E-commerce and AI: what you need to know

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Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

To contend in today’s globally competitive market organizations must be lean, efficient, and tactical in their approach to business.  Tactics are the means of strategic planning, and artificial intelligence (more accurately “machine learning” or AI) has become one of the hottest tactical tools in business today.

Many business owners are currently looking to AI for its potential to improve customer communications, and it is predicted that by the year 2020, 85 percent of all interactions will originate from machine learning “bots.” If you’re an e-commerce business owner who’s wondering how you can benefit from these advancements, you’re in luck. Here are four compelling reasons why you may want consider using this amazing technology.

Predicting what your customers want

There are numerous ways for AI to be used in e-commerce to the benefit of both businesses and the consumer. Machine learning algorithms can, for example, identify customer habits and their interests based on search histories (both inside and outside of a specific business’s site).

With the proper configuration, this service can analyze shopping behaviors to customize and tailor the online shopping experience to that specific user. Product recommendations, pairings, and promotions can target individuals, improving the customer experience, and in turn, your bottom line.

Supply Chain Management

Similarly, AI systems can learn to manage to whole supply chain – from work-in-process inventories to finished goods – from point of origin to point of consumption. Using AI, predictive analytics will help retailers better understand consumer demands to effectively manage the overall supply chain process, including sourcing, fulfilment, inventory management, delivery and returns.

e-commerce-and-ai“I’m looking for something a little more…”

Machine learning is also great for cataloging products. In the past, businesses would send out dense and cumbersome product catalogs that made it difficult for customers to find what they were looking for. In the near future, customers will be able to upload photographs of an article of clothing that’s similar to what they want to purchase or pair with another. Through AI, a website will be able to analyze the photographs and create a catalog of suggestions based on data from the image for a true machine-learning solution.

Customers can still talk to a “representative”

With advances in “plain language” systems, more and more users will rely on e-commerce over face-to-face sales interactions. Machine learning is getting better at interpreting conversations, and answering with natural-sounding responses.

If the choice is either searching “Blue summer dress,” or “I’m looking for something relaxed and in a warm blue color,” which do you think would make customers’ shopping experience better?

By replicating the in-person shopping experience over the internet, With AI, businesses can shift away from brick and mortar overheads to an e-commerce-centered structure and realize significant savings in the areas of capital expenditures, quality control and human resources.

Bob Milliken is the TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com specializing in helping businesses with their IT needs. Discover how great local IT services can be.604.270.1730.