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Artificial Intelligence Checklist for eCommerce Companies: What you need to know about AI to stay ahead of your competition

Everyone has watched Hollywood Sci Fi movies in the past and can relate to the smart and intelligent creatures or characters shown. They seem to be fairly distant in the future but in fact a lot of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning has already become a mainstream reality.  Since the advent of Big data technologies and ability to process them in real time deriving Intelligence from past data and predicting the future has become easy and need of time.  AI is gradually touching all aspects of our lives. From credit card fraud detection to security checks at the airport and diseases diagnosis and prognosis in Healthcare, AI is everywhere.

By 2020, it is predicted that  85 percent of customer interactions will be handled by AI technology bots and robots. AI allows faster responses to phone calls, emails, social comments and chats. by an automated system taught to replicate human functions. Since human resource is expensive, It makes sense to focus human talent on other areas. AI may be changing the way businesses serve their customers, but how is it changing the face e-commerce companies? It is need of time that eCommerce companies leverage the benefits of AI in a ever growing and competitive marketplace. Companies who do not have a AI strategy yet will soon face extinction at the hands of giants like Amazon who are using AI very effectively.

 

Firstly, What is AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI, also machine intelligence, MI) is Intelligence displayed by machines, in contrast with the natural intelligence (NI) displayed by humans and other animals. In computer science AI research is defined as the study of “intelligent agents”: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.  In simple words, AI  is a way of making a computer, a computer-controlled robot, or a software think intelligently, in the similar manner the intelligent humans think. This includes technologies such as Chatbots, Natural Language Processing  with text and voice, Machine Learning to identify patterns.

How AI will impact eCommerce shopping experience?

A typical eCommerce customer goes though the following steps:

  • Discovery
  • Purchasing
    • Credit card processing
    • 1-click ordering
    • Wide inventory selections
  • Delivery
    • Delivery at Christmas time (demand spikes)
    • 2 day shipping in anywhere within continental U.S. at low price
    • Returns (think Zappo’s)

The Discovery phase is where AI is already making a dent using Personal Assistants such as Amazon Alexa and  Google Personal Assistant. How to better understand and trust my friend’s recommendations without making it time consuming / burdensome for them to recommend a product would also be a good use case.

What are the business functions where AI could help eCommerce companies?

  1. Customer Support: AI can give instant replies and solutions to customer queries ! This will increase customer happiness by 30% as per the industry reports and
  2. Customer Engagement: AI can reduce cart abandonment percentage easily by providing various recommendations and triggering relevant product emails to the customers.
  3. Sales Forecasting: It is imperative that E-commerce companies have systems that can predict your sales this month or week by analysing historical data and recent purchases. And also it should suggest you what types of products are moving faster and if you have multiple sales channels, it can advise the retailer to publish the right product in the right platform. This will increase the sales.
  4. Order Delivery: As we all know , now customers are expecting the orders to be delivered as soon as possible and last mile delivery issues hurts customer satisfaction ratio badly. What AI can do here is , it can suggest you better shipping service to ship based on that carrier performance, destination’s weather conditions and other factors which can influence deliveries.

How AI will impact the shopping experience?

We as humans go through the following steps as part of our shopping needs:

  • Identify need / want
  • Explore options to fulfill need / want
  • (Optional) Vet decision with:
    • Friends
    • Research
    • Store Associate
  • Make purchasing decision

AI can dramatically impact all 4 of these components, but in the context of the systems I outlined previously — may be most impactful in (1) during the near future.

 

In your eCommerce business you might have already taken some initiatives to harness the power of AI.

We present you a AI essentials checklist which goes over things you must do.

 

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