Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now so integrated into the technology of things we use today, it’s a new definition for the word, “smart.” Smartphones, smart TVs, smart refrigerators, smart thermostats. The list of smart devices and processes grows. But now we’re going to discuss what we care most about: AI for eCommerce. . You may already be using some of these functions, but there are many different ways to apply AI technology to an eCommerce business.
Today, an eCommerce business needs to be faster and smarter. A.I. is making that possible, replacing slower human processes with algorithmic ones that work at lightning speed and, most often, great accuracy. AI is most often deployed to collect, organize, analyze and then apply data to specific use cases for sales, marketing, and customer service.
It can help you before you even get your eCommerce business started, or relaunched. There’s an AI website builder that can produce a full website within minutes, including a database for products and a shopping cart. Platforms like SquareSpace and Shopify offer the same type of easy, “DIY” storefront web builders.
Here are five smart ways you can use AI for an eCommerce business right now.
- Chatbots for customer support
- Personalized search & Product descriptions
- Customer Relationship Management
- Managing Inventory
- Recognizing and Classifying Images
Some of the new chatbots on the market are revealing the benefits of incremental machine learning for AI. Compared to the early years of their use, in 2021 the chatting experience is becoming ever more personalized, branded, and intelligent. The chatbot shown above from BigCommerce is a great example of that refinement.
They make it possible to offer 24/7 customer support to shoppers while collecting valuable data about them, tracking their behavior, and offering suggestions for other products of the same brand. These by now highly-trained chatbots can guide customers through the marketing funnel, keeping customers engaged while adding personality to the company’s brand.This gives a boost to conversion rates. They tailor the online experience for the shopper without having to do any extra work. See this article for a review of the best chatbots available today.
2. Classifying Images
Sometimes a shopper knows what they want but they can’t name or very well describe it. But they can show you an example with an image. With AI image recognition software, you can pair that image with one from your product list if you have it.
Did you know, for example, that you can open up the Amazon mobile app and point the camera on your phone at something and Amazon will identify it, pull it up for you, and add it to your cart? As more shoppers catch on to this type of feature, the more it will be in demand in the future.
Pinterest’s Visually Similar Results feature allows users to select an item from any online photo and then use Pinterest to find similar items for sale. Besides matching products, an AI system can make complementary product recommendations based on tagged product attributes like size, color, shape, fabric, or brand.
The old way of handling Customer Relationship Management was to use a software platform that would organize and house the data, but it all still had to be manually entered and then analyzed by a human being.
But that was before AI arrived on the eCommerce scene. AI can be programmed to consume all the incoming data and use pivot tables to display important information about who is likely to buy from you, what they’re going to buy, and maximize the chances of conversion. Or increase the spending habits of current customers.
AI for eCommerce means a change in marketing strategy, away from aggressive re-marketing and blanket ads. With AI working in the background and revealing all these deeper insights, eCommerce businesses can focus on quality and directing more relevant advertising to the right visitors at the right time. This is both labor-saving for you, and a better experience for the customer when all they see are promotions for things that really intrigue them.
4. Inventory Management
AI’s predictive analytics are a big boon to automated inventory management. The eCommerce business is a highly dynamic one. You can’t rely on what sold yesterday or last month; this month will likely be different. AI technology gives you important insights about demand driving influences and predictive analysis for what future market demands are likely to be. One of the great things about machine learning is that it gets smarter and smarter over time, so you’re always getting even more value the longer you use it. Thanks to advances in AI, e-merchants can now more accurately predict both real-time and future inventory needs.
5. Personalized search & generating extremely complete product descriptions
Site search capability has increased a lot over time, which is great because there is often a disconnect between the query term the customer uses, and what you call that product in your inventory list. Search relevancy is big business, and it’s being vastly improved with the help of AI.
It would take a human about 18 months to complete 10,000 product descriptions. AI content generation tools can do it in a few hours, generating a dynamic description that addresses the interests of each buyer.
To enhance the effectiveness of site search engines, businesses can use AI-powered search engines, also referred to as insight engines. Insight engines apply relevancy machine learning methods to describe, discover, organize and analyze data. With this boost from AI, internal search becomes more personalized and accurate.
Shoppingfeed has developed its own machine learning/AI technology for eCommerce, called the ProductGraph. It uses gathered data to apply attribute tags of every possible description to individual products so they can surface in any search query, no matter how uncommon the terminology used by the searcher.
With all these use cases for AI in eCommerce businesses, a smart e-merchant will want to keep up with smart technology to compete in today’s online marketplaces.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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