5 ways artificial intelligence is shaping the future of eCommerce

Dec 14, 2016

According to Antoine Blondeau, CEO of Sentient Technologies, by the early 20s, AI will be taking a larger role in making decisions, pre-emptive solutions, and insight delivery. Society will be more efficient. AI will help deliver things more quickly and more cheaply, as well switching customers onto products they hadn’t considered.

Speed and ease are of the essence. Research suggests that users currently leave websites that fail to load in 3 seconds. Almost three-quarters of online shopping carts are abandoned. There is a lot of competition for all those limited attention spans.

Here are 5 ways that AI will make things quicker and easier, shaping the future of e-commerce.

Visual Search

You’ll be able to upload an image to find similar or complementary products. This will work particularly well via mobile. Think of it as Color911’s Color App but for any product, matching shape, size, fabrics, and brands.

It takes shopping out of the mall and off of e-commerce websites. You could be working out in the gym when you see a pair of sneakers that you like. Take a snap on your mobile device and you can be on your way to finding the same, similar, or complementary items.

Akash Bhatia (Infinite Analytics’ cofounder and CEO) says that AI-driven platforms are going to be essential to e-commerce success.

The Merging of Online and Offline Worlds

Advances in AI will mean that when you enter a bricks and mortar store, the information gleaned from your activities and comments on the website will be used to improve your offline experience and make appropriate suggestions.

Personalization of the Customer Experience

We’re already seeing advances in personalization to create great user experiences. Think Amazon, which aims to provide the best customer service in the world. They, and sites like theirs, use most viewed items, best sellers, and other trends to serve their clients better. AI will take this to the next level, however, by gathering data not only from websites but also from bricks and mortar stores and apps.

A lot of data is required to create proper personalization. AI, with its deep learning algorithms, will continually learn new signals and use them to provide a seamless experience with truly personalized products.

The Rise of the Virtual Personal Shopper

In an increasingly busy world, many shoppers will have dreamed of having a personal shopper to take care of their needs. Guess what? With AI, this is becoming more practical than ever.

North Face is one of a growing number of businesses sites that are integrating AI technologies that shop on behalf of their customers. During these interactive shopping experiences, websites will deliver product recommendations based on cognitive data and natural conversation derived from AI.

Personalized AI

Not only will customers’ experiences be personalized, but different AI bots will also have their own unique personalization.

Chat bots are not intended to be flat responders to human interactions. As they become more sophisticated, they will have personalities that reflect the brands they represent.

These intelligent shopping assistants are going to be able to analyze and interpret data faster than a human can. Yet, they’ll be able to communicate with you in a natural sounding way. Increasingly, they are going become an important part of a brand’s image. They will provide entertainment, as well as fostering engagement.

Worried that AI is an invasion of privacy? According to J. Walter Thompson, almost three-quarters of millennials in the US are in favor of brands and retailers using AI to suggest more interesting products. A similar number believe that the technology will be able to predict their desires.

Given time, AI may understand this better than anyone.

Eric Wing

Eric Wing is the President of MetroCreate Studios. MetroCreate is a digital marketing and consulting agency located in Cambridge, MA. He is an active member of the American Marketing Association.