchronous human-to-human communication using webforms, emails and support. Typical tech enabler: Zendesk Support 
2. Dynamic content. Typical tech enablers: Shopify, Salesforce Einstein Live human-to-human interaction. Typical tech enabler: Zendesk Chat. 
3. Dynamic content as in stage 3. Typical tech enablers: Shopify, Salesforce Einstein Live human-to-bot-to-human interaction. Typical tech enablers: Zendesk, Certainly
No silos: Full integration between the web engine and the customer interaction 
4. Controlled content. Typical tech enablers: Shopify, Salesforce Einstein, CertainlyLive human-to-bot-to-human content interaction. Typical tech enablers: Certainly, Zendesk 
5. Full autonomy Typical tech enablers: Certainly, Shopify Live human-to-bot content interaction. Typical tech enabler: Certainly

Webshops at stage 0-3 are working within traditional silos between their web engines and the customer interaction platforms.  

Most webshops and technology enablers currently find themselves at stage 3 where they have implemented chat functions for customer support – but without integrating to the web engine.  

At Certainly, we are currently at stage 4 using zero-party data, and we are moving closer to our goal: Establishing the fully autonomous stage 5 web in less than two years. 

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