E-Commerce and AI: A union of dreams
According to Statistica, ‘retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 2.3 trillion US dollars and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 4.88 trillion US dollars in 2021.’
With the advent of AI, analysts are confident that these numbers can surge higher. This is because AI can help brands better forecast sales, provide bespoke customer support, and track marketing efforts.
In fact, studies show that AI will have the most impact on e-commerce, out of all business sectors.
Many business owners are put off by the idea of working with robots but this is often based on misconceptions that they have about robots.
Here are some reasons why AI has a solid future in e-commerce.
24/7 Customer Service
Running 24/7 human customer support can be a nightmare, cost ineffective and difficult to sustain. When your e-commerce outfit has got customers all over the world, it further complicates issues.
With AI programmed chatbots, customer support can be provided on a round-the-clock basis. What’s more? Unlimited customers can engage your chatbot without any wait time and in less time usually required to get through to human support. The chatbots can also help users in the purchase journey, nudge them towards sales conversion and even remember their preferences from a previous interaction.
It’s also easier to transfer your brand personality and values to the AI chatbot than organising staff orientation.
2. Highly personalised product offers
By looking at customer purchase history and using algorithms, AI can present customers with products relevant to them with high accuracy. This of course increases the likelihood of sales conversion. Amazon and Netflix already operate this way you may have noticed. But I believe we’re only scratching the surface when it comes to this aspect of AI-assisted e-commerce. As companies collect richer big data, this will enable AI to carry out more sophisticated processes.
3. Visual search
Imagine being able to accurately find products by dragging and dropping a related image in a search engine. Google already does something similar but again there is still a lot of potential. A couple of e-commerce brands are adopting image search capabilities on their websites. In a time when users’ attention span is shorter than ever, visual search will create a huge advantage in e-commerce. Brands that adopt this technology can help users much faster through their purchase journey.
4. Crunch down on fake reviews and products
Fake reviews are a big issue in e-commerce. Easy to generate and hard to track, many businesses are benefiting from fake reviews which undermine the value of genuine reviews. This also affects consumer trust, an important factor in the buying decision.
AI-driven algorithms can be programmed to track and flag fake reviews as well as pinpoint counterfeit product sellers. While it can take a while for a company to identify fake vendors, and their modus operandi. However once this is established and the process automated via AI, it is much faster and more efficient. Hong Kong Customs already uses AI in tracking fake goods.
AI for you can start today
The pivotal role of AI in e-commerce is inevitable. Many businesses will only be forced to adopt AI only after their peers have gained solid competitive advantage from deploying AI. But yours can be the business others will have to catch up with. It pays to take a proactive step now.