How AI-Enabled Ecommerce Reshapes the Businesses

Today the AI technology is becoming omnipresent, the refrigerator, the car, the house, and the list goes on, but the eCommerce? 

In the retail industry, the visitors or customers require someone, to help them purchase the product 24 hours a day. 

“eCommerce needs more ‘humans’ than machines” – Jesus Mínguez Castanheira, SEO & CIO in XS Informatica.  

As human comes out expensive, it opens the door for AI (Artificial Intelligence), a reasonable and effective solution. 

Many eCommerce businesses are already becoming sophisticated with the AI capabilities in understanding the customers, capturing attention, generating new leads, as well as enhancing the customer experience. The eCommerce giants Amazon & Alibaba are leveraging powerful AI algorithms to renovate the retail space. Over the past few years, several eCommerce retailers have accepted their AI projects as the earnings calls. Here are the few mentions:

Image source:cbinsights.com

AI In Ecommerce – How it Reshapes Commerce

AI technology helps the eCommerce to take the business prospects to the next level. In the world of eCommerce, AI is the fusion of vocal, visual, predictive and written capabilities. 

Leveraging ML (Machine learning), the AI tools automatically tags, organizes and visually searches the online content by grouping the features of video or audio. In addition to finding matching products, shoppers can discover complementary products, whether it is color, size, shape, brand or fabric. 

Using AI in eCommerce strategy becomes simple as trying out a ready-made AI tool that recommends products to customers as well as generates email recommendations. Whether you are using AI in online shopping, or to recognize imagery or recommend products to customers – AI serves as your personal assistant. Its intelligent systems have been programmed to carry out certain tasks based on the information it collects from various sources. AI in eCommerce influences numerous stages of the business from manufacturing to delivery. But how do they do this?

Companies are using AI-enabled automation including demand forecasting, facial recognition as well as computed vision-based robots to boost each stage. The infographic depicts the end-to-end transformation in the eCommerce business with AI technology:

Let’s explore the powerful effects of AI in eCommerce:

1. AI Chatbot

Contrary to tradition chatbots, which provide stock answers to common queries, the AI chatbots include more to offer with the help of NLP (Natural Language Processing) and deep learning. The conversation with the AI-enabled chatbot is more human-like. It offers insightful responses as well as addresses the user needs. They can give the status of the order to the customer and handle routine tasks like detecting products based on the customer’s description. It results in more sales and happier customers.

Example:

Image source: flashchat.ai

eBay is using ShopBot – an advanced version of AI-enabled chatbot that assists the customers in finding the product within their budget and even find a listing with an uploaded image. You can find similar chatbots in action on other online stores like Sephora, H&M, Pizza Hut, and Burberry.

2. Decrease Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment remains the direct sign that indicates a customer encountered an unfavorable experience or a technical glitch before purchase. There were only a few steps from completing shopping and transforming as a customer. Retailers take advantage of AI by doing follow up and collecting details that can aid them to prevent further cart abandonment. With abandoned cart follow up emails, which includes a survey you can find the reasons for not to complete the purchase. 

The most common reasons the customers abandoned the carts are extra costs and the necessity to create an account. 

Example:

By connecting with customer data, Value City Furniture recognized when its customers abandoned items in the cart and left the site before completing their purchase. To battle with these types of abandonment, they created an AI-driven email campaign and sent personalized emails to shoppers to assist them with the reasons they abandoned the cart. As a result, the company has seen a significant increase in revenue. 

Understanding the reasons enables you to address the process and make the buying process more straightforward and streamlined. AI tools, which target the customers’ online behavior, can also help the businesses understand which leads, would abandon their carts and which can convert into customers.

3. Voice Powered Personal Shopping

By 2020, 50% of web searches will be led by the voice – according to a study of comScore

In the age of Siri and Alexa, shopping for the favorite product becomes just a single voice command away!

Besides the messenger bots, users are now using AI fed voice assistant tools to communicate with the web services through voice command. Customers today prefer more convenience in eCommerce shopping. This technology is integrated into smart speakers or smartphones for voice communication. Hence, they can search the items even without the phone or laptop. Businesses, which want to stay ahead in the competitive market, are optimizing their websites for voice searches. For instance, many eCommerce sites allow customers to purchase via Alexa. 

Example:

In the Amazon, customers are using Alexa-enabled devices to search and order products through voice command.

4. Image Recognition and Visual Search

I liked that product, but don’t know what it is? – a common situation that most customers come across. 

AI in eCommerce helps the customers and retailers in this case with visual search technology. With the application of artificial intelligence solutions, you can implement the image search on your eCommerce website and empower your site to understand the images. By obtaining the visual prompts from the uploaded images, the AI algorithm can assist the customers in discovering the product they desire. Customers can do their search based on the images instead of typing keywords. Mobile apps of eCommerce sites can find the product scanned in front of the camera.

Example:

Neiman Marcus, a luxury department store adopted AI and visual recognition technologies to boost the shopping experience. They added a visual search feature called Snap Find Shop in their eCommerce app. It allows customers to take a snap of the handbag, shoe or clothing item and shop a similar product in the store using AI.

They reported that this effort of AI in eCommerce had paid off – in Q2, their total revenues were $1.48 billion, a 6.2% increase over Q2 2017.

5. Warehouse Automation

Warehousing operation is a vital component of the eCommerce business as it plays a vital role in deciding sales trends for a company. Using the robots in the warehouse improvised the entire scenario of the eCommerce stores. The automated robots can guide visitors with related information about the product while they visit the warehouse. Being programmed to assist the human during the product dispatching and shipping, you can reduce the cost of employees too. Moreover, artificial intelligence in eCommerce can relive the storekeepers to concentrate on meaningful activities.

Example:

JD.com a Beijing based company has joined hands with Siasun Robot & Automation Co Ltd and implemented a smart logistics ecosystem with robots. It has boosted their warehouse processes like parcel sorting, categorizing and packing. Also, it improved the efficiency and speed of the sorting mechanisms as well as the delivery schedule.

6. Inventory Management

Inventory management is one of the tedious tasks when it has to be manual as it includes continuous checking of the stock & sales and updates the inventory. As AI and RPA bots are dedicated to take over the tedious tasks, you no need to check the inventory daily. Designed with a predictive algorithm, they can predict the upcoming sales and update the stock. Besides, your inventory management system will be better over time as the AI systems create a correlation between the current as well as future demand.

Interested readers can explore how RPA streamlines tedious tasks. 

Example:

Walmart states that AI and ML technology has increased their profits. With IBM – Weather Gleaned datasets they found some correlation between customer’s purchase behavior and weather phenomena. For instance, the company realized that consumers were more likely to purchase steaks when it is windy, cloudy and warm. It offers forecasts in advance, along with the current and planned stock. It supports the company to determine supply chain availability as well as the actual demand.

7. Sales Improvement with a Sales Prediction

AI helps your sales and marketing team in drafting clear sales messages. AI gathers information like customer behavior before, and after purchase, their preference, transaction information, feedback, and demographics. Further, it synthesizes the obtained results to form clusters and patterns. This enables the sales and marketing teams to target prospects better, understand similarities between them and decide who is most likely to get which product. To make the processes more powerful and keep all the details in one place, most businesses are integrating an AI platform with their CRM system. 

Explore how CRM drives sales

The predictive capabilities of AI empower the team to predict the customers’ next move. Retailers are using smart ways to collect data related to customer behavior in the forms of:

  • Social media
  • Purchase history
  • Product reviews
  • Web analytics
  • Call center transcripts

Example:

Regit – A leading online marketplace, which allows consumers to purchase, sell & maintain their cars, has joined hands with Peak to become an AI-driven platform. This technology enables them to predict when their customers were about to change their cars. As a result, they can create a lead score, which was then assigned to customers in their CRM. Further, their call center agents better personalized the service to customers based on the model predicted. According to Regit, the AI in eCommerce has achieved a 27% increase in sales and reduced operational costs to 35%. 

8. Improved Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is the biggest threat to eCommerce platforms as it handles many transactions. Online fraud and exposure of private data can affect the reputation of your business; hence, it is crucial to keep the customer data secure at the website. Payment and fraud security are massive areas of AI investment. By integrating AI and deep learning into your security solutions, you can keep the customer data safe in your database. It detects as well as preventing your eCommerce sites from any fraudulent activities. It also reduces the chances of fraud activities against the websites. 

Example:

IBM states that its Watson AI platform offers a host of advantages in securing your eCommerce platform. Watson’s QRador, a cognitive AI automatically inspect signs of security compromise and obtain critical insights. Then, it consolidates the network flow data and logs events from thousands of applications, endpoints, and devices, combining them into single alerts. It enables you to accelerate the incident analysis & remediation. 

9. Dynamic Pricing

Fluctuating prices are not new – think about airline tickets, happy hours and the stock market. 

AI in eCommerce ensures a dynamic pricing strategy, based on which you can change the process of your products as per their supply & demand. You can now append competitive pricing, sales transaction data, and customer data to predict what to discount when to discount and calculate the number of discounts required to confirm a transaction. 

Example:

Amazon, the eCommerce giant is well known for its dynamic pricing strategy. For example, in its UK shopping site, the same paddleboard is offered at different prices ranging from £235 — £699. 

Many of their product’s price changes automatically based on the sales prediction using AI and ML algorithms. 

10. Tackle Fake Review

The fake review is one of the biggest challenges for eCommerce brands. Around 80% of the consumers believe online reviews nearly as they believe a personal recommendation.

What if the online reviews are fake? – Competitors or other brands nowadays tend to publish fake reviews. 

AI in eCommerce also aids you to fight against this and eradicate fake reviews and allows only the authentic comments about the brand or product on your site. 

Example:

Facebook employs an AI solution called “fast Text” that classifies text and makes supervised & unsupervised learning algorithms to get vector depictions for words. 

11. After-Sales Services

Selling the product is not enough; you have to support the customers in the entire buying cycle, which includes after-sales services as well. 

With automated customer service solutions, AI in eCommerce also takes care of your post-sales services. With automatic follow-up, the AI looks after all types of sales issues, including complaints, period-related queries, returns, & refunds. Solving the issues of your buyers can improve the value of the brand and website. 

Example:

Syncron Uptime, an IoT enabled product developed by Syncron helps businesses to offer after-sales support. It helps to recognize when a sold product will need repair or replacement, by tracking the product in real-time. It employs sensor data to detect malfunctioning & other anomalies and support businesses to respond before the customer understand something going wrong. 

By now, you are aware that the AI-driven platform is vital to eCommerce success. AI and ML can solve the most complex tasks in eCommerce. Payment fraud detection, product recommendation, and moderating product images are the names of a few tasks. If you’re still untouched with these features, then it’s time to hire mobile app developers and empower your eCommerce store with this update. 

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Christopher is a business editor who writes about various topics such as technology, health and finance. He works along with the colourful folks that build a nation through tech startups. He is also a professional football player and video games enthusiast.

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