Trends to Revolutionize eCommerce
The success in eCommerce business is generally defined by how well merchants can make shopping convenient, fast, and effective. As such, it is one of the main areas for applying artificial intelligence in business. A survey from a well known IT firm shows that over 20% of AI investments flow over to online retailing. Here, we will see how the future of eCommerce may shape up with the advent of AI in business.
Accurate and flexible search option
In business, your customer is your priority. They will not tolerate irrelevant content. According to a study, about 73% of shoppers expect retailers to improve the accuracy of search suggestions. This is exactly the grounds where AI can revolutionize the eCommerce world. You may ask ‘how so?’
Firstly, Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence has the capability of making semantic search engines more precise. Applications of machine learning allow a search based on recognizing typos, synonyms, and product relations. Rather than a search based on keywords.
Secondly, AI can offer a lot more search options based on voice and image recognition. Voice search is nowadays gaining a huge popularity owing to its convenience.
AI assistants and chatbots
The main drawback of online stores is their lack of human assistants. There are many encoded chatbots to respond in a particular way. But they can hardly replace people who can listen, understand and respond accordingly. However, AI has changed the customer experience altogether! Simply by allowing shoppers to communicate with a web store via text, voice, and pictures and enjoy human-like responses.
For example, the North Face XPS from IBM’s Watson, the Rakuten Fit Me, Amazon Alexa etc. – AI applications. These recommendation tools can ask a shopper questions about location and gender; can do additional research to find out the weather conditions in the shopper’s location. Thus giving the customer several most relevant options to consider. Alexa is more than just an AI-powered recommendation tool; it is a cloud-based voice service available on Amazon and third-party devices. One of its latest innovations is Echo Look. Echo Look which can analyze a person’s outfit and suggest advice based on the latest fashion trends.
These are the future of online apparel shops; as they can not only help customers to find the item they are looking for. But also help them understand what exactly they need to look great.
Cross-selling and upselling recommendations
With the help of Machine learning, cross-selling and upselling offerings can be made much more relevant to customers. And thus, much more effective. The idea is to analyze customer data and behaviours’ with recommendation engines powered by AI. And then only anticipate their needs with smart recommendations.
Day-by-day, the algorithms are getting sophisticated. Algorithms nowadays can understand how non-trivial factors can influence buying behaviour. Behaviour like changes in preferences with age, etc. They can also, learn based on previous customer reactions; in particular circumstances and determines the most effective approach and apply it in a similar situation.
We have seen that AI can drastically influence customer experience through customer communications. However, it is not the only thing it can do. AI can transform the backend of any eCommerce business as well; i.e. marketing and warehouse logistics.
Better marketing and planning insights
In order to understand how marketing shifts can be caused by AI, let us take a case. The Rakuten Institute of Technology has developed an AI algorithm. This algorithm is capable of analyzing 200 million products traded on Rakuten Ichiba. And from there, deliver forecasts for the sales volume. This smart prediction of sales has helped the merchants to manage their logistics costs better. Which has eventually let them walk out the balance between supply and demand.
Another application of this technology is the fact-based segmentation of shoppers. Generally, it falls upon the wit of the marketers to categorize or segment shoppers into groups. Groups like gender and age, etc. AI, however, segments shoppers by considering more subtle criteria like particular product preferences or shopping behaviour.
One more benefit that AI can give in eCommerce marketing is the analysis of reviews. Always remember that you can identify your weak points in the business from customer feedback; they are as vital as your business planning. You can improve service by analysing your reviews and avoid negative publicity in future. Machine learning is totally capable of doing that and furthermore, it can furnish you with data from page descriptions.
Logistics based on complete automation
The success of any online retail business depends on the success of logistics processes. It is not surprising that AI should enter here as well. They can help to improve the speed as well as the efficiency of warehouse operations. And thereby reduce the need for employees and thus can cut costs and increase revenues.
A completely automated warehouse seems to be something of science fiction. However, a Beijing-based company, JD.com is such a company. They have invested in an AI-powered retail research centre that has automated warehouse operations. Robots are used to stack products on shelves, pack, and ship merchandise; delivery drones are used to transport products across China.
The growth of development goes hand in hand with technology. The kind-of-art features now available solely to the market toppers. Yes, these will soon be available to the whole ecommerce universe. Automated warehouse operations, accurate marketing and great customer experience are the keys. And all of these can be achieved in the future with the advent of AI in the eCommerce world.