If you’re wondering how AI is transforming business, the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. While you’ve probably heard of “generative AI,” thanks to the recent explosion of AI tools like ChatGPT, AI has been shaping the way we do business for years. (In fact, Wix has been experimenting with artificial design intelligence since as early as 2016.)
The truth is, AI can do so much more than make up stories or create goofy images. It can help you market your business—heck, it could even run parts of your business for you. AI is quite simply, changing the way humans get things done.
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6 ways AI is transforming business
It's not just generative AI that's moving the needle. AI is being used to automate production in manufacturing, deliver personalized experiences in retail and create more sustainable solutions in agriculture (as examples). Here’s how:
01. Small businesses can now compete with the big dogs
In the not-too-distant past, it was nearly impossible for small businesses to compete against mega-corporations in most capacities. Search engine optimization (SEO), branding, marketing and product production were a numbers game; the more resources you had, the more successful you’d be.
AI has given small businesses a unique opportunity to close that gap, compensating for lack of experience, manpower or budget. Being an entrepreneur means wearing many hats, but now, you can work at scale and get consistent, dependable results no matter how small of an operation you’re running. Your team of one can operate like a team of 50.
Some “jobs” you can designate to AI include:
Website designer: Need help with how to create a website? Good news: we’ve moved from a do-it-yourself era to a “touchless” design era. For businesses in need of a website pronto, Wix’s AI-driven design system can create a unique website for your business in minutes. As Wix CEO and co-founder Avishai Abrahami notes, most of us “don’t want to spend hours writing text, designing elements or paying for a professional photographer.” Features like Wix’s AI writing tools and image creators can act as your assistant designers and content creators.
Accountant: Starting a business is inherently financial in nature. Not only does keeping accurate records ensure tax compliance and financial accountability, but it also provides a clear snapshot that guides strategic planning in assessing the overall health of your business. AI-powered bookkeeping systems can analyze your finances in an instant, making suggestions and keeping you on track.
SEO specialist: SEO plays a vital role in getting your content seen in search results, attracting organic visitors to your site and boosting your online presence. If you’re not an SEO whiz, that’s okay; AI tools like SurferSEO, Wix SEO Assistant, Clearscope and Frase can analyze your content to suggest improvements, provide keyword suggestions and even help optimize on-page elements like headings and meta tags.
Data analyst: Let AI be the one to analyze website data and provide insights on visitor behavior and website trends. You can use this information to understand your audience better, then create individualized, more informed strategies for your business.
Personal business consultant: If you need some guidance in squaring away the basics, AI can even help here. Try Wix’s suite of business personalization tools, like the free Business Name Generator, Logo Maker and Title Generator, to help you perfect your branding, marketing and content strategy. “AI is a natural extension of what we do,” Abrahami notes, “and the better AI algorithms get, the better Wix will become.”
02. Productivity roadblocks are a thing of the past
Forbes found that 64% of businesses expect AI to boost their productivity, and it’s no surprise why. AI offers a myriad of opportunities to streamline operations, reduce costs and enhance overall efficiency. It’s a necessity for any small business owner who needs to get more done with less. There are many ways to tackle various small business challenges, but you can leave it to AI to handle the following:
Automation: AI churns through repetitive tasks like a champ. Data entry, invoicing and customer support can be managed with AI-powered tools like chatbots, virtual assistants and data management platforms. In fact, Forbes found that customer service and virtual assistance are some of the top ways businesses are currently using AI.
Data analysis: Using artificial intelligence to analyze data is just good business. Predictive analytics, a subset of AI, analyzes patterns and trends, guiding you on important decisions like resource allocation and inventory management. It’s almost, but not quite, a way to peer into the future. Predictive analytics can also forecast demand and supply, aiding in inventory management and pricing strategies.
Quality control: AI helps improve quality control in ways that we couldn’t have dreamed of just a decade ago. Companies are using AI-powered tools to automate testing, detect fraud and even predict when equipment and machines are likely to fail (e.g., “predictive maintenance”). Seeing into the future is shaping up to be one of the best ways that AI can help business owners be more productive.
Productivity looks different for every business and market sector. Only you know how to run a business in ways that specifically speak to your bottom line. For you, that might look like implementing a chatbot versus hiring another customer service rep. For another business owner, it could mean using tools like ChatGPT or DALL-E to generate marketing copy and images. The point being, there are hundreds of AI tools for business to help you streamline your specific processes and become more efficient and effective.
03. The future of business communication is now
Clear, organized communication is essential to keep a business running like a well-oiled machine. Despite this, it’s an area where many business owners struggle.
In a recent workplace survey, Forbes found that ineffective communication had a profound negative impact on morale and efficiency; 49% of respondents said their productivity was affected, nearly 50% reported decreased job satisfaction and 42% said it affected their stress levels. Even if you’re operating as a team of one, poor communication with customers, contractors and vendors can negatively impact your business and cause you undue stress.
AI not only enhances your current business communication processes, but can take them to the next level. Capabilities like real-time language translation, intelligent chat, instant transcription and automated email replies make a world of difference. They both lighten your load and give you the opportunity to implement new strategies and reach wider audiences. Here are just a few ways that AI and machine learning (ML) can transform the way companies communicate:
Instantly generate professional content: Tools like Jasper, HyperWrite and Talkwalker can establish your brand voice or adapt it to suit different audiences. You can create content for a number of communication channels—like a blog, newsletter, social media post or ad—in seconds, and in a variety of languages and cultural sensitivities. These tools can adapt to human language, behavior and sentiment, which will help take your existing communication workflows to the next level.
Offer round-the-clock customer service: Intelligent chatbots use natural language processing (NLP) to respond to consumers in real time. They can support your customer service team, guide customers using conversational language and provide intuitive instructions. Best of all, they’re available 24/7.
Streamline employee communication: Remember, half of employees report that poor communication diminishes their job satisfaction. Let technology assist with tools like AI-powered transcription, which can instantly generate a full written log of important meetings with impressive accuracy. Tools like Otter.ai, Rev Max and Trint can help you organize key meeting notes, pull important quotes and even translate text into dozens of different languages.
04. Product development is simpler than ever
Product development can be a nerve-wracking process for business owners due to an ever-present level of uncertainty. According to Clayton Christensen, professor at Harvard Business School, “Nearly 30,000 new products are introduced each year, and 95% of them fail.” That’s a daunting statistic no matter how you look at it.
But AI has been a game changer for manufacturers, revolutionizing the landscape of product development in ways that only science fiction writers could’ve imagined 50 years ago. The most effective ways in which AI is reshaping product development include:
Demand forecasting: Predicting product demand once relied on intuition coupled with limited data. It wasn’t all guesswork, but it wasn’t exactly reliable. AI improves demand forecasting with tools that analyze various causal factors like market trends and consumer behavior. This gives you a more accurate forecast of product demand, which means you can optimize your production and distribution strategies, plus minimize costly mistakes.
Launch acceleration: It takes, on average, about six months to a year to launch a new product. At least, that’s the case for startups. The good news is that AI is drastically reducing this timeline. Generative AI tools help you automate and enhance the design and prototyping phases for new products. This allows you to bring new products to market faster. AI tools also enable you to create multiple iterations of a product quickly, leading to a more refined final product.
Product usability: Successful products are extremely functional while being easy to use. Think about the products you love—your iPhone, KitchenAid mixer and 2023 Hyundai Kona with its easy-to-connect BlueLink App. The point is, a product's success isn't just about its functionality but also its user-friendliness. AI tools help you make products more functional by analyzing usage data and user feedback. They then provide actionable insights and recommendations so that you can make continuous refinements.
05. A job market revolution is on our doorstep
There’s no question that artificial intelligence is a disruptive technology. It has shaken up the way businesses and consumers operate down to the minute level, completely eradicating some manual tasks while redefining others. With that comes the debate about how AI will impact the job market.
Most certainly, AI will reduce job opportunities in some capacities, but the good news is that it will also fuel jobs in others. In the second quarter of 2023, freelance work marketplace Upwork found that posts for AI jobs increased by over 1,000%, demonstrating the pressing need for continued human involvement. After all, AI is not a “set it and forget it” job; it still requires a skilled captain at the helm.
Digging deeper, here are some ways that AI is reshaping the job market into the 21st century:
AI prompt engineering: AI models don’t run themselves. They require precise language prompts for optimal results. This means there’s a growing demand for experts in actual AI prompt engineering.
Fact-checking: The digital age has not simply amplified the spread of misinformation; this same bad information is feeding AI models. Thus, human verification remains crucial to ensure the content generated by AI tools is unbiased and accurate.
Recruiting and hiring: AI streamlines the hiring process by analyzing resumes and predicting role fits. It can help reduce bias and identify issues, but human judgment remains essential for assessing new candidates and addressing complex personnel issues.
Document creation: HR and legal teams are traditionally very document-heavy. AI-powered tools can help experts in these departments quickly draft documents like non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and employee agreements that can be easily replicated and distributed.
06. Marketing and sales are getting a facelift
Marketing is like a compass that guides businesses through the vast landscape of consumer preferences and competition. It’s one of the most critical drivers of business growth and a necessity for companies of all sizes, from solo entrepreneurs to mega-corporations. Businesses around the world are already using AI to completely transform the way they handle sales.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, 54.5% of marketers believe that AI is likely to greatly enhance their marketing efforts, and 61.4% currently use AI in their marketing activities.
So, how can you embrace AI in marketing? There are tools to create assets like ads and ad copy, tools for managing customers and tools to align all of your various touchpoints in the customer journey. Below is a taste of how AI is transforming marketing and sales processes:
Improved customer experiences: AI makes it possible for marketers to create automated and customized interactions across all digital channels. These tools connect the various touchpoints consumers use so that the experience they get is consistent and personalized.
Sales assistance: Companies like Microsoft and Salesforce are building generative AI tools right into their platforms to assist with a host of sales-oriented features. AI-powered sales systems use generative models to automatically document conversations, write emails and proposals, organize information and make recommendations based on large volumes of sales data.
Efficiency boosting: One of the most significant benefits of AI for sales and marketing is the increase in efficiency. Tools like ChatGPT can help create and execute marketing strategies, reducing manual effort and increasing precision.
Automation: About a fifth of sales team functions can be automated. The biggest area to automate is data analysis, since both sales and marketing produce enormous quantities of data. The data is being used in foundation-model training for generative AI tools, and predictive insights are being used to help with real-time negotiation (in sales) and planning (in marketing). Use cases for automation are practically endless and impact the entire sales and marketing cycle, from lead identification to dynamic customer journey mapping to success analytics (e.g., "customer churn modeling").