Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more and more prevalent in modern life. It can help with an array of everyday things, such as setting our thermostats to save energy and coordinating our appointments to keep us organized. AI can also tackle larger-scale tasks such as fighting disinformation and maintaining cybersecurity.
Many industries are beginning to wake up to its powers, and the eCommerce sector is no exception. From improving your customer relationship management to working out how best to price your products, AI could help you revolutionize your online business.
What is AI?
AI involves using algorithms and machine learning to enhance and automate tasks that humans may find time-consuming, complicated, or tedious. Once an algorithm has been programmed to perform a task, it can learn on the job and improve its performance and efficiency.
Over the past few years, AI has become increasingly common in the eCommerce industry. Online retailers like Amazon have used it to enhance many aspects of their operations, from introducing customer-service chatbots to fully automating warehouses. According to one study, 35% of Amazon’s sales now come from its AI-powered recommendation software.
The potential for AI to be used in eCommerce is so promising that another recent study indicated that 85% of online customer interactions could now be taken care of without a single human having to get involved.
It seems likely, then, that in the not-so-distant future, your company’s AI sales could be greater than those of your human sales team. If you’re still not convinced, below are just a few of the ways AI is causing a revolution in the eCommerce industry.
The AI software market is expected to continue increasing dramatically. Image source.
How AI is revolutionizing eCommerce
The efficiency and power of AI algorithms have grown dramatically over the last few years, and this trend is reflected in the growth of the AI software market.
As a result, AI has infiltrated almost every area of the eCommerce industry, from customer service to software development.
Chances are that if you’ve ever bought anything online and had to chase it up, return it, or request a refund, you’ve already encountered AI customer service. These systems are becoming so sophisticated you may not even have realized.
The most common way to combine AI and customer service is the automated chatbot. These are algorithms designed to respond to customer inquiries and help find appropriate solutions. They’re available to customers 24/7 and can provide almost-instant responses to a range of queries, such as “when will my order be delivered?” and “how can I get a refund?”.
Chatbots can help businesses cut costs and automate some of the more repetitive and tedious customer service tasks. That being said, the abilities of many chatbots are still quite limited. Even the most sophisticated algorithms may not be able to deal with the often chaotic and unpredictable nature of a disgruntled customer.
So, can AI help with more difficult customer service encounters? You bet it can! Natural language processing (NLP) is a technique that allows AI to support and augment customer service departments without replacing the human workforce. NLP can transcribe phone calls in real-time and keep an eye out for keywords such as “frustrating”, “cancel”, or “disappointed” to alert managers to complaints that might need their direct attention.
In this way, using AI to supplement your customer service team, rather than replace it entirely, may be the best way forward for your online business. But whatever route you take, you can be sure AI is likely to play a big role in the future.
This graph shows the acceptance of customer service chatbots in each industry. Image source.
In the world of eCommerce, data management is paramount. Unfortunately, it can be a complicated, time-consuming, and error-prone task when performed by humans. Using AI algorithms to manage data collection and analysis can help online businesses run much more efficiently.
Collecting and analyzing data on customer behavior allows eCommerce retailers to gain a better understanding of their customers. Knowing when, where, how, and why they shop helps target them more effectively and increases the likelihood of them buying products from your online store.
Using AI to manage this can help businesses analyze much larger pools of data and avoid errors that might be made by humans. It’s algorithms like these that have allowed eCommerce giants like Amazon to become as successful as they are. For example, Amazon uses AI to track its customers’ behavior and then recommends products based on this, which they often buy.
AI data algorithms can also help target advertising and market more effectively. By tracking which adverts your customers tend to click on and understanding the type of branding they trust, they can create personalized advertising for each individual. This could revolutionize the marketing strategies for SaaS companies, online retailers, and many others in the eCommerce industry.
Predictive AI algorithms like this are only likely to become more prevalent as an increasing number of businesses utilize 5G. Its impressive speed and power will allow data processing to be performed on a much larger scale and enable companies to employ ever more complex algorithms.
As an eCommerce retailer, selling your products at the right price can make all the difference when it comes to outdoing competitors. As the online sphere continues to grow, this is only going to get more intense. It’s therefore vital you sell your products at a competitive price, but with prices constantly in flux, staying on top of this can be difficult.
Luckily, AI repricing systems can help you stay ahead of rivals and ensure you’re consistently competitive. By monitoring the online marketplace, these algorithms will keep tabs on your competitors and adjust your prices automatically.
This can save a lot of time and effort, as well as ensure you’re always maximizing profits. Using an AI repricing algorithm also makes sure you avoid pricing glitches that can be devastating to sales targets.
A pricing glitch occurs when the price of a product is set too low either because of an error in calculation or manual inputting. AI repricing systems ensure these glitches become a thing of the past.
In the eCommerce industry, communicating with your team is vital to keep operations running smoothly. This is particularly true in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic when many traditional communication channels were cut off.
However, with the rise of countless remote communication platforms, apps, and gadgets, internal communications can often become convoluted, glitchy, and frustrating.
Thankfully, this is another area in which AI is revolutionizing the industry, and business communication software can be enhanced through AI algorithms. This software can, for example, transcribe phone calls and video conferences, allowing you to keep a record of important internal communications like meetings and reviews.
AI-assisted internal communications can thus make your team more efficient and help your business move forward in the right direction.
As an online company, ensuring the software you use is working efficiently and smoothly is crucial. After all, the success of your websites, ordering systems, communications, and just about every other aspect of your business relies on having appropriate and dependable software.
Unfortunately, designing and maintaining these websites and systems can be a tedious and time-consuming job. Encouragingly, though, the prevalence of AI software development kits (SDKs) is likely to increase dramatically over the coming years. These automated tools will allow developers to focus on more complex tasks while they take on routine bug fixes and mundane coding reviews.
It’s even possible to get AI to design your whole website, a task that usually requires a lot of time, effort, and planning to achieve. For example, Wix ADI uses AI to create unique websites in a matter of minutes, which often seem to outperform websites made by humans.
AI could even influence the domains companies use for their websites. As the prevalence of artificial intelligence spreads throughout the eCommerce industry, more companies are starting to use AI domains.
If you’re looking for an AI domain definition, “.ai” is the country code for websites based on the Caribbean island of Anguilla. Recently, however, technology and IT companies have started to buy AI domain names for their websites.
As well as signifying to customers you’re in the tech industry, .ai domains can be great for your company’s SEO, offer value for money, and, as this is a relatively new trend, there’s a wide variety of names still available.
The revolution will be automated
The extensive list of uses for AI in the eCommerce industry goes on and on. In addition to those mentioned above, it can also help businesses automate their inventory management, tackle fake reviews, and weed out counterfeit products.
Implementing AI algorithms into your strategies is likely to save you time, cut costs, improve efficiency, and relieve you of countless mundane and tedious tasks. Having said that, some more nuanced jobs, such as customer service and relationship management, may still benefit from a human touch.
To ensure your eCommerce business remains competitive, it’s important to understand how AI is changing things in your industry. Recognizing the potential of AI will allow you to make optimal decisions on how best to integrate it into your operations.
About the Author:
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Jenna has written for such domains as Shift4Shop and FlippingBook. Check out her LinkedIn profile.