How AI Is Making eCommerce Smarter

Learn how to enhance eCommerce offerings with AI


Artificial intelligence (AI) continues revving up, penetrating a broad spectrum of areas, uncovering new value for banking, healthcare, and sports.

eCommerce doesn’t stay on the sidelines, providing shoppers with a seamless user experience and granting retailers lucrative opportunities. That’s why it stands to reason that 42% of retail and eCommerce players pilot, apply, or expand their AI programs.

Transforming consumer interactions

Chatbots are gradually changing the landscape of eCommerce. Gartner estimates that 85% of customer interactions will occur without human intervention by 2020, and at the close of 2018, AI bots will identify clients by voice and face.

Indeed, virtual buying assistants have already proved to be a boon, and eCommerce has been quick to take up the challenge of fitting the AI environment. 

While scouring an online store for desirable assets, shoppers expect a hassle-free process and lightning-fast responses to their queries. Besides, a dramatic upswing in mCommerce has upped the ante, forcing marketers to look for new ways of customer engagement. Chatbots have come in as a possible solution and a driver for tailoring offers.

AI, being the core of chatbots, crunches mounds of website’s data, including previous responses and customer feedback. Deep learning allows chatbots to analyze the gathered information and extract important concepts such as images and items’ names. With the help of that data, chatbots can refine conversations with consumers.

Another method to feed chatbots with data is to integrate them with shopping carts so that the system could capture item details, quantities, and shipping terms.

The more data is processed and leveraged, the more information machine algorithms receive, letting chatbots devise accurate replies and give detailed recommendations. That’s why eCommerce businesses should set their sights on employing custom Big Data solutions to get a complete, real-time picture of data assets and fine-tune bot-customer interactions.

Giving a voice to advanced search

Customers often enter an online store with a clear idea of what they want to buy. Imagine their disappointment if they get irrelevant search results. To help clients make the right purchase, it’s vital to arm them with contextualized and personalized search. And that’s exactly where AI excels.

The North Face, for example, thrives on the AI system enabling voice input and NLP. Their solution, powered by IBM’s Watson, assists users in finding a perfect jacket.

The system analyzes the client’s answers and weather conditions within the given area, scrutinizes more than 350 products, and discovers those perfectly fitting the situation. 

eBay, in turn, thinks a picture is worth a thousand words. To truly benefit from the search capabilities, the company went to town on introducing two innovative features - 'Find It On eBay' and 'Image Search'.

Empowered by computer vision and deep learning, these options make the entire internet shoppable. Consumers have to share the picture of an item via social media, submit a camera roll photo, or put an URL into the eBay search bar to get the full list of products matching the initial item.

To immerse users in a truly unique search experience, eBay processes the image, scans through its 1.1 billion listings, and ranks items based on visual similarity.

Reaping the benefits with sales intelligence

AI is entering the territory of marketing leads by helping craft clear sales messages to reach out to more clients.

Combing through huge amounts of data, AI surfaces the information previously kept in cyberspace; customer behavior before, during, and after a purchase, as well as their preferences, feedback, transaction information, and demographics.

The obtained results are synthesized to rapidly pinpoint clusters and patterns. This allows sales teams to target clients better, reveal similarities between them, and understand who is most likely to acquire which product.

Beyond that, AI can help marketers sand down the bumps. Getty Images, Inc. uses image recognition and machine learning technologies to analyze rivals, track major trends, evaluate the impact of their business online, and assess the brand’s popularity.

To make the process even more impactful and store all the information in one place, online shop owners can ask vendors to integrate an AI platform with the company’s CRM system or ERP software.

Where do we go from here?

The examples outlined in this article show that AI continues gaining ground, assisting marketers in an array of ways. Big Data solutions, custom image recognition software, and deep learning help personalize offers, foster clients’ trust, boost sales, expand business boundaries, and the sky's the limit.

It’s evident AI is to stay in eCommerce for a notable length of time. And the question is not whether companies believe in this technology or not, but who will be the first to adopt AI-driven solutions and implement them into their marketing strategies to leave the competition in the dust.

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