Technology and e-commerce
Not too long ago, artificial intelligence was looked upon as a futuristic technology that would put humans out of their jobs. Today, we enjoy its multifaceted benefits in almost every industry and see it for what it is — an intelligent aid for the otherwise overworked workforce.
Up-and-coming businesses in e-commerce have had the most to gain from AI. According to some estimates, AI for e-commerce is a $49 billion industry, and that’s only reasonable given the sheer number of use cases it serves in the industry.
Modern e-commerce startups have started leveraging AI to better understand their customers and meet their expectations. Perhaps its most popular subset — Machine Learning, helps these businesses make sense of all the collected data and drive insights that directly create a positive difference in customer experience.
5 applications of AI for e-commerce
Now that we have established the relevance of AI in today’s e-commerce businesses, let’s explore some of its broad applications that are changing the industry as we know it.
1. Personalizes and aligns customer shopping experience
Personalization of customer experience is a cornerstone of customizing a customer’s journey, and the future of this e-commerce journey is being influenced by AI right now. AI in retail businesses improves user experience by making a user’s purchasing experience more personalized.
If you run an e-commerce business, you already have a ton of data that lets you know of your customers’ buying and browsing habits (from how much time they spend on each page), their cart contents, their wishlist contents, their location, the device of choice, operating system, browser, and so on.
Furthermore, you can use the information collected by your CRM, which might include the users’ actions and clicks. This information is highly reliable to implement personalization on your e-commerce portal. The idea is to make recommendations that are adapted to the users’ preferences even before they know what they want.
But personalization goes well beyond customized product recommendations. For instance, AI-driven systems can personalize addressing using specific welcome texts or product descriptions. It can also adapt the navigation sequence based on demographics, analyze customer reviews to better categorize and target products. The same systems can also create tailored marketing emails that are relevant to the user.
2. Automates customer service through digital assistants
Automation in customer service is highly sought-after in almost all large-scale businesses with frequent customer interactions. And there’s a good reason for it — it costs businesses $1.3 trillion every year just to answer customer calls. A possible solution to this is leveraging AI digital assistants for answering common customer queries using references from your knowledge base. This feature alone, according to Juniper Research, will be able to save businesses more than $8 billion annually by as soon as 2022.
An AI-powered digital assistant is a smart solution for replying to simple and frequently asked questions. And the best part is that it’s live 24/7, saving your business thousands of man-hours and letting your live agents respond only to more subjective and unique queries. An AI digital assistant on your AI e-commerce platform can also help customers discover the right product based on their descriptions. With that, AI digital assistants will directly elevate the shopping experience by reducing the response time, increasing retention, and providing new upselling and cross-selling opportunities based on user data.
3. Improves task completion efficiency
Regardless of whether you are a cash cow or a rapidly growing AI e-commerce platform, you will always want more work to be done in as little time as possible. High productivity is a non-negotiable factor. That’s where AI comes in, supporting the need for effective business operations and weighing the equation of profitability and employee efficiency.
Here are a few ways AI can take on simple, mundane tasks to boost employee efficiency in an e-commerce setup:
- Answering customer queries and improving engagement
- Boosting Voice of the Customer (VoC) data collection
- Assisting the IT department in identifying abnormal behavior in systems, etc.
All in all, automation with the help of AI is a great means to process and manage data and boost task completion efficiency.
4. Offers accurate sales forecasts
The e-commerce ecosystem until a few years ago looked like a dead-end because we thought there’s only so much that can be done. That bubble burst when we introduced AI as a way to forecast sales and accordingly, manage inventory. As an AI e-commerce startup, accurately understanding how much of a given item you will sell by a certain date will let you stock up accordingly.
AI-driven applications consume historical data about previous purchases to deliver smart insights and, in turn, help sales departments in conclusive decision-making. Here’s how that’s done:
- Pin-pointing the products which are the most popular (sales-wise) in a given time frame
- Making suggestions to promote certain products on certain dates
- Identifying how certain cultural events and festivals impact sales
As it turns out, these sales forecasts have a significant impact on inventory management as it prevents goods from running out of stock or unnecessarily piling up.
5. Streamlines HR operations
When integrated into the Human Resource operations in AI e-commerce startups, AI can do wonders in making it more calculated and accurate. AI can analyze and make diagnoses to improve the hiring process and help candidates get onboarded quicker. It also makes the hiring process more unbiased as there is no human factor involved in certain stages.
Today, AI is well-established to screen a candidate’s skills and behavior and make recommendations to forward the application. Apart from that, AI can help HR managers contribute towards team building and make the onboarding activities exciting, especially when the workers are expected to train and work remotely.
E-commerce startups need to reimagine the way they conduct their business if they want to remain competitive and become profitable. A real AI-driven e-commerce startup will have to find a way to be more inclusive in the way humans and machines interact with each other. Perhaps the simplest and the most elegant applications of AI can be seen in digital assistants, and implementing it in your AI e-commerce platform can go a long way in boosting customer experience and improving your sales. The ideal use of AI is in conjunction with the human factor to make the most of each other’s valuable capabilities.
As a digital shopping assistant, AskSid is poised to disrupt the online retail industry with its proprietary Retail AI Brain, a unique knowledge repository converting raw brand data into tweet-sized Q&As, product tags, intents, and utterances. This powers impactful shopping experiences and drives conversions across chatbots and voice bots, while simultaneously extracting deep customer insights, helping brands uncover new business opportunities.
Looking to deploy a vertical AI-based digital shopping assistant for your retail business?