How AI in eCommerce is Changing the Landscape
Brent PetersonDecember 13, 2022
Our understanding of artificial intelligence usually comes with images from dystopian novels, robots that feel the same emotions we do, and other superpowered technological marvels. We haven’t developed technology that complex yet, so what’s the deal with AI today? While they can’t recreate human emotions, artificial intelligence is everywhere, including the eCommerce space. Here’s how AI in eCommerce is making waves:
What is AI for Business?
In the eCommerce space, most artificial intelligence software can be categorized into one of two types:
Consumer-facing AI works directly with shoppers and the shopping experience. These programs focus on eCommerce aspects like web design, user experience, interactivity, and consumer retention. With consumer-facing artificial intelligence, the AI typically gathers consumer data through transactions and reports them to the business owner so they can make appropriate changes.
Business-facing artificial intelligence exists to streamline all of the bookkeeping and busywork that comes with running a business. These kinds of AI read and categorize sales data and all the numbers needed to run a business and record them across several platforms to help eliminate room for error and save employees time and energy.
The Importance of AI in eCommerce
There are quite a few ways artificial intelligence can help businesses grow, develop, and work at optimal capacity. Here are a few of our favorite things that AI helps us with:
Artificial intelligence is best known for pattern recognition. By recording consumer shopping patterns like how much people spend per visit and what kinds of products people buy at different times of the year, artificial intelligence can find patterns in how people shop. To take this a step further, the AI can then use its current pattern as a blueprint for predicting future shopping trends.
For example, if your business gets more online orders during the holiday season, the AI will pick up on that, and it will estimate that many shoppers will visit your eCommerce site around the same time every year. Granted, this example is incredibly simple– AI can find trends with much more specific data.
Developing and Refining New Technologies
When it comes to new technology in the eCommerce space, we aren’t talking about consumer products. For business owners, technology that revolves around data entry, logging transactions, completing transactions, and even shipping is very important! Since artificial intelligence is constantly evolving, software developers and the AI itself will find new ways to streamline your business’ busy work.
Gathering and Organizing Consumer Data
Gathering data from shoppers is hard. It takes a while, and busy stores usually need a whole team to handle the data. With AI, there’s no need for dedicated employees to log data– the system does it for you. Artificial intelligence software can collect, organize, and store data from customer interactions with your website. It can also share that data with other computer systems within your business, so you don’t have to constantly type stats in by hand.
Creating a Personalized Shopping Experience
On the consumer side of things, AI is great for creating a more personalized shopping experience. The AI can use site cookies on a digital storefront to find and recommend products to a shopper or help them find products more easily.
How we use AI in eCommerce Today
Let’s get into some specific examples of how artificial intelligence works in the eCommerce space:
Predictive Text and Voice Command Options
When you search for products on a store’s page, the search bar will sometimes provide options to complete the search query. This is a form of artificial intelligence! Predictive text allows shoppers to easily find what they’re looking for, even if they don’t know a specific product’s name or how to spell it. Shoppers input search queries using several keywords, and then the AI picks out products labeled with those keyword tags.
When it comes to voice recognition, Artificial Intelligence plays an essential role in picking out accents and voice features that can make audio-based searches difficult. You’ll find this kind of technology more often on phone lines than on websites because it’s still developing. Expect to see more voice-based accessibility options in the future, though!
Along with data entry and transfer, you can also automate generic emails. Ever get an email from an online store with a time-limited coupon code? An AI probably sent it. Using artificial intelligence to send out purchase confirmations, shipping updates, and other general emails is yet another great way to save time.
General Customer Service
The development of artificial intelligence for customer service is yet another new, developing technology. Chatbots are the current option for AI-based customer service, as artificial intelligence can help shoppers find specific products or recommend products or services based on a consumer’s needs. These chatbots currently use keywords and phrases for problem-solving, so they can’t help with every little issue, but they can filter out simple requests, so the human customer service team isn’t overwhelmed.
Supply and demand are a normal part of business, and using artificial intelligence to predict upcoming market trends can help store owners change their prices based on these predictions. For small businesses, dynamic pricing is essential to keeping a storefront afloat, and as products (and ingredients) change price, the AI can make pricing recommendations accordingly.
Forecasting Future Sales
Alongside predicting price changes, an artificial intelligence’s pattern recognition ability can predict future sales, too. For example, if customers frequently search for a specific product (say, one made from organic hemp), the AI will notice and notify store owners that it might be a good time to invest in hemp products. On the other hand, when a major shopping season starts to wind down, the AI will notice which products are listed as overstock and suggest putting them on clearance.
Although they aren’t walking, talking, humanoid robots, artificial intelligence plays a huge role in how we shop and run businesses. From both the consumer’s side and the business’ side, AI helps automate time consuming tasks and predict future developments, as well as assist customers. As artificial intelligence technology continues to develop, we can only assume it’ll get even better.
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