Table of Contents
AI in Ecommerce
AI has already become part of our lives in innumerable aspects; we can see it everywhere, from online stores to medicine to airport security.
AI is already prevalent in Ecommerce, as mentioned; it helps businesses to understand their customers better, expand their customer base, deliver personalized, and more engaging services, among other things. Let us see how exactly AI is enhancing ecommerce:
NLP is leveraged to improve search results by filtering and contextualizing them, making the results more relevant for shoppers. This can also be done by focusing on visual elements in a search. Thanks to machine learning, AI software tags, arranges and searches visually for content by categorizing image and/or video features. This technology also allows shoppers to not just find products that match, but those that complement them too. So to purchase an item, a customer need not search and browse endlessly, simply upload an image.
It often happens that sales teams fail to follow up with marketing leads, allowing qualified potential customers to get lost in the system. Businesses often have huge volumes of customer data which they fail to exploit properly to improve the sales cycle. AI embedded in ecommerce sites collects information on customer behavior, like the pages they spend the most time on, the most viewed products, the most bought products and so on. In case the visitor goes without buying, the software 'follows' the customer on the internet, showing them ads of the products they were viewing, tempting them to buy. Also, the next time they are on that site, they are shown their favorite products, and asked if they would like to repeat their order.
The latest AI technology helps businesses with lead generation, giving them a competitive edge, and helping them to expand their customer base. AI solutions for marketing and sales generate new leads by capturing data about business sites that have competing products, enabling them to identify high quality prospects.
The proliferation of social media is a boon for businesses, as they can leverage these platforms to market and sell their products. By integrating AI into CRM, businesses are able to create and disseminate strong sales messages that reach customers at optimal times. Natural language learning has made digital assistants popular, with them answering customer questions and resolving problems, and also picking out new opportunities for sales teams. The use of new data used in the evolution of the sales process ensures that customers are only served products and services that are relevant and appropriate.
While personalization has already been around in eCommerce for some time, the rapid advances in AI have enabled the personalization to be much deeper and more effective; state-of-the-art AI software monitor numerous customer touchpoints for analysis of online customer interactions. A universal view of the customer is created, enabling retailers to deliver a seamless and consistent experiences across channels.
It's human tendency to want to talk to an employee about the product they are interested in, or other matters like return policy, discounts, usage, and so on. It is obviously not possible for an employee to be logged in 24 hours to answer questions. Ecommerce stores have resolved this problem with the use of AI chatbots. Through machine learning, they are able to answer the most frequently asked or simple questions. If the customer's question is complex, the chatbot routs the question to the relevant employee. This means that the customer is able to get a quick response for their query 24/7. Chatbots are also capable of automating order processes; when integrated with shopping carts, it can provide valuable customer support.
Thanks to Siri, Alexa, and Google Now, most of us have already been using virtual assistants on our mobile devices. Ecommerce retailers like Amazon are now integrating digital assistants on their sites; you can tell Alexa what you're searching for, and a list of the best matching products is displayed. Virtual assistants are revolutionizing the way customers buy online and providing creative ways to attract more customers.
Automation aims to accomplish tasks with the least possible human intervention - whether it's scheduling emails in a marketing tool, automating data entry tasks, or for advanced tasks like help with hiring. Robotics and machine learning are the most common arenas of automation for ecommerce. By automating many of the repetitive tasks that keep your ecommerce store running, you can usher in more efficiency and productivity in your business. Loyalty discounts, basic support, and product recommendations, are some of the things you can automate with AI.
AI can help you plan your inventory on past as well as real-time data; it will also be able to forecast sales and demand for products more accurately by analyzing this information. Consumer analytics monitors and reacts to shifts in demand that can be leveraged for price optimization or targeted marketing.
Businesses can leverage AI to churn through mountains of customer data to predict customer behavior and make relevant, personalized recommendations to customers. This significantly improves the buyer journey for the customer. If you subscribe to Netflix, you can experience it - if you watch a particular genre of movie a couple of times, the platform will show you movies from that genre first when you login to the platform next time. Based on your previous shopping experience, Amazon recommends products that are the same or similar, and so on.
Department store chains often assign personal shoppers to high value customers, to help them shop; they carry their shopping baskets, make recommendations, show them the latest and on-sale products, help them with trials, and even at billing. In short, the customer is pampered. Now this concept is being introduced in Ecommerce, with virtual personal shoppers - this is different from the virtual digital assistants we spoke about earlier. It provides a pleasant shopping experience as the customer can converse with the shop assistant, and makes it more convenient, as the assistant can be asked to search for a particular color or size or brand while the customer relaxes. Several online stores like Amazon, Flipkart, Macy's online store, are already using these assistants to provide an enhanced shopping experience to customers. These are the most common or popular instances of artificial intelligence in ecommerce, but it is by no means a comprehensive list. There are many more examples of AI creeping into eCommerce - wearable tech, intelligent agents, identifying fake (often negative reviews left by competitors), and many more; however, these are not yet as widely adopted as the ones above.
Thanks to AI, ecommerce businesses are empowered to analyze the millions of interactions with their many customers and make sense of those interactions, in such a way that it helps them take the right decisions to improve customer service, and eventually, profitability.