In the dynamic world of ecommerce, businesses are constantly seeking innovative ways to stay ahead. One of the most transformative technologies that’s making waves in the industry is Artificial Intelligence (AI).
AI’s influence in ecommerce is far-reaching. From enhancing customer experiences to streamlining operations, AI is becoming an indispensable part of the ecommerce ecosystem. Its ability to analyse vast amounts of data, predict trends, and personalise experiences is what makes it a game-changer in the industry.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore 16 powerful ways AI is being utilised in ecommerce. These strategies not only highlight the potential of AI but also provide insights into how businesses can leverage this technology to drive growth and stay competitive in the ever-evolving ecommerce landscape.
- 1. Crafting Customer-Centric Search Experiences
- 2. Retargeting Potential Customers
- 3. Identifying Exceptional Target Prospects
- 4. Streamlining the Sales Process
- 5. Personalising Across Multiple Devices
- 6. Adding a Personal Touch with Chatbots
- 7. Empowering Store Workers
- 8. Implementing Virtual Assistants
- 9. Integrating with Everyday Household Items
- 10. Improving Customer Recommendations
- 11. Introducing Virtual Personal Shoppers
- 12. Working with Intelligent Agents
- 13. Building an 'Assortment Intelligence' Tool
- 14. Bridging the Gap Between Personalization and Privacy
- 15. Driving Sales Through Wearable Technology
- 16. Enhancing Dialogue Systems
16 Use Cases of AI in Ecommerce
1. Crafting Customer-Centric Search Experiences
Artificial Intelligence is revolutionising the way ecommerce platforms handle search queries. Companies like Clarifai are pioneering this transformation by employing advanced AI techniques such as natural language processing and image recognition.
Clarifai uses AI to enhance visual search capabilities. By automatically tagging, organising, and visually searching content, it allows ecommerce platforms to understand and respond to search queries that involve images.
This is particularly useful in industries where visual appeal is paramount, such as fashion, furniture, and home decor.
2. Retargeting Potential Customers
AI is enabling businesses to make the most of their customer data. By analysing this data, AI can identify patterns and trends in customer behaviour, which can be used to retarget potential customers more effectively.
For instance, AI can identify customers who have shown interest in a particular product but have not made a purchase. By retargeting these customers with personalised ads and offers, businesses can increase their chances of converting these potential customers into actual buyers.
Moreover, AI can also predict future customer behaviour based on past data. This allows businesses to proactively target customers with products and offers that they are likely to be interested in, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of their retargeting efforts.
3. Identifying Exceptional Target Prospects
AI is providing ecommerce businesses with the intelligence they need to solve business challenges such as lead generation. Companies like Mintigo are using AI to generate significant new leads by analysing data from various sources.
For example, Mintigo’s AI solution can identify businesses that have websites featuring images from competitors. By analysing this data, Mintigo can generate a list of high-quality prospects for businesses. This not only provides businesses with a competitive advantage but also allows them to focus their marketing efforts on prospects that are more likely to convert.
4. Streamlining the Sales Process
AI is revolutionising the sales process by integrating with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. This integration allows CRM systems to leverage AI capabilities to answer customer queries, solve their problems, and even identify new opportunities for the sales team.
For instance, AI can analyse customer data stored in the CRM to identify patterns and trends. This can provide valuable insights into customer behaviour, preferences, and needs, which can be used to personalise the sales process.
Moreover, AI can also automate routine tasks such as data entry and appointment scheduling, thereby freeing up the sales team to focus on more strategic tasks.
5. Personalising Across Multiple Devices
AI is taking personalisation to new levels by creating a universal customer view. AI engines like Boomtrain are monitoring all devices and channels to gather data about customer interactions.
This data is then analysed to create a comprehensive profile of each customer, including their preferences, behaviour, and purchase history. This allows ecommerce retailers to deliver a seamless and personalised customer experience across all platforms, whether it’s a mobile app, website, or email campaign.
For instance, if a customer is browsing iPhone cases on a website, they may receive a push notification on their mobile about a flash sale for iPhone cases. This not only enhances the customer experience but also increases the chances of a purchase.
6. Adding a Personal Touch with Chatbots
Chatbots, powered by AI, are becoming an indispensable tool in ecommerce. They are capable of automating various aspects of the customer journey, from order processing to customer service, thereby making the shopping experience more efficient and personalised.
For instance, chatbots can handle routine customer queries, freeing up customer service representatives to handle more complex issues. They can also provide personalised product recommendations based on a customer’s browsing history and preferences.
Moreover, chatbots can automate the order process by guiding customers through the steps required to place an order. They can even provide real-time updates on order status, thereby enhancing the overall customer experience.
7. Empowering Store Workers
AI is proving to be beneficial not only for online platforms but also for physical stores. Lowe’s home improvement store, for example, uses an autonomous robot named LoweBot to assist customers and manage inventory.
LoweBot can navigate the store independently, answer customer queries, and even guide customers to the products they’re looking for. This allows human workers to focus on more complex tasks and engage in more meaningful interactions with customers.
Moreover, LoweBot can also monitor inventory levels and notify staff when a product needs to be restocked. This ensures that the store is always well-stocked and customers can find what they’re looking for.
8. Implementing Virtual Assistants
Virtual assistants like Siri, Google Now, and Alexa are becoming integral parts of the ecommerce experience. They use AI to understand and respond to voice commands, making it easier for customers to discover products, place orders, and track order status.
For instance, a customer can ask Alexa to add a product to their Amazon shopping cart or ask Siri to find the best deals on a particular product. This hands-free shopping experience not only enhances convenience but also makes shopping more accessible for people with disabilities.
9. Integrating with Everyday Household Items
AI is finding its way into our homes through smart appliances. Amazon’s Alexa, for instance, has been integrated into LG’s Smart InstaView refrigerators.
This integration allows customers to use voice commands to control various functions of the refrigerator. For instance, customers can ask Alexa to adjust the temperature, create shopping lists, or even play music through the refrigerator’s built-in speakers.
Moreover, the refrigerator can also suggest recipes based on the ingredients available in the fridge, thereby providing a new level of convenience for customers.
10. Improving Customer Recommendations
AI is helping brands scan through vast amounts of data to predict customer behaviour and offer relevant and helpful recommendations. This is achieved through machine learning algorithms that analyse a customer’s browsing history, purchase history, and other data to identify patterns and trends.
Based on these insights, AI can predict what products a customer might be interested in and provide personalised recommendations. This not only enhances the shopping experience for the customer but also increases the chances of a purchase.
Moreover, AI can also identify when a customer might be ready to make a purchase and send them timely offers and discounts, thereby increasing conversion rates.
11. Introducing Virtual Personal Shoppers
AI is enabling brands to introduce virtual personal shoppers to enhance the online shopping experience. These AI-powered shoppers are capable of understanding a customer’s preferences, style, and budget to provide personalised product recommendations.
For instance, companies like Stitch Fix use AI to curate personalised outfits for their customers. The AI analyses customer data, including their style preferences, size, and feedback on previous outfits, to select clothes that the customer is likely to enjoy. This not only simplifies the shopping process but also makes it more enjoyable and personalised.
12. Working with Intelligent Agents
Intelligent agent negotiation systems are becoming a popular tool in ecommerce. These automated agents use AI to match buyers and sellers, facilitate transactions, and provide institutional infrastructure.
For example, companies like eBay use AI-powered agents to match buyers with sellers based on their preferences and past transactions. These agents can also facilitate transactions by automating the bidding process and ensuring that both parties adhere to the terms of the transaction.
Moreover, these agents can provide institutional infrastructure by enforcing rules and regulations, resolving disputes, and ensuring the security of transactions.
13. Building an ‘Assortment Intelligence’ Tool
AI is helping retailers gain a competitive edge by providing an unprecedented level of visibility into competitors’ product assortments. This allows businesses to quickly adjust their own product-mix and pricing strategies to stay competitive.
For instance, companies like Boomerang Commerce offer AI-powered ‘Assortment Intelligence’ tools that analyse competitors’ product assortments, pricing strategies, and customer reviews. This provides retailers with valuable insights that they can use to optimise their own product assortments and pricing strategies.
14. Bridging the Gap Between Personalization and Privacy
AI is helping ecommerce businesses strike a delicate balance between personalisation and user privacy. While personalisation is key to enhancing the customer experience, it’s equally important to respect and protect user privacy.
AI can help achieve this balance by using anonymised data for personalisation. This means that while the AI can use data to personalise the customer experience, the data is anonymised to ensure that it can’t be traced back to the individual user.
Moreover, AI can also use differential privacy techniques to add noise to the data, thereby ensuring that the privacy of individual users is protected while still allowing for personalisation.
15. Driving Sales Through Wearable Technology
AI is making its way into wearable technology, opening new avenues for sales. By integrating AI into these devices, businesses can offer a more personalised and convenient shopping experience to their customers.
For instance, smartwatches with AI capabilities can provide personalised product recommendations based on the user’s location, activity, and preferences. They can also facilitate purchases by allowing users to place orders directly from their smartwatch.
Moreover, wearable devices can also collect valuable data about the user’s lifestyle and preferences, which can be used to further personalise the shopping experience.
16. Enhancing Dialogue Systems
AI is playing a crucial role in improving the way businesses communicate with their customers. By leveraging AI, businesses can create more efficient and effective dialogue systems, which can significantly enhance customer service and satisfaction.
For instance, AI can be used to create intelligent virtual agents that can understand and respond to customer queries in a natural, conversational manner. These agents can handle a wide range of customer service tasks, from answering frequently asked questions to resolving complex issues.
Moreover, AI can also be used to analyse customer interactions and identify areas for improvement. For example, AI can analyse customer feedback to identify common issues and suggest solutions to improve the customer service process.