Future of e-commerce Looks Promising - Thanks to Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is constantly modifying the world of online shopping. Today, AI is changing the way in which e-commerce stores operate and provide services to their customers. Right from offering virtual buying assistants to creating personalized shopping experience, AI is refining online shopping experience for both retailers and customers. The technology also provides new ways to analyze Big Data and helps e-commerce companies to engage with their customers on a new level and create superior client experiences. Achieving highly personalized customer experience holds the key to the success of online marketers.
The AI applications can analyze consumer data to predict future purchasing patterns and make product recommendations, based on the browsing patterns. According to the latest report by "Business Insider", it is estimated that by the year 2020, almost 85% of the customer interactions will be handled without a human. With phone calls, emails, and chats being quickly and efficiently responded by automated systems, these statistics seems easily achievable. Let us now understand how AI is transforming e-commerce and analyze how things might change in the future.
How Will AI Change the Future of e-commerce?
Artificial intelligence, which has started making an impact on different industries such as marketing, finance, healthcare, etc., is now being used in the field of e-commerce. A few years from now, we will witness a massive growth of AI in e-commerce and this technology will be used in taking major business decisions, creating pre-emptive solutions, and generating valuable business insights.
Some of the key ways in which artificial intelligence is changing the realm of online shopping are listed here -
Personalized Customer Service
Personalized customer service is not a new concept, but more and more companies are using the emerging AI technologies to improve the levels of customer service they provide. These companies make use of collaborative filters to provide their customers with recommendations, which are mainly based on search history, trends, and bestselling items from the website. AI gathers information from a lot of channels and provides deep insights that help businesses achieve seamless client experience.
e-commerce companies are moving towards developing image search capabilities. This method allows users to upload an image of any product of their choice, and the website will help them find identical or similar products. AI-driven algorithms are expected to play a crucial role in the e-commerce industry, especially in this digital era of Instagram and Snapchat, where the consumer's attention span is greatly reduced. Therefore, image search is a technology that has made the life of consumers easy, as they can just upload a picture of any product they want and find the similar ones online.
Most of the companies are loaded with customer data but are not able to utilize the same for their business. This data can prove to be highly beneficial for e-commerce companies. With advancements in AI technology, e-commerce companies can now display relevant special offers for their customers, based on customer's search history and consumer data. Therefore, retailers are now able to successfully remarket their products to customers through their websites.
Channelizing the Sales Process
Sales techniques have moved from the traditional methods of cold calling and yellow pages to better and more intelligent methods. Artificial intelligence in e-commerce helps in providing customized solutions to customers and no longer yields results, which are unnecessary and inappropriate. Using artificial intelligence, services can also be customized with a sales message that reaches the right customer at the scheduled time. Therefore, an AI-driven CRM can effectively manage all sales tasks and streamline the whole process.
Virtual Buying Assistants
Artificial intelligence in e-commerce can be used to create a virtual buying assistant, which helps consumers decide which products or services to buy or choose. Virtual assistants will prompt the customer if there is a drop in the cost of the item in which the customer showed interest and if directed, it can also buy that item on behalf of the customer. This feature if incorporated into an e-commerce website, can prove to be highly beneficial for the consumer and lead to a considerable amount of cost savings.
Analyzing Big Data
AI systems can be utilized to analyze large amounts of data to identify hidden insights, which helps businesses to accurately predict the trends and make decisions that benefit the company. Today, AI systems are slowly but steadily replacing the traditional methods of replenishment and merchandising systems. Upgraded AI systems can help businesses analyze data and provide a correlation between structured and unstructured data, indicate which products need to be procured, and also show the products which have to be discounted.
Some of the Well-Known Examples of AI in e-commerce
As AI has a massive impact on e-commerce, several companies are using AI in their websites to provide superior personalized experiences to their customers. Some of the well-known companies making use of AI in their websites include -
WayBlazer - This is a travel start-up, which uses an intelligent AI system that delivers contextual, personalized insights and advice for travelers, using deep learning algorithms. The company assists numerous B2B companies who plan small outings, manage hotel bookings, arrange tours, etc. They also provide this service to companies that generate revenue through travel bookings.
USAA - This financial services company utilizes AI to identify inconsistencies in financial transactions by tracking client's behavior and identifying hidden patterns. They make use of thousands of factors to determine the customer behavior.
Under Armour - This is a sports and fitness apparel company, which uses IBM's Watson AI system. The company creates an app which keeps of a person's health and fitness. In the future, this system aims to offer the user with individualized training advice and personal nutrition information.
Knorr - Being a food brand owned by Unilever, Knorr uses AI application to develop recipes based on the ingredients available to the user. The application provides relevant hints to the user and also provides the company with information about what the customer needs or is looking for.
Netflix - This is well-known online video and media streaming website. Netflix uses AI to provide their customers with personalized recommendations. These recommendations will be usually based on what a user has watched or the video's online ratings.
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