Unless you are completely isolated for the last couple of years, you have definitely heard of the term artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence has impacted almost every industry and e-commerce is leveraging the best of AI. There are multiple aspects in which the e-commerce industry can leverage AI.
In this article, we will go through the all possible ways that online sellers can use AI in the era of online shopping. AI is playing an important role in our lives. Whether you need to self-check out from cash registers or do advanced security checks at the airport, AI is everywhere.
The technological giants such as Google, and Microsoft are investing heavily in the domain of artificial intelligence and AI is set to go in the turbo drive in the next few years. Recently, Google acquired an artificial intelligence-focused company DeepMind for £400m. The company is creating specialized algorithms and machine learning for a better world. These are one of the many acquisitions to make this technology becomes a reality.
Other IT giants like Facebook, IBM, and Yahoo have already expressed their intention to use artificial intelligence as a major source of their revenue.
Curious about how you can leverage AI for your online business? You’re not alone then. In this article, we will discuss 15 different Use Cases of AI in e-commerce among which you can find your way of using AI in your online selling mechanism.
15 Ways to Use AI in your Online Store:
1. Advanced personalized search:
One of the major reasons why customers leave e-commerce stores is because of the irrelevant products displayed to them.
Twiggle, a company that built e-commerce search engines the way humans think, understood this problem and employs NLP (Natural Language Processing) to contextualise and improve the search results for the buyers.
Leveraging machine learning and AI can bring automation to many e-commerce tasks. E.g. in digital marketing, it can automatically tags, organises, and visually search content by labelling features of the image or video.
You can get a competitive edge in your online business regardless of the size or your yearly revenue. Let’s take the example of Pinterest. The company recently updated its Chrome extension by which users can now select any item in any photograph online, and then ask Pinterest to showcase similar items using the image recognition technology built using AI.
AI is not just limited to finding matching products but is also helping shoppers to find complementary products by size, colour, shape, fabric, or even brand.
2. Retargeting potential patrons:
As per the Conversica report, the sales team doesn’t take follow-up from nearly one-third of the marketing leads. Thus, due to some inevitable cracks, the pre-qualified potential buyers of your offerings don’t end in conversion.
Also, there are a lot of businesses which are overloaded with a lot of unmanageable customer data which is of no use for them. However, this data is a goldmine to discover customers’ practices and improving the sales cycle. E.g. in the retail industry, facial recognition is being employed to capture shoplifters by scanning their faces on CCTV cameras.
But how AI can help in improving the customers’ buying experience?
Well, many businesses are using facial recognition technology to count the number of times customers dwell in their stores. It means if a customer is spending a reasonable amount of time for a specific product e.g. an iPhone, then the AI can utilize this information and provide special offers and recommendations on the screen as well.
In simpler words, if you are offering an omnichannel experience to your buyers, then AI can help you to make progress to remarket to customers.
3. Find outlying target prospects:
The evolving AI technology enables online businesses with timely intelligence to solve one of the biggest business challenges which is lead generation.
4. Improve sales process:
Fortunately, we have moved from the old era of traditional sales techniques in which the sales team used to pick up the trusty Yellow Pages and pester clients through cold-calling.
Today’s customers interact with many different forms of media including TV advertisements and social media. Even the social media app Snapchat has established itself as a potential sales & marketing tool, opening new marketing opportunities for businesses.
Utilizing artificial intelligence in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool will help you deliver strong sales messages to your customers at the right time and on the right platform.
Some AI solutions employ Natural Language Processing and voice input like Siri or Alexa. Using this, a CRM system can answer customers’ queries and solve their problems efficiently.
Let’s take an example: The North Face, an e-commerce magnum opus used AI to better understand their audience. They employed Watson (IBM’s AI Solution) and helped the buyer to find their perfect jacket.
They asked a simple question to their customers “When and where do you want to use your jacket?” through voice input technology. Watson scanned a plethora of products to find relevant matches using real-time customer input and research, like the weather conditions of users’ locations.
There is no qualm over the fact that AI is evolving the sales process by analyzing the data and impacting the e-commerce flow. These changes will make sure that customers never get irrelevant product suggestions.
5. Better personalization on multiple devices:
Personalization is not a new concept in the e-commerce industry, and if you have ever bought something on Amazon, you must know exactly what we are referring to. But with the increasing penetration of AI and its evolvement, new deep levels of personalization are entering the fast-growing e-commerce world.
AI is now taking the multi-channel approach for personalization in e-commerce. Boomtrain, an AI engine, analyze multiple customer touchpoints and helps businesses by finding how customers are interacting online. It checks all possible touchpoints like mobile apps, websites, email campaigns, push notifications, social media ads, etc. to create a universal customer view. This view will allow e-commerce sellers to deliver a smooth and streamlined buying experience on all channels.
So the next time any customer is finding a case for his Macbook on your website, he should get a push notification on his mobile about your sale of Macbook skins and cases. Then, he will directly purchase from the website, saving time for both parties.
6. Leverage Chatbots to provide personal touch:
The advancement in technology has changed consumers’ expectations, and e-commerce is now striving to build experiences for the individual and not the mass. For instance, now there are a plethora of touch points and influences that generate purchases.
There are already many e-commerce retailers who are incorporating AI and getting more sophisticated in capturing attention. One such widely adopted approach is “conversational commerce”.
It is the amalgamation of visual, written, vocal, and predictive capabilities. Consumers’ expectations are expanding at a pace that retailers are struggling to keep up.
Using artificial intelligence in the form of Chatbots can be a way to drive the conversation in the next era of “conversational commerce”.
So what is a Chatbot? Is it a robot?
Yes, chatbots are a sort of robot but not physical. You can’t touch them but you can interact with them. It is not a highly graded technical machine but a computer program which can initiate and carry a conversation with the customers. The chatbots have been programmed to understand all the potential queries of the customers. Earlier, chatbots were developed with pre-programmed coding scripts, that’s why they used to give similar answers. But now they are built using advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms. Thus, they can learn from their experiences and resolve queries on the spot.
The e-commerce industry has been most impacted by chatbots. They are completely changing the way e-commerce stores used to interact with their visitors to answer their questions. The customers get a highly personalized experience with faster and more accurate responses. In the current scenario, it is possible to deploy chatbots on other platforms as well, like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and others.
You can save 30% of your operational costs by introducing chatbots. And you are not alone, more than half of the businesses are planning to spend more on chatbots instead of mobile apps. The most attractive feature of chatbots for users is their 24 x 7 availability.
7. Empower store workers:
Although online retailers are experimenting with chatbots, they are also thinking of how to duplicate the helpful experience in-store.
Lowe, a home improvement retailer implemented the same and introduced the LoweBot, the first autonomous robot, in 2014 and become the best epitome of such implementation at that time.
The tall shopping assistant meets visitors at the door, shows them around the store, finds pertinent product information, and even helps employees with inventory management.
This allows Lowe’s experienced store employees to engage in more meaningful conversations with customers.
8. Virtual Assistants Implementation:
There are many online circumstances when we require help and that is when AI-software agents are required for.
We are quite aware of bots like Hey Google, Siri, Alexa and others which have given us the comfort of having conversations just like human beings. But after time, even their evolution becomes boring for humans with limited updates.
Virtual assistants can be advanced by utilizing the concepts rooted in natural language processing and the ability of machines to interpret what people are saying in words.
And, how does it matter to e-commerce retailers?
Let’s have a look at Alexa, the popular virtual assistant of Amazon.
This virtual assistant is highly popular in the commerce industry and has been integrated into Amazon’s products along with other supplier products.
9. Implementation with daily usable items:
Similar to virtual assistants, AI is being used in other daily devices. E.g. LG has launched an InstaView refrigerator with multiple touchscreens in-built into its door. It also has installed a virtual assistant that can provide news and weather updates. Along with this, it can lend a hand with your shopping orders.
10. Give better recommendations to users:
AI is helping brands to smartly scan through petabytes of data and predict customer behaviour patterns and find relevant and helpful recommendations to individual consumers. Such a level of intelligence is highly required if brands want to deliver a unique personalized buying experience to the shoppers.
Amazon is probably the best epitome of this. It is utilizing AI to analyze all the customers’ data it gathers from multiple touchpoints such as its app, website, and others.
The algorithm utilizes a plethora of information like account information, customer preferences, purchase history, viewing history, third-party data, and other information. That’s how Amazon suggests highly relevant products to buyers.
Today, e-commerce retailers want to bring the best of an offline experience in the online space, by offering customers a seamless way to discover products they are actively looking for.
Hyper personalization is another big focus in the e-commerce industry in which AI has to learn genuine customer behaviour and predictions with gargantuan amounts of data.
11. Leverage the ‘assortment intelligence’ tool:
Retailers are being forced by customers to change their pricing strategies. Thus, there must be certain flexibility for multichannel retailers when it comes to price restructuring to retain customers.
Retailers are turning to assortment intelligence, a service that provides unparalleled 24/7 visibility and useful insights into competitors’ product assortments.
Businesses can track their competitors’ product mix, which can be divided by product, brand, and percentage of overlap. This clever technology then enables firms to swiftly and precisely alter their product mix and pricing.
12. Bridge the gap between personalization and privacy:
There is always a blurred line between personalization and privacy. In the last few years, the privacy of users has been given a lot of importance. Brands are leaving no stone unturned to take transparency, security, and honesty to a completely new level. But to achieve this, they can’t compromise on user personalization as it plays important in e-commerce.
To tackle this problem, Artificial intelligence comes to the rescue. Users are more ready and comfortable to share the data if they get something in return. E.g. if you give Google Now access to your account, it will sync your calendar, emails, photos, and other habits.
Each morning, it will greet you with a summary of what you have on your plate and will notify you if you are going to be late to work owing to a train cancellation.
13. Leverage sales through wearable technology:
We all know the importance of mobile technology in e-commerce sales. As per the Shopify report of 2016, mobile overtake e-commerce sales as the primary source of online traffic. The implications for eCommerce businesses are numerous as items such as the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and other forms of wearable electronics enter the market.
So, what are the benefits of wearable technology for eCommerce platforms? Because wearables have the astonishing capacity to capture data that goes beyond what eCommerce platforms now accomplish.
Some wearable technology can detect what things you are looking at, determine your preferences, and quickly propose personalised products.
When physical data such as vital statistics, measurements, and pupil dilation rate are included, the extent to which advice can be adjusted is simply astounding.
14. Manage fake reviews:
Fake reviews have spared almost no experienced retailers for their brand. Consumers may get bombarded with a lot of advertising from different channels, and this will delay their plan of action for a purchase. In such a case, word of mouth comes as a helping hand.
If a friend of your potential customer has purchased a product from your brand and gets a positive experience, then the customer will also purchase your brand.
As per the recent study of Dimensional Research, a huge 90% of the respondent claims that reading positive online reviews influenced their purchasing decisions. But more importantly, 86% of the respondent also agreed that reading negative reviews influenced their purchasing decisions as well.
What if these reviews are fake?
AI can help you in managing this problem. Creating fake reviews is called “astroturfing” which has a presence on many sites including Amazon.
Astroturfing refers to creating or disseminating a false review that a rational customer will find trustable, natural, and 3rd party testimonial.
Customers always prefer to check the reviews of a product before making a purchase. Since they can’t physically experience the product, the ratings and reviews of users who have supposedly bought them before can make or break the product.
Many e-commerce retailers have started using AI to fight astroturfing by putting more attention on verified and helpful reviews. It boosts the prominence and weight of verified reviews.
15. Manage Counterfeit products:
Just like fake reviews, counterfeit products are another major issue the e-commerce industry is facing. It might be challenging for the average customer to spot a fake item from a third-party seller when perusing through vast online marketplaces. When a customer purchases a product that appears to be reliable but doesn’t live up to expectations, it may leave them with a bad taste in their mouth and affect how they view the brand.
Then, how can e-commerce retailers combat fake goods?
AI can help by adding a layer of protection which will spot counterfeits and help businesses understand how customers are buying the products.
In this article, we have understood how AI can be useful in so many different aspects of our e-commerce stores. AI can’t just streamline the processes but can also counter certain problems which will eventually increase the revenue and brand reputation. At Ceymox Technologies, the best e-commerce development company in India, we are having expertise in developing e-commerce stores from scratch. Let us know your requirements.