Importance of AI in the E-commerce Industry

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Ecommerce is growing by leaps and bounds and much of the business is done without human interaction. You would have often wondered how the products you had searched for in an e-commerce site props up when you open your browser or some page on the internet the next time.

Artificial intelligence or AI is the technology behind this. Within AI, there is a branch called machine learning and it is this that is getting increasingly used. Machine learning means exactly that; the machine keeps observing your moves and keeps a tab. It is then able to analyze and see a pattern. Using this analytical ability, the computer tries to stay ahead of you. Ecommerce businesses can put this technology to great use.

Product Suggestions on Ecommerce Platforms

If you visit an e-commerce site and search for a product, but could not find it, AI will register this and try and throw up suggestions. These will be in the form of products that are close to what you are looking for. This would be normally done by human intervention in the traditional brick and mortar business.

AI helps e-commerce sites do the same thing without any human intervention. Some studies have revealed that a whopping 915% increase has been observed in the conversion rate following product recommendations.

If you are a regular on Amazon, for example, while you are taking a look at a product, there would be suggestions saying “people who bought this product also looked at these”. Now, this is AI at work, pure and simple. The technology is capable of grasping and sifting through Big Data and finding the similarities and throwing up the suggestions. All these are done within seconds or even less.

This is just one example. There are a number of ways AI influences the e-commerce business, end to end.

Use of Chat Bots

Oftentimes, you would be inside an e-commerce marketplace and a chat box will pop up and say “Hi! can I assist you?”. Many of you may think this is some customer care executive engaging you in a conversation. It is actually a chatbot that has been trained to respond to your questions and provide the answers. This is again mostly machine learning.

The bot will be programmed to answer all possible questions that the customers can ask. It is only when they do not have the answers that you will find the same replies being repeated. You can then assume that the chat bot has not been trained to answer that question yet.

The interesting thing here is that the chatbots are trained by human beings. These are computer programmed mini robots and programming is done by humans.

Virtual and Interactive Ecommerce

You might have received promotional messages on how you can order spectacles online. There is now technology available to measure your face and to check on the exact fitment of the spectacles. This concept has been expanded to clothing. If you are not sure if a particular dress you want to buy online would fit you, there’s a way to try it online. You input the sizes the interactive program on the online platform asks you to and upload your picture. The program can show you how the dress will fit you. The experience would be no different from what you would have in a trial room in the offline stores.

All these have been enabled through different AI-based applications.

Integrated Customer Relationship Management

AI has been applied by e-commerce companies to improve the overall user experience on their platforms. Though there is nothing new and as far as the expectations of the customers are concerned, whether offline or online, the latter does pose more challenges.

Customers would want to visit a showroom, select and buy what they need and checkout, pay and leave. These actions are repeated in the e-commerce sites as well, except that the customer does not have any human interaction.

From the moment the product is chosen and sent to the cart until the payment is made and order booked, it needs to be a seamless experience. At the micro-level, remembering your address for delivery, your credit or debit card details for payment are all measures to speed up the process.

A customer does not want to waste time inside the shop once he or she has made the purchase. In a typical offline situation too, customers are annoyed if it takes too much time for billing and payment process to be completed. AI has been effectively deployed by e-commerce companies for these tasks.

AI at the Back-End of Ecommerce

Though a lot of AI applications in e-commerce is customer-focused, the backend also receives tremendous support. AI can help the merchandising department quickly analyze the trends and adjust the inventories accordingly. Slow or non-moving products from among millions listed on the platform can be identified in no time and removed.

The Designers and Developers Make it Happen

The e-commerce industry relies a lot on the specialist website design agencies to build their online platforms. It is these agencies, which have sufficient experience in the field, that come up with the right solutions. They will first try and understand the requirements of their customers and then offer them their expertise.  

The final build of the e-commerce website has to be SEO compliant as well. The algorithms for searching products inside an e-commerce site will not be very different for ecommerce sites as they are for the regular search. These factors are well documented and known to the industry. The industry, therefore, selects the best website design company there is to build an e-commerce platform that can offer the best experience to the buyers.

Summary

Artificial intelligence has become the backbone of an efficient e-commerce business. The growth of e-commerce is largely dependent on customers having a pleasant experience. It is only then they will make multiple visits and make purchases. AI-based applications built into the e-commerce sites enable this through a thorough understanding of the needs of the customers. Machine learning, Big Data and other allied technologies make these happen.

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