The Autonomous Web – an autonomous system that is the future of the Internet

The Autonomous Web

Although we are at the early stages of the internet as an autonomous system, we have already gotten used to the concept that certain functions of our lives will one day completely run themselves.

Consider current trends in the motor industry – it’s commonly accepted that driverless cars are the future. The same is true for the next version of the internet, which is currently being developed.

Autonomous systems are everywhere today.

At Certainly, it is our ambition make this possible. Welcome to the autonomous web, an autonomous system adapting to individual user needs, powered by AI and advanced algorithms.

lights are connected in a matrix against the backdrop of a city at night
Courtesy of Pexels

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

Therefore, we are much closer to developing an intelligent and adaptable autonomous system making sure that each individual user – whether shopping 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, still via an autonomous system. 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, via an autonomous database.

On conversational website a chatbot helps the user to browse.

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 for storage in an autonomous database.

Data such as purchase intentions, personal context, and preference center data all translate into additional sales and increased revenue.

Why you should consider an autonomous system for customers

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.

Understanding customer needs and making them feel they are center stage is key to successful e-commerce and is achievable with an autonomous system. Some of the benefits of autonomous systems include:

Minimizing returns and optimizing your business

Nudging your customers in the right direction from the very start increases customer satisfaction.

Through conversation and subsequent personalization, you can minimize returns by assisting customers in their choice of sizes, colors, and fabrics in clothing or specs in home electronics.

This information can then be stored in an autonomous database for future customer interactions.

hand inspects products shown on an ipad whilst shopping online
Courtesy of Pexels

As webshop owners are aware, returns are costly for two reasons:

  • The shipping costs.
  • The fact that goods in the return process cannot be sold.

By using the autonomous web, you can change customer purchasing behavior by making sure your customers leave with the right purchase the first time around.

An autonomous system for maximizing personalization

Through initial conversation the customer journey can be optimized, ensuring that only the most relevant items and 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.

An autonomous system is superior in these circumstances as customers 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 customer journeys and experiences.

However, with the introduction of the autonomous web, cookies will become obsolete, and a de facto autonomous database will replace them.

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

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 through an autonomous system

One of the key benefits of using AI Chat and autonomous systems is that your customers will interact with you in real-time.

Today, most websites and 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.

Autonomous systems have applications beyond 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.

Autonomous systems that is capable of meeting and greeting each student, senior citizen, taxpayer, welfare recipient etc. on their terms can potentially free up resources that could be spent on more complex tasks.

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 system 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 system stage 5 web in less than two years.

Related blog posts