In this guest post for Superb Digital, marketing expert Michael Deane looks at seven ways artificial intelligence is changing the face of e-commerce. Fascinating insights, many of which will undoubtedly have an effect on how we conduct e-commerce SEO.
E-commerce is flourishing thanks to technological development. With each new innovation in computer science, web design and digital marketing, e-commerce is expanding its arsenal of tools for converting customers. And the most influential among these tools is artificial intelligence.
There is still an ongoing debate surrounding the definition of AI. But for our purposes here, it’s enough to say that an AI is a software system that can independently solve specific data-based problems. Not only that, but AIs can also solve these problems in a fraction of the time it takes a human.
Since e-commerce is largely driven by data, it should come as no surprise that e-commerce companies have begun harnessing AI to achieve better business results. Big players like Amazon, Google, and Facebook are leading the charge when it comes to AI adoption but small businesses are starting to catch up thanks to the influx of affordable AI solutions on the market.
To bring you up to speed with the latest developments in e-commerce AI, here’s an overview of how AI is currently being used in e-commerce.
1. Voice Search
The invention of AI has made it possible to digitally analyse a person’s speech and determine its meaning with a high degree of accuracy. As a result, we now have a whole range of devices with voice recognition capability.
The most ubiquitous practical application of voice recognition technology is voice search. According to comscore, 50% of all searches will be voice-based by 2020.
As more and more customers begin using voice search to look for products to buy, it will become imperative for businesses to start optimising website content for voice search.
2. Visual Search
Not only are AIs becoming proficient at understanding human speech, but their ability to grasp visual images is also improving. Optical image recognition makes it possible for AI to identify objects within images with a high degree of accuracy.
The commercial potential of this application of AI matches that of voice search. Instead of telling the search engine what they’re looking for, customers can now snap a photo of a product and leave the rest to the AI.
Amazon already offers its customers the option to find products by simply pointing your camera at the item you’re interested in. This kind of convenience is tough to beat in terms of customer experience.
3. Personalised Product Recommendations
Another way to accomplish more sales and give your customer experience a boost is by providing personalised product recommendations. However, finding what each customer likes requires a lot of manpower, so companies have turned to using AI to streamline the process.
Companies such as Amazon, Spotify, and Netflix are leading the charge when it comes to AI-powered product recommendations. Once you sign up for any of these services, you will start getting product recommendations based on your purchase history, wishlist content, likes and dislikes, and other more obscure criteria.
This makes AI essential for running upselling and cross-selling campaigns. By analysing the shopping habits of your repeat customers, AIs can predict which product a customer is most likely to repurchase, and when they are likely to do so.
4. Smarter Customer Service Chatbots
Your success in e-commerce is dependent on the quality of your customer service operation. You have to make customers feel comfortable by answering their questions, recommending products, and guiding them through the conversion process. And you have to do this for every single customer.
Solving this problem manually is something only large enterprises have the economies of scale to afford. But thanks to chatbots, every e-commerce business can now provide a far higher level of customer service.
AI-powered chatbots can accomplish a whole range of customer service tasks. They can customise their output for each individual customer, ensuring everyone gets the same high level of treatment.
5. AI Generated Product Descriptions
AI text generation is yet to produce a compelling work of literature, but its ability to produce convincing product descriptions has improved drastically in the past few years. This has had a major impact on e-commerce as a whole.
Imagine if a company such as Amazon had to write a product description by hand for each of its 600 million products – the cost of doing so would be astronomical. Instead, Amazon employs an AI algorithm that can generate detailed, search engine optimised product descriptions without direct supervision. To do this, Amazon’s AI scours the web for product-related information to find the most up-to-date information.
The more AI text generation develops, the more automated content creation will become as a whole. This will allow e-commerce businesses to focus on selling and solving tedious manual tasks.
6. Fake Review Detection
Reviews influence buying decisions to a great extent. According to a 2018 Brightlocal survey, almost 87% of all shoppers trust online reviews. Unfortunately, this trust is often misplaced due to the existence of fake reviews.
It is easy enough to distinguish a fake review from a real one if you scrutinise it more closely. The issue is the fact that spammers can produce fake reviews alarmingly fast, so e-commerce companies are always a step behind when it comes to fake review detection.
Fortunately, the proliferation of fake reviews has created enough data to train AI neural networks to spot them with a high degree of precision. E-commerce giants such as Amazon employ AI for this exact purpose.
7. Smart Email Automation
Advancements in digital marketing play a major role in shaping e-commerce. For example, email marketing has had a crucial role in reducing abandoned cart rates for online stores. And now that email automation tools have begun to utilise AI, e-commerce stands to benefit once more.
Email marketing software can help you implement more effective promotional campaigns, product recommendations, and content suggestions for each of your customer segments. And based on the effectiveness of these activities, the built-in AI can derive insights for further optimisation.
AI and the Future of e-Commerce
AI has revolutionised the world of technology. Its data-crunching capabilities have made it possible to improve the production process, streamline sales, and take digital marketing to new levels. AI is a valuable ally in the world of e-commerce, but eventually, it will become a necessity of doing business. If you want to prepare your e-commerce business for the future, start using AI today.
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