Artificial Intelligence is already on the rise – retail giants like Alibaba, Amazon and eBay use AI technology to recognize fake reviews, for chatbot services, product or services recommendation, and more.
As per McKinsey Global Survey from 2021, 56% of respondents reported AI adoption in at least one function and it is indicated that AI adoption continues to grow with the benefits remaining significant. As previously advised, the business functions where AI adoption is the most common are service operations, product/service development and marketing and sales. The good news is that the majority of companies, no matter the industry, continue to invest in AI technology to gain a competitive edge.
AI has become a trend as it provides plenty of opportunities for any business, especially in the eCommerce industry. AI technology relies on data mining, NLP (Natural Language Processing) and ML (Machine Learning) which altogether help retail companies improve their results.
AI brings plenty of advantages, some being the ability to predict shopping patterns based on gathered consumers’ data, perform many tasks quicker and more accurately, recommend products, analyze customer comments and more. All these help retailers to maximize their offers and boost conversion rates by personalizing services for their shoppers.
No matter if AI filters large amounts of data or identifies images, it never gets tired or sleepy. Deploying AI to your digital business can help you provide your customers with exactly what they want.
How AI can benefit your eCommerce business
We bring you the top benefits of deploying AI technology in your eCommerce business:
Virtual assistants and voice search
eCommerce is now focused on user experience. Virtual Assistants (VAs) are basically chatbots that use NLP and ML to understand customer queries better and offer the necessary support adequately. This is common nowadays and we are all familiar with Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri etc. eCommerce can benefit from chatbots as they are active 24/7 and can handle queries without any hassle and in the shortest time possible. Virtual Assistants can perform several tasks from product research to handling inventory – thus VAs represent easy and quick access to information. VAs can also collect valuable data and track customer behaviour thus tailoring the online experience for the consumers.
Another benefit you can utilize is voice technology – it is not new as businesses have been using it since the 1960s yet not so many businesses use it actively or regularly. Voice technology in essence allows users to search for products or purchase through voice commands. Voice commerce is preferred by many as it is quick and convenient because users do not have to type in anything to search. Additionally, it can serve a wider audience including those with impairments like visual impairment, facilitating the process and converting them into loyal returning customers.
A lot of shoppers use the search box to find the products they are looking for on an eCommerce website or a mobile app. Always keep in mind that customers that are doing this type of search are more likely to actually purchase as opposed to the ones only ‘window shopping’.
Finding the wanted product is the biggest problem, as it often happens they do not find what they were looking for, even after typing in the keywords.
That’s where smart search comes to rescue. Smart search is also referred to as ‘searchandizing’, meaning combination of merchandising and search.
Searchandising combines elements like navigation, autocomplete, recommended product listings, recent searches and other features that are blended with established search techniques. eCommerce platforms utilize image annotation to offer personalized and useful search experiences through behavioral data.
Personalization in the eCommerce industry is a process of remodeling shopping experiences as per individual customer’s needs, preferences and tastes. For example, they can show you recently viewed products, run an automated email campaign or create a personalized product list.
Personalization was a part of the eCommerce industry before the AI implementation but now, since computers can crunch big numbers enabling optimization and real-time analytics. Software can quickly analyze the data and recognize trends in customer behaviour providing personalized product recommendations. Such an approach brings benefits to eCommerce shops as you can cross-sell or upsell products by recommending different items to customers at the checkout depending on their preferences. You can also add to the personalization strategy to actively show content to shoppers, no matter if those are campaigns or products. Be careful as this depends on their click-through or purchase history as well as browsing behaviour.
Personalization enables retailers to deliver a smooth customer experience over all platforms helping to send relevant messages at the right time.
Online stores are now available 24/7 and via multiple channels. By automating customer support, retailers can save time, energy and money (capital) – that is where AI technology helps immensely.
With automation, retail businesses can handle and perform all repetitive tasks simplifying the front and backend workflow. Ai technology enables retailers to automate everything from featuring new products on multiple platforms to aligning sales, recognizing high-risk transactions or offering discounts to loyal long-term customers etc.
When an eCommerce business starts growing, the number of repetitive tasks grows as well. Moving the burden of answering repetitive queries to chatbots will allow your eCommerce business to focus on more complex requests.
Remarket/retarget potential customers
According to some recent studies, at least one third of marketing leads are not followed up, meaning these potential buyers are just forsaken. That is the spot where AI becomes a real necessity.
Remarketing works as a reminder to customers of your eCommerce business brand and your items. This type of strategy aims to reach users who are already your users or who have previously visited your store and possibly left their buying journey at some point prior to completing a purchase.
With the help of AI, eCommerce companies can determine the behavioral pattern of each shopper based on generated sales, purchased items or the most viewed products. This data is later used to attract them back to your store or website. Push notifications are the most powerful tools to use in your remarketing strategy. These notifications are brief and direct, so there’s little concern you will annoy your shoppers. You can also use personalized push notifications providing one-on-one communication.
Retail companies use AI in their retargeting campaigns as they are cost-effective and extremely helpful – they place your business at the forefront of your customers’ priorities.
When customers cannot find what they are looking for, it brings frustration and often shoppers leave the store. AI technology helps to tackle this problem using NLP to narrow and improve search results for online shoppers. It also allows visual search capabilities helping customers find and match the products, discover complementary products, etc. boosting user experience.
Shoppers can take a picture of some item, e.g. shoes or new gym clothes, upload it and wait for AI to do its magic. AI helps users easily find exact or similar items throughout your eCommerce store.
There are many platforms enabling visual search like Pinterest Lens, Bing Visual Search, Amazon StyleSnap etc. so check these out and see what they offer related to the features.
Filter Fake Reviews
Fake reviews have unfortunately become a genuine issue for all retailers and eCommerce businesses. The majority of users declare that positive online reviews impact their buying decisions as well as the negative ones.
That is why many eCommerce businesses use AI technology to fight fake reviews by putting more prominence on verified and helpful reviews.
For example, Amazon uses AI to fight fake product reviews and increase in their popular star ratings. Their AI focuses to boost verified customer purchase reviews and rank them higher and make them more visible. Another important element is indication that the review was helpful to other users which is also taken into account.
AI will transform the eCommerce industry but it also impacts the present. AI plays a huge role in adding to better customer experiences and innovative solutions related to customer retention, satisfaction, efficiency and more.
The advantage of gaining customer data can be further enhanced with AI to tailor services per preferences and tasks of each customer.
With the help of AI, eCommerce companies will make smarter decisions and adjust their marketing campaigns accordingly because – AI is changing the way we buy and sell online.