The idea of building a machine that can perform operations and concepts rather than just count numbers is in the air for many centuries. First attempt to create a Theory of computation belongs to Ramon Llull, who was a Catalan philosopher and logician. His theory was used and improved by the “Great Rationalist” Gottfried Leibniz who called it “ars combinatoria”, as it mostly known by now.But let’s leave history to the historians. It may be paradoxically but nowadays AI can effectively solve totally unusual problems for the machine. For example, it could develop a personal approach to a client, which is quite difficult to achieve in the eCommerce. In brick-and-mortar shops customers have immediate contact with the consultant who can advise on colors, size or fabric and help to choose the best one, it’s much harder to do so online. So even though e-shopping makes the process faster, it doesn’t necessarily make it more qualitative or pleasant.
Typical retail shopping logic is based on the idea that customers have enough time for shopping and they enjoy the process, but it’s different in eCommerce. In reality, average consumer’s attention span is shorter than ever before. For example, 40% of people would leave the website, if it loads in more than 3 seconds. So you need to make an effort just to keep visitors on your site and even more to make them buy something. Artificial Intelligence has already proved itself as an effective tool in such areas as healthcare and financial sector and now looks like it’s time to shine for AI in eCommerce. Following the JWT’s research, more than an 80% of millennials use the internet to interact with brands or retailers and would be more loyal to brand if it’ll use AI technologies. So with this high level of expectations, we can predict that in the next couple of years the role of AI in online retail will increase significantly.
There are at least 3 ways in which AI can change the eCommerce:
- Personal Shopping Consultant
The thing is that virtual shopping assistants are actually could be even better than real ones. They can’t be in a bad mood or forget anything. AI have much more data and can operate and think quicker. With new technologies, AI shopping bots could easily recognize and use normal human language and behavior. For example, North Face and Taco Bell already tried out AI shopping tools and results were really impressive.
- Visual Search
Literally, everything today can have a camera and internet access, so smart visual search is kind of inevitable phenomenon. AI makes it possible and easy to use.
All of us familiar with the situation when you just saw some great clothing on a TV-star or want that cool T-shirt like the guy at the next table is wearing, but it’s impossible or very embarrassing to ask the brand? As a result, you are spending hours hoping to find something similar in the net. With AI visual search you could just send a picture or just hold up your camera and voila you can buy it. Furthermore, you’ll see all the similar options if you don’t like the price or whatever.
- Conversational Commerce
One of the strengths of the AI is that it can communicate with the user through different channels, like texting, voice or visual recognizing. With the help of machine learning and human behavioral adaptation AI could easily act like the real interlocutor. This affects the communication process in a positive way, as well as wide range of tasks that it could solve fast and accurately.
For example, if AI is connected to CRM, it can show the status of your order and you don’t have to wait on the line after those familiar words “Please wait, I’ll check it”. Or you could chat with your “shopping expert”, let’s say, with Mona, and it gives you all the best prices, choices and provides some awesome looks, based on your own fashion style. AI will remember all your preferences and check whether there is something that you may like in a database consisting of several hundred stores. Moreover, it all happens while you take the elevator down.
Intelligent Future of eCommerce
So if we take into account the fact that there will be more than 2 billion online buyers per year by 2019, it’s become pretty obvious that the role and importance of AI technologies will be higher than ever before. Most advanced brands will implement it by themselves and others, who just want to survive in such a competitive environment will be forced to do so.And even though AI didn’t fully disclose its possibilities yet, it has huge potential. Millions of dollars already invested in developing of these technologies and in the coming years millions will become billions. So, if you have your own e-business or you are planning to start it, you should think about the ways AI can be implemented to boost your business. Being successful means to be one step ahead of others.