AI is reshaping the boundaries of e-commerce with giant strides across the board
The whole digital ecosystem is slowly gravitating towards Artificial Intelligence and its subsets. If you have sought answers to queries on a chat option with major banks, chances are that the first level of interactions would have been handled by chatbots. Surprised? Well, you should not be surprised. AI has deeply impacted operations, especially where voluminous transactions are involved and e-commerce is a natural candidate for implementing game-changing solutions.
This is where the similarities end. AI in e-commerce moves to the next level, bringing in speed and highly intuitive interactions. Here is a look at how Artificial Intelligence has changed e-commerce and how it will continue in the future.
1. Lending a technological angle to an impulsive purchase
Ever since marketers began using Paco Underhill’s well-researched tips in his best selling book ‘Why We Buy”, the concept of impulsive purchase has gained considerable ground. Driving this further, we now have e-commerce sites that give you suggestions on what you could look at, as a combo purchase, after you have chosen a product or products.
There are suggestions, alternative options, and many other interesting deals that will keep the user glued to the screen, and the chances are that an undecided customer will be able to make a decision on the basis of the different options available. Impulsive purchases need the right persuasion, in some form and it needs to make its presence felt at just the right moment, and Artificial Intelligence has helped marketers to bring suggestions at the right time.
2. Unearthing fake reviews
Competition brings out not only the best, but also the worst. e-commerce grapples with fake reviews that work in all directions. A motivated set of reviews can be used by a retailer to get higher ratings; similarly, retailers are also known to arrange for negative reviews to be posted about competitors. Artificial Intelligence can easily through reviews to understand patterns, and this will help to blacklist retailers who try to game the system through motivated reviews. Undertaking this exercise where millions of transactions take place is practically not possible manually. In fact, the right word here is unthinkable. It is just not possible to even imagine conducting a manual search to identify motivated reviewers, including from reviewers who slip into the category of verified purchasers.
3. Cart abandonment – getting the carts back in the thick of the action
A large number of customers often abandon carts at some stage of the transactions, owing to one of many reasons. With the possible exception of a few scenarios, customers can be gently nudged into coming back for the purchase with the combination of Artificial Intelligence powered impulses shot off at the right time. Depending on various metrics for analysis, e-commerce companies dangle the offer of deals, send emails and other on-screen advertisements to keep the customer’s interest in the product alive.
This has become highly effective, with e-commerce companies relying on Artificial Intelligence to understand the intent of a shopper better. The time spent on filling the cart, the stage at which the cart was abandoned, the choice of products, search patterns and many other inputs are processed to give a better option to marketers to make enticing offers that are designed to get the cart back in action.
4. Chatbots – chatting up customers with follow-up action
Chatbots in e-commerce have one direction – endless improvements. While the first wave of the bots handled basic level interactions, that is changing steadily, as can be seen in offerings of reputed e-commerce website development service providers. The future will witness chatbots handling most of the inbound and outbound chat messages that are used by e-commerce to connect with customers. Outbound notifications are the best candidate for AI, as technologies that are overarching and linked to all aspects of the operations will be better placed to get event-based notifications dispatched to clients.
For instance, the moment a shipment leaves the facility, or when it crosses certain predefined transit points, notifications can be triggered which helps to keep customers informed of the expected time and date of delivery. Barring the last mile of delivery which is still handled in a dynamic/flexible manner, all other shipment details are best handled by automated solutions.
5. Taking inventory to the next level
While there has been a lot of talk about the need for maintaining inventories at just the right level, there has also been the impressive use of robotics to handle the first stage in the supply chain. Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Robotics will be natural cohabiting technologies that can offer superior results. For instance, stock levels are maintained at differing levels, based on demand, consumption and periodic surge in demands. However, the room for error or delay is high, and this is where AI can leave the biggest impact. For instance, Artificial Intelligence can use data from various touchpoints – retailers, festivities, buying preferences, competitor sales figures, returns, reviews, new product launches and many other inputs to help e-commerce operations in maintaining optimal levels of inventories. These methods are impossible to achieve manually, considering the inputs necessary for the calculations.
One of the powerful features of Artificial Intelligence is the ability to offer personalisation on a level and scale that is not possible to be achieved manually. For instance, AI can quickly leverage inputs collated from multiple sources to offer a highly personalised choice to a user. For instance, a user who prefers a particular colour when choosing T-Shirts can be prompted with ads of T-Shirts of the same colour, when a new product is made available, in the same price range, of designs that belong to the same category.
Technology is the biggest differentiator in a world where multiple options and heavy competition make it necessary for businesses to outdo the others and offer a better user experience to shoppers by relying on technologically advanced e-commerce website development services. With an endless choice of the same products available, shoppers will never be in a position to check out everything. This is where personalisation makes it easy for a retailer or an e-commerce website to make the right pitch and offer products that are aligned with the user’s needs. And there is no better technology than Artificial Intelligence to make this difference.
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