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Artificial intelligence with its sub-domains: machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing is one of the most revolutionary technologies that have come to stay. Large eCommerce marketplaces such as Amazon have already incorporated different aspects of artificial intelligence and increased their revenues.
In this article, we will explain artificial intelligence (AI) in eCommerce and how it can increase sales and adapt to new customers.
Artificial intelligence as a disruptive technology
AI makes it possible for the system to learn from experience adjusting to different scenarios and perform human-like tasks. All the artificially intelligent systems you see around today – from self-driving cars to playing chess – heavily rely on artificial intelligence algorithms.
Another way to picture AI is as Intelligent systems that learn or are taught to perform specific tasks without being explicitly programmed.
AI has been the talk of the town in the tech industry for some years now. People debate its benefits and disadvantages. Some are deeply skeptical about its benefits and believe robots will take over human jobs.
But on the other side of the coin, AI is also being used in multiple industries to enhance workflow, productivity, and sales. Statistics from the Gartner survey show a 270% increase in businesses adopting AI in just four years (2015-2019). The latest data shows a $27.23 billion market valuation of AI in 2019.
These promising stats make it clear that more and more businesses are utilizing the power of AI. Even the chief intelligence officers (CTOs) and other IT leaders are naming AI as the most disruptive technology.
eCommerce tech giant Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos believes AI to be in a Golden age.
Image Credit: Machine Learning Department at CMU
Apart from the point that Amazon believes in the potential of AI, many eCommerce companies are looking for new and innovative ways to gain and retain more customers. The reason being the overwhelming demand for the use of online shopping platforms. Let’s discuss some applications of AI in eCommerce.
Applications of AI in eCommerce
You might be surprised to know that $1.92 billion people purchased goods or services online in 2019. During the same year, e–retail sales surpassed $3.5 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide (Statista). The stats for the years 2020 and 2021 are going to be higher than this as people are preferring to stay home and buy online amid COVID-19.
Consumers are imposing what is known as iCommerce or Instant Commerce, wanting to buy from anywhere and in any situation, here and now, moving from social networks to voice assistants. And of course without forgetting the security in the transactions and the personalization of the shopping experience.
That is why it isn’t surprising that eCommerce is one of the main sectors in which artificial intelligence has been deployed at the service of companies. Helping businesses to provide important functionalities that would be unthinkable without the help of artificial intelligence.
A senior research analyst at IDC Ignacio Cobisa explains it in this way
“In electronic commerce, the types of possible applications are either increasing the capabilities of humans, freeing up resources so that we can focus our time on things of more value, for example when taking care of customer service (chatbots) or back-office procedures; or doing things that we humans are not capable of doing, such as acting as recommendation engines, personalizing millions of advertising emails or detecting patterns in large data sets”.
Here’s are 4 use cases of AI in eCommerce:
1. Personalization of the shopping experience
Thanks to the analysis of customer consumption patterns, artificial intelligence is facilitating in offering personalized customer experiences. To do this manually, you need to know your customers more and better. AI allows to easily segment the target audience, therefore, designing exclusive campaigns and messages for each customer based on their habits and preferences.
Simply saying, AI optimizes the customer journey by making it more comfortable and adapted to their needs. This is done by using machine learning, which allows programming systems to make automatic decisions based on the analysis of large amounts of data.
Deep learning – another sub-category of AI takes it one step further. It seeks to imitate the human brain to allow personalized and more precise recommendations. All these techniques can identify the intention and attitude of the users who interact with your eCommerce platform. According to RTB House, these personalized messages can make advertising activities up to 50% more efficient than with the typical machine learning approach.
2. Exploring the image search
Another great achievement of AI in user experience is undoubtedly image search. By using image search buyers can manage their catalogs more quickly, automatically recognize models or colors. For sellers, it is an exciting opportunity for relating to their buyers.
The social network Pinterest has been reported in a creating study that 93% of users use the site to plan purchases. Artificial intelligence allows creating searchable images, where the user can view products appearing in it, get more information and buy them with one click.
Amazon’s image recognition technology, Amazon Rekognition, doesn’t only identify objects, people, text, scenes, or activities but also emotions. It makes it easier to analyze live images and send emotional attributes to generate regular reports on trends in each store. Google’s API Cloud Vision works similarly, while Microsoft Cognitive Services allows building similar images, including faces and emotions.
According to an August 2019 survey conducted by Bizrate Insights, 13% of US consumers use visual search, compared to 9% at the end of 2018. Additionally, 56% of those not using it say that they are interested in incorporating image searches.
The use of Image search will become promising globally in the next few years. In fact, Aliexpress already allows comparing photos with their catalog to find the most similar objects to what we are looking for, so most likely very soon, we can acquire anything just by comparing a photograph.
3. Voice assistants and smart speakers
Another application of AI – Voice assistants are modifying consumer habits, and they have become such an unstoppable trend that people are not only using them to perform searches but also to make purchases through these devices.
The Capgemini Institute for Digital Transformation has released the report “Conversational Commerce: Why Consumers Are Embracing Voice Assistants Into Their Lives” which sheds light on consumers’ use of voice assistants and the opportunities they provide for businesses/companies to interact with their customers.
The study indicates 51% of users already have voice assistants and 3% have made purchases through them. Forecasts indicate that they will become a dominant form of consumer interaction within three years, as users will consume much more using this technology.
It also generates good opinions from users as 37% of voice assistant users would recommend them to their family and friends. And 28% of those who still do not use them, would be willing to deal with a brand more frequently.
As for Smart speakers, more than 200 million have been purchased in just four years, which has earned them the title of the fastest adopted technology in history. Deloitte Global has produced a report entitled ” TMT Predictions 2019 ” which states that in 2018 alone these devices increased their market share by 78%.
In the comparison between the main assistants on the market, Google Assistant is the most reliable with 93% correct responses and one hundred percent of requests understanding. Followed by Siri with 83% and Alexa with 80%.
Amazon’s Alexa is leading voice commerce by successfully enhancing the user experience through 90,000 plus skills added by developers. The users are also showing positive responses to the voice, and a quarter of the global population is predicted to use voice assistants in 2022.
4. Customer Support
Customer Service is another of the fields in which AI is making great strides. It offers natural language processing systems, called Chatbots, which are already in use of customer service and sales assistance through social media.
They are an economical and efficient alternative that allows the implementation of virtual assistants to carry out tasks such as online order management, solving customer doubts, helps during the purchase process, and preparing market reports. In addition to being able to launch satisfaction surveys or carry out actions such as remarketing campaigns for those who do not complete the order.
Thanks to this tool, companies can save more than 29% in human resources, with 24-hour customer service, any day of the year, and that can serve the user in multiple languages.
Also, it is becoming increasingly difficult to detect that you are not talking to a real person, as Google demonstrated in its I / O a Duplex event, in which it used its voice assistant to reserve a room in a restaurant and the conversation was so natural that the person they interacted had no idea that they were talking to robots.
Some companies have already started to take advantage of this technology at the service of their brands, such as Starbucks, which has incorporated a chatbot into its “My Barista” app to manage orders placed both by traditional and by voice and subsequently provide individualized advice and recommendations in the following orders.
How to implement Artificial Intelligence in your eCommerce business
After reading the promising benefits of AI in eCommerce, the next natural step is to find out how you can start to implement AI in your business to take advantage of it.
In case you are thinking of starting your business on marketplaces such as Amazon or Alibaba, the option is simple – either these services are already available to you or you can purchase the additional services they provide.
However, if you are starting a new eCommerce business or want to incorporate AI in your already setup eCommerce platform, experts recommend that you should be educated enough in AI that you will be able to determine which AI techniques are suitable for your business.
To execute your AI strategy, you need to identify which programming technology is most suitable and efficient. And then hire a team of onsite expert developers. OR you can simply discuss what you want with a highly-skilled AI team at InvoZone.