5 Ways AI will Influence Ecommerce in 2018

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken the world by storm over the last several years. Chances are, you have experienced the changes AI have brought to the ecommerce world. Over time, machine learning is becoming more beneficial to business operations and customer service experiences.

In ecommerce, AI is a popular topic because of its continued growth. It is replacing manual labor and replacing it with automated systems and recommendations that dramatically improves the experience of shoppers.

While artificial intelligence won’t replace all human effort, it is automating many processes and improving effectiveness.

Currently, AI is working to transform the experience of shoppers, especially those who shop online, by delivering experiences that are highly personalized and add value to their lives.

Technology vendors have developed machine learning algorithms that alter product recommendations based on what stage of the marketing funnel a customer is shopping in. Businesses who have embraced AI in their businesses have seen sales improvement.

Here’s a look at five ways artificial intelligence will influence ecommerce in 2018.

1. Visual Search

When people are searching for items they are looking for, they typically type keywords into a search bar. Text-based searching has been the norm for many years. The newest and developing trend is now visual search.

Many e-commerce businesses have begun embracing visual search, technology that uses artificial intelligence to analyze a picture submitted by the shopper to find exactly what the are looking for. Now, if you see something you like in person, take a picture of it. If you see something you like online, take a screenshot of it.

In 2018, expect to see more companies adding visual search options to help people find what they are looking for without having to search. The capabilities of visual search are huge as the AI technology can search for color, size, fabric, shape, and brand.

One of the first e-commerce companies to rule visual search is Neiman Marcus. Using visual search technology, app users can take pictures of any object in the real world and if Neiman Marcus sells a similar item, it will show up in their search results.

2. Increasing Personalization

While personalization is not a new concept, especially in ecommerce, emerging artificial intelligence technologies will increase personalization even more in 2018. Expect to see more tools that will help you hone in on personalization and make it exactly what you want.

The current trend for most retailers is to use collaborative filtering to see best-selling items, most viewed history, evergreen trends, and more. Unfortunately, though, collaborative filters are limited by the small amount of data they are able to gather.

Collaborative filtering will not combine results between different applications or stores. If you run a brick and mortar store, an online store, and a mobile app, collaborative filtering will only generate results from each one separately.
AI is changing the separation between each shopping channel, bringing a seamless experience across all channels. Expect to see more unified customer experiences in 2018.

3. Continued Merging of Offline and Online Worlds

Similar to increasing personalization and visualization searches, Artificial Intelligence is bringing a synonymous experience between the offline and online world. Retailers are looking for ways to redefine how consumers are engaging with their brand and AI is the answer.

In 2018, ecommerce businesses will have the opportunity to embrace retail of the future, creating opportunities to sell more items by reaching customers both online and offline. Artificial Intelligence will use the information gathered on websites to help serve customers who visit in-store, making suggestions and adding visual searches and personalization to offline stores.

4. Personal Shoppers Will Save Time and Money

Most stores, both offline and online, operate with the idea that people love to shop and also have plenty of time to shop. In an increasingly busy world, this mindset isn’t a reality for many people. Ecommerce businesses and brick-and-mortar shops are seeing an increasing trend where people are hurried in their shopping, and need a quick and easy experience.

In 2018, AI will bring an increase to personal shoppers, introducing time saving opportunities to customers. As Artificial Intelligence technologies grow more sophisticated, ecommerce stores will integrate those technologies to offer personal shoppers for online users.

One company that is on the leading edge of this technology is The North Face. The company is using IBM’s AI technology named Watson to help people find the perfect jacket.

5. Your Shopper’s Will Be Interested in AI

Artificial Intelligence is intriguing to people and in 2018, you can expect to see your customers developing increasing interest in how your ecommerce business will use AI to make their shopping experience even better.

You have an opportunity to offer superior customer service for your shoppers if you stay ahead of other ecommerce stores who are also learning about AI. Artificial Intelligence offers you the opportunity to introduce Personalization 3.0, and 2018 is going to bring the opportunity to all sizes of business to embrace the technological advances that transform shopping experiences for your customers.

If you want to reach your customers in a real and actionable way, you will be excited for the opportunities AI will present through 2018. Now you will have options to reach your customers and compete against bigger brands, because AI helps make technological advances available and affordable to everyone.

Final Thoughts

Increases in Artificial Intelligence have only been improving as the years go on, more and more rapidly each year. For ecommerce businesses, the advances in AI are good news, especially as they continue to bring new ways to reach and retain customers.

AI is projected to bring a lot of great changes to the ecommerce world in 2018. For anyone who runs an online store, staying informed and implementing changes as quickly as you are able to will help you stay on the leading edge of the technologies that are changing the business world.

Whether you want to implement live video advertising, personalization, or visual search options, Artificial Intelligence is the tool that will help you make it happen.

Vibhav Gaur is the Chief Business Officer at Ebizon, a Retail & ECommerce technology consulting company with specialized solutions in Ecommerce, Mobile Commerce, Chat(bot) and IOT.

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