AI is quickly taking over the tech industry as the next development after the internet. In this series of articles, we are exploring how impactful AI is on various aspects of tech and with this article, we have reached another juncture. Today, we take a look at the effect of artificial intelligence on e-commerce.
The e-commerce industry is booming and is showing no signs of slowing down. From the uncontested success and greatness of bigwigs like Amazon and Alibaba to more hyperlocal and smaller logistics and product provisioners like Swiggy and e-kart – the e-commerce industry is being tapped into the big time.
So let’s take a look at how the fusion of the two big concepts – AI and e-commerce is shaping up and how it can be implemented in life-altering ways:
Visual Search Aid
Throughout the history of the Internet, our concepts to “search” something have been limited to text-based searching mediums. We type in our intended words, these words are then interpreted, and a corresponding article, description, or image pops up.
It’s always difficult to upload an image and receive information related to that image since it requires an exponentially large amount of data and it is a hard task for search engines to dissect and understand images.
However, e-commerce vendors are quickly learning that the visual-based search is a huge aspect for customers when using their platform. At this point, having the visual search is not an accessory but a critical need. And exactly for this reason, the industry is on the cusp of evolving search based on visuals rather than texts.
The catch is that all of this is done using AI. Thus, a programmer does not have to manually feed the details of every product available into the visual search engine. He or she has to just train the AI on how to learn the details about every new product that is put in.
These AI software, as time progresses, learn about more and more products, their aspects, and how to search for similar products. They become self-evolving. It takes the grunt work out of making a visual search engine.
There are apps such as Slyce and CamFind which let a person click a photograph of a product and search products that are similar to it or get the same product itself. Mainstream websites like e-Bay and Pinterest are also venturing into the visual search.
AI as a CRM and Personalization Tool
A company can always change its course of action based on customer behavior. However, the glitch here is that these practical changes are always lagging behind the changes in a customer’s mindset. It results in a poor interaction between a customer and a company.
AI inculcated in e-commerce CRM strategies can help with this. It can help predict customer behavior and provide companies with actionable data. Thus, strategies can be changed even before the customer knows what’s up.
For example, artificial intelligence can be used by e-commerce digital marketing teams to push ads depending on behavior, search history, and cookies. This is also used to show product suggestions and spread brand awareness. Each customer can have a customized way to be targeted based on behavior. All of this targeting is done using AI. This is already a well-developed concept in the digital marketing industry.
Apps like Google Analytics, Mintigo, and Hootsuite – all provide actionable data to businesses and AI.
The Internet of Products
We are surrounded by tech connected to the internet 24/7. Be it our phones, laptops, or smart speakers. This is called the internet of things. The internet of things is constantly evolving and before we know it, it will penetrate every home appliance, vehicle, or gadget we use, from fridges to cars.
AI will be incorporated into these things. They will make the product suited exactly to your needs. But, how does this help e-commerce or businesses? Let’s take an example –
Samsung has recently come out with a fridge called Samsung’s Family Hub. This fridge is connected to the internet and comes with AI, which changes the fridge’s settings automatically by detecting what’s stocked in it. By seeing what is stocked, the AI can also direct grocery-based, e-commerce websites to push more relevant products to you, or trigger articles with recipes that include ingredients in your fridge.
Inventory Update and Management
It’s always a struggle to manually maintain inventories, order products, and stay up-to-date with the market demand. More so, it is harder to stock up by predicting future needs. If done on human instincts, it may be a hit or a miss.
When artificial intelligence is inculcated, inventory management becomes much more efficient. AI can live track not only the availability of current products but also predict future needs, which may not be currently present in the inventory management. This will fast-track the process of logistics.
For example, if current data sets indicate that there will be a trend in wireless tech soon, the company can strategize their inventory. If the sales for earphones are higher than keyboards, they will set up stock for more wireless earphones and less of keyboards, but keep the wireless inventory in check nevertheless. It changes strategies from being retrospective to predictive.
AI will boost the e-commerce industry in ways we are yet to foresee. It is ever-evolving and ever-changing. For now, it presents itself as a win-win situation. E-commerce provisioners get to boost sales and cut unresponsive marketing. Customers receive exactly what they want. It takes the aspect of trial and error and throws it out of the window.
The AI movement as much as it is revered, it is also criticised for being invasive, breaching privacy, and possibly safety for the sake of capitalist tendencies. However, this is an aspect to be critiqued and analyzed depending on whether companies do or do not follow responsible courses of actions.