Artificial Intelligence (AI) Changing Online Retail: What’s Next?
We all know the saying: April showers bring May flowers. Well, as we prepare for the May flowers to blossom, we realize that it rains innovation every month (not just April) in the e-commerce industry. As customer expectations change as quickly as the weather does, retailers must continue to find new ways to adapt and meet the fluctuating desires of customers, and one way they are doing so is by leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
When we say artificial intelligence, we don’t mean robots or the self-driving cars that have continued to grab news headlines. We’re talking about customer-facing “chat bots”, visual product searching via your smartphone, and behind the scenes deep-learning algorithms that help retailers customize touchpoints of the shopper lifecycle, personalize the experience and, in turn, drive sales. Together, these different forms of AI are changing how customers are browsing for and buying items, as well as improving the overall efficiency of e-commerce processes.
Customer-Facing Artificial Intelligence (AI) vs. Deep-Learning
For retailers, AI-driven browsing and shopping features (think chat bots at the ready to take your order) provide convenience for customers, which is great for overall engagement. But retailers recognize that the real potential in increasing sales and customer engagement through AI comes with the advanced deep-learning algorithms that can identify patterns in large sets of customer data.
With the ability to analyze data more efficiently than a human ever could, these algorithms not only provide retailers with rich insights into customer behavior based on past purchase history and demographic information, but they get smarter as the customer and retailer interact over time. This intelligence allows retailers to engage with customers on more personalized levels and helps them identify (and reach out to) the shoppers mostly likely to buy different categories of products. Retailers are enjoying favorable increases in overall sales figures as a result.
“…these different forms of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are changing how customers are browsing for and buying items…”
Ten years ago, using artificial intelligence in retail might’ve sounded like the plot to a sci-fi film. But today, companies are embracing the different innovations that these new technologies are bringing to the table. It’s no longer a question of whether or not AI will impact how we shop. Instead, we’re asking where AI will take the e-commerce industry next.