5 Brilliant Benefits of AI on the Ecommerce Industry

by Jenna Bunnell August 30th, 2022

AI, or artificial intelligence, is on the rise in tons of sectors. If the first thing that comes to mind for you when someone mentions AI is the 2004 movie with Will Smith called “I, Robot”, we wouldn’t blame you. Just this summer, Google sacked a senior employee after he claimed his AI chatbot had gained sentience. 

That being said, we’re not about to make the case that AI tools are going to become sentient and take over the world. Instead, we’re going to delve into some of the ways that artificial intelligence benefits the e-commerce industry. But first off, what is AI? 

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence is the development of computer systems that are able to carry out tasks that would normally require human intelligence. This includes sensory data analysis such as visual perception, recognizing speech, making decisions, and translating between different languages. 

So, AI is able to recognize voices and words and respond appropriately. It is able to make decisions based on a series of possible options. AI can scan faces and recognize whether you are the same person whose picture sits in your passport. AI can also translate from one language to another, not just literally like a smart dictionary, but taking into account context, grammar, and syntax. 

If that gives you chills, it’s perhaps because we’re entering the uncanny valley of descriptions - AI sounds almost human. The truth is more that AI uses massive amounts of data and organizes it in such a way as to function like a human being, but on a huge scale. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Her”, then you have an idea of what this means (except in that movie Scarlett Johansson’s character does actually gain sentience along with godly omnipresence). 

So why does this benefit eCommerce? 

The ways that AI can and does benefit eCommerce are endless, but we’ll cover some of the key ways in this article - otherwise we could be here all week. 

Voice commands

“Hey Alexis! Hey Sara! Saoirse! Hey Psoriasis! Hey… robot lady! Get me cold one for the old one, will ya?... Whadaya mean you don’t ‘compute’? Technology!” 

When it comes to cranky uncles, voice commands and IVR applications offer no shortage of amusement. And that’s just one of the glorious benefits of this handy feature. Another is the ability for your customers to buy whatever their heart desires with just the utterance of a few words. 

This makes it extremely easy for people to shop online, boosting your sales as an ecommerce business. With fewer pain points, like needing to go onto a computer and wade through several steps before buying something, during which some buyers might change their minds and turn back, voice commands directly lead to purchases. 

While this massively increases the risk that ten kilograms of mackerel and a straw hat will show up at your customer’s front door the night after a big party, it is good for your ecommerce store. 

Image sourced from Accelerate Agency, statistic sourced from serpwatch.io

Image sourced from Accelerate Agency, statistic sourced from serpwatch.io

Voice recognition allows people to not only make (sometimes absurd) purchases but also to search for information with ease without moving a finger with the help of virtual assistants. It’s so commonplace to use voice commands that 3.1 billion voice searches are conducted every month! 

This bodes very well for the eCommerce industry, since the easier it is for a person to order online, the better it is for your online shop. It’s also much easier for people to find your business just by saying “find competitors to DocuSign… please”.

Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants also come in the form of chatbots and auto attendant phone systems, which are great if a customer wants an answer to a pressing pizza-related question at 3 in the morning. Virtual assistants, not being human, are available 24/7. And plenty of people expect companies to be available all the time, night and day. 

This is a useful way to keep your customers engaged with your company over a competitor’s as people tend to want quick answers to their questions, and a poorly designed website or lack of information can send customers into the arms of your arch-nemesis. For shame! By integrating AI with your cloud contact center technology, you can really up your customer service game.

As well as working for customer support, offering information on opening times, product descriptions, getting documents signed faster via a digital signing software and anything else a customer could hope to find out, virtual assistants can also be used directly for sales and also for e-commerce marketing

A chatbot can promote and sell products and services, generate leads, increase sales, shorten response times, and upsell or offer discounts - all of which takes a big weight off the marketing team for your ecommerce store. 

In an emergency, chatbots can offer useful information that can’t wait until the morning, and with increasingly improving machine learning, chatbots are becoming better and better at understanding nuance and responding with better accuracy to questions, and making sales. 

Personalization 

People walking

If there’s one thing artificial intelligence can do really well, it’s learning. And what do we want AI to learn? All about our customers. Their likes and dislikes, what motivates them, how they like their coffee (maybe), and what their opinions are on quads as a legitimate form of transportation. 

AI is great for figuring out what people like based on what they click on, when, and at what point they give up the search and stop short of buying anything - in other words, their pain points

AI is also really good at showing people content that they’re actually interested in, rather than just the same generic thing that their neighbor might be getting shown. Unless everyone in one street is particularly fond of fishing, endless adverts for fishing tackle might be a bit of a hit and a miss for the most part. 

AI can figure out your approximate age, gender, interests, and values on the basis of what you look at online and then, like a thoughtful friend, show you ads for things based on that information. 

Ecommerce data analytics have become so powerful that they offer real-time results and a more dynamic experience for the user, which is great for eCommerce companies because their ads become that much more relevant and targeted. 

Automation 

Automation

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take your most boring and repetitive tasks, like assortment planning, and get someone else to do them for you? Or better yet, never have to go to work and just send a robot that looks like you? Well, you sort of can. 

Artificial intelligence can take all sorts of tasks for you, from ordering inventory on your website from most relevant to least relevant, to offering discounts to specific customers on the basis of predefined criteria, to autocompleting search items as customers type. 

AI can automate your inventory control procedures and processes as well as your marketing. This is a huge time-saver for eCommerce stores as low-skilled work which normally requires a significant amount of time is done automatically, freeing up your workers for more meaningful and advanced tasks. 

The time you save on these tasks can be reflected in a higher profit margin, lower item costs for the consumer which gives your company a competitive advantage, or both. The extra capital gained from automating your processes could even be put towards rendering your processes more environmentally friendly which again gives you another competitive streak with so many people interested in making environmentally-friendly purchases. 

Customer Relationship Management Integration

Integrating artificial intelligence with your CRM tool can go a long way towards making your CRM tool smarter and more attuned to your customers’ needs. This in turn increases customer satisfaction which then increases sales conversion rates. It’s a lot of wins. 

AI can also help dynamically update contacts in real-time and avoid duplications, organize documents better in a centralized format, and with smart categorizations, forecast sales more effectively by analyzing trends and past sales with more accuracy, and track the process of converting leads into potential customers. 

Basically, AI is the little calculator working tirelessly behind the scenes to make data more reliable, files more logical and easily accessible, and to better predict the future. 

Artificial intelligence makes the world go round

Well, actually that would have more to do with the positioning of the Earth in relation to the sun and physics and whatnot, but… artificial intelligence has become pretty significant in the world today - including, more specifically, in the world of e-commerce. AI is not the jack of all trades - it is the Ace of all trades. Or at the very least, it’s getting there. 

AI speeds up otherwise arduous processes, analyses a huge breadth and depth of data in real-time, offers more accurate insights into human behavior than human observation alone and improves predictions about the future to boot. All of these things directly positively impact your ecommerce store, leading to greater sales, better customer retention rates, and better customer experience. 

ecommerce

 

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