There is a question, right now, pesting the mind of all E-Commerce leaders: How will the Artificial Intelligence change the E-commerce experience?
AI has become a buzzword - and for the most part, it doesn't mean the killer robots some science fiction writers talk. E-commerce is an area which is ripe for transformation as AI continues to develop. As retail stores move online more and more, quality e-commerce solutions become more and more valuable, and a recent study indicates that artificial intelligence is likely to control 80 to 85 percent of online customer interactions by 2020.
So, what is happening to start bringing this?
#1. Data analysis
AI is essential for dealing with a large amount of data - which means that large stores such as Amazon are using it to analyze customer data, perform research, and improve the user experience. Smaller companies can often benefit from this research.
They are becoming common. Using chatbots for fundamental interactions and simple questions frees up human personnel to handle the more complicated matters.
#3. Recommendation Engines
AI algorithms can now analyze a customer's buying habits and make recommendations for them which can be as good as those made by a human. They may fall foul of lack of context - Amazon's AI has been known to recommend a small vendor purchase their product because of interactions checking reviews and sales rank.
Despite that, Amazon estimates that AI recommendations drive 35 percent of their total sales - these recommendations appear highly personalized and can provide the illusion that the company is paying attention.
#4. AI Assistants
Sales of home assistants such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and now Apple's HomePod are growing. These home assistants can talk to other AIs over the internet - some will even order groceries for delivery based off of what is in their owner's fridge. Smart home technology will bring even more AI integration over time.
More things are, though, coming. As of right now, the most apparent use of AI in e-commerce to the customer is probably the recommendation engines. There is, though, some quite exciting research happening as I write:
Image search has long been a clunky add-on and reverses image search - uploading an image and using it as a search term is still used only by a minority. Visual search, though, is starting to show up on e-commerce sites. eBay will already let you upload a photo and then find the pictured product - quite useful if you're looking for "the same thing but not worn out/broken."
#Personal Buying Assistants
Combine the recommendation engine and your home assistant - and one day your AI may buy your flying tickets for you. You tell them the dates and times you need, and they will watch for a low fare and make the purchase. And this could go for anything, even things priced less arbitrarily than airfares.
In the future, your home assistant might ask you, in natural language, "Do you still want that black shirt? It's fifty percent off" and you will be able to say yes or now. (Needless to say, security will be necessary - there have already been stories of parrots using home assistants to order things in their owners' name).
Right now, chatbots are still a little stilted - and they tend to be best at answering FAQ type questions. The chatbot of the future, though, will be able to access the tracking number on your order seamlessly and tell you where it is, says to you which bulbs go with your new light, and do many other things which currently require a human. The chatbot will still be able to kick you upstairs to a human if you stump it - but this will be more like somebody calling their supervisor.
#AI Voice Shopping
In a combination of Chatbots, home assistants activated by voices and a considerable dataset of AI algorithms in a few years can and will transform the online shopping experience in a pleasant conversation with your home assistant, passively listening to your requests and actively helping you to improve your choices and decisions.
AI is already starting to change our lives. That will mainly include e-commerce and influence the results - companies like VTEX are already using AI solutions to improve and personalize the shopping experience and how it relates with its retailers customers, and this trend will only continue to grow and be more present in our lives.