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Hackernoon logoHow E-Commerce is Getting Smarter with Artificial Intelligence by@amon-githae

How E-Commerce is Getting Smarter with Artificial Intelligence

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@amon-githaeAmon Githae

Tech writer, blogger and brand enthusiast

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is the future.

Think about it.

The global A.I. market size will reach a staggering $390.9 billion by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc.

Research firm Gartner says the growth of A.I. will generate up to $2.9 trillion of business value. On top of that, it will create a mind-bending six billion hours of worker productivity... and that's in 2021 alone!

What’s more? 

Fifty-four percent of business executives interviewed by PWC say using AI-powered solutions in their businesses helped increase productivity.

Artificial intelligence is shaping e-Commerce too. It is adding a personal touch to the way people shop and trade.

Look at Alibaba, for instance. The Chinese online retail giant is using customer service Chabot to process 95 percent of customer inquiries.

Amazon, on the other hand,  is using A.I. to customize product recommendations based on customer searches. Even more intriguing, the recommendation engine powers 35 percent of the retailer’s total sales.

As a player in the e-Commerce space, understanding how to integrate artificial intelligence into your business can help you stay ahead of the curve.

Here’s a detailed overview of how A.I. is benefiting e-Commerce and ways to leverage it.

24/7 Customer Service

Picture this. It is 2 AM. A customer on the other end of the world wants to know if you ship to Brazil. You don’t want to lose the prospect. You get out of bed to respond. Once you’re back in bed, another call comes in this time from Australia. You can’t keep up!

But, that doesn’t have to be the scenario. We’re in 2020!

Artificial intelligence, in the form of chatbots, is making it possible for e-Commerce players to respond to customer queries as soon as possible, around the clock. Besides, the latest chatbots can take your customers through the value journey, from engagement to conversion.

The best part is that you can customize your chatbots to communicate in your brand’s voice. That way, the robot can connect with your customers better, and by extension, guide them to make a purchase.

Intelligent, Customer-centric Searches

Hey Siri! Buy this product for me… and in a couple of seconds, Siri creates a list of buying and price options. Boom!

Welcome to the world of voice assistant, where shopping for products and services is a voice command away!

A.I. and machine learning are streamlining the shopping experience for online buyers. Even more impressive, machine learning can forecast what a customer wants and customize the results. That way, product and price comparison switches from acceptable to outstanding.

How seriously should e-Commerce stores consider adopting voice search?

Well, the numbers speak for themselves.

  • Voice search will account for 50 percent of all online searches by 2020, according to Quoracreative.
  • Gartner says 30 percent of all searches will happen on devices without a screen by 2020.
  •  Voice shopping will hit a whopping $40 billion by 2022, according to a report by OC&C Strategy Consultants.

Pro Tip - Place the search box strategically on your site. The idea is to ensure that customers can locate it quickly. It also helps to integrate the autocomplete function to improve the shopping experience.

Targeted Personalization

Customer experience is the new frontier for e-Commerce stores. The stats of a PWC survey showed 86 percent of buyers are willing to spend more if the CX is excellent.

CX also influences impulse buying. 49 percent of shoppers admitted to making on-the-spot purchases after receiving a personalized experience according to Marketwired.

Artificial intelligence can help watch a buyer’s behavior on an online store then use the data to create a personalized CX.

Look at eBay, for example. The company uses Shopbot to improve customer engagement and, most importantly, narrow down their product choice using Natural Language Process (NLP).

Further, Amazon displays “frequently bought together” and “related items” sections based on a buyer’s browsing history.

The idea is to make sure that a shopper can quickly browse products he/she is likely to buy instead of sifting through a collection of items they have no interest in.

Sales Prediction

Research by SiriusDecisions found that 79 percent of retailers miss their sales forecast by 10 percent.

Further, a shocking $1.1 trillion or an equivalent of 7 percent of the U.S. GDP remains tied up in inventory. According to Wasp Barcode, 46 percent of SMBs in the United States don’t track inventory or use manual systems.

But now, thanks to artificial intelligence, stores can predict future demand more accurately.

Software such as Seller Cloud allows e-Commerce platforms to track inventory, shipment handling, scheduled list, and customer feedback.

Why is inventory management essential for online retailers?

  • It helps manage orders without overselling the current stock.
  • Stores can keep their product information up to date.
  • Businesses can forecast customer behavior.
  • Stores can synchronize data across platforms in real-time.
  • It helps improve back-end visibility.

Indeed, better control of the supply chain can help boost sales since a store is aware of what to or not to stock at any given time.

Sifting Phony Reviews

Research by BrightLocal revealed that 82 percent of online shoppers read a fake review every year. 

The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority estimates bogus feedback possibly influences £23bn of U.K. customer spending.

The point is,

Negative reviews are a nightmare for every e-Commerce store. Phony feedback magnifies the wrong perception tenfold and taints the overall reputation of a business.

Artificial intelligence is helping fight this menace.

Amazon is a perfect example of an online retailer using A.I. to weed out fake reviews. The company tracks fabricated feedback by monitoring people’s connections through their social media accounts.

Moreover, leading e-Commerce platforms are using artificial intelligence to protect brands that sell products on their websites against counterfeits.

While this is slightly different from the A.I. technology Amazon uses to detect fake reviews, it is another way artificial intelligence is helping combat fraud in e-Commerce.

The Bottom Line

AI is here, and it is changing e-Commerce for the better. Any serious industry player should adopt A.I. if for nothing else, to help improve the buyer’s experience.

Online retailers can work with A.I. developers to create systems that enhance customer engagement, provide quicker access to information, and boost conversion. 

After all, 79 percent of executives around the globe say artificial intelligence will make their work more comfortable and efficient.


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