Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a computer program or a machine to think and learn.Source: simple.wikipedia.org
The AI term is closely connected to Machine Learning or ML and Big Data. AI-based systems are scouting big data and use the ML techniques for the sake of many industries: healthcare, finance, and even military area. AI automates services and replaces manual toile helping avoid human errors. For eCommerce, AI application is clear and evident: chatbots, virtual assistants help with personalization on a website; voice searches and visual recognition systems create a better user experience for an online buyer, content-writing systems help with SEO to rank higher at search and boost conversion. These and other AI-type systems have already been used for some time. In this post, we examine some world-known best cases of AI eCommerce applications, advantages, and disadvantages of AI, and what’s the use of AI for an average online retailer.
Chatbots and Virtual Assistants
A chatbot is a computer program simulating the user-to-shop dialogue on a website. A chatbot concierge can be applied by a hotel to accompany guests and help them better orient on site. These AI tools go ahead with customer service and are naturally matching with social platforms’ messaging systems such as Facebook chat and many others. Chatbots provide online support, confirm orders, collect leads to your selling platform. When integrated with a shopping cart, chatbots can consult potential customers about shipping terms, product details, and in-stock availability accurately and quickly.
Contact forms, phone calls, and emails may be used to substitute chatbots but they get outplayed to online chats that remain the fastest FAQ means.
The benefits of virtual assistants are explained by natural language processing as the machine interprets what people are saying and converts the speech into written text. For eCommerce retailers, such an assistant is a valuable asset. Take the Amazon case. Its Alexa has been successfully embedded into the Amazon platform and its vendors’ products. Virtual assistants are available on StubHub and help with finding local concerts, on Uber where they facilitate local rides, on Domino’s – to allow pre-ordering and tracking your dinner status online. Virtual assistants add more value to the way on how customers purchase in an online store.
Voice search aka voice-enabled search where the search is carried out using speech allows using a voice command to search on the web. The most popular applications such as Google Voice Search, Cortana, Siri, and Amazon Echo have already proven their efficiency for boosting traffic to a website.
This technique applies speech recognition (ASR) for input and can also include text-to-speech (TTS) for output. The search system detects the language spoken by the user, then detect the keywords and context of the sentence which makes it a perfect tool for SEO, search and marketing strategy leveraging.
The voice search agents are in massive use by Starbucks with their ‘My Starbucks Barista’, which automatically places orders using voice command.
The embedded algorithm takes the user account information, customer preferences, purchase history, and context and adds personalization while messaging and giving recommendations to the coffee lovers.
The power of visual and facial recognition is truly outstanding. Obtaining the uploaded imagery cues, the software can effectively assist the user in finding the item they search for. If an online buyer likes a photo of a friend wearing some perfect sports outfit, there is no need to know the brand. He or she can easily find a similar garment on a marketplace by picture. The North Face, a large eCommerce retailer, is a great example of a brand that successfully applied AI VR technology. – IBM Watson. It enables the customers to discover their perfect jacket. IBM’s tool scans hundreds of products to find ideal matches using customer inputs online.
Publishers such as the Washington Post and the Associated Press are using AI technology to prepare sports and stock exchanges newsfeeds. The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Guardian, Forbes and several others use robotic systems to write forecasts, financial summary, sports highlights, the traffic situation or crime reports. Robots also analyze data arrays well, find outbursts of interest or non-obvious correlations. With the help of the Cyborg program, the Bloomberg newspaper publishes articles based on financial reports. The program is able to very quickly parse big data and immediately output news with the most important facts and figures from it.
Forbes uses the Bertie neural network to help reporters prepare news content templates. Heliograf, which is used by The Washington Post, generated about 850 articles for the editors in 2017 winning in 2018 the Global BIGGIES Awards for excellence in bots’ usage.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Can algorithms replace people? Yes – where you need to process large data arrays, where there are some algorithms and a lot of routines. No – where new meaning is generated and context is important, the emphasis is placed and human value is created. Perhaps in the future, super-trained neural networks based on quantum computers will possess human qualities, including ethics, empathy, and irony. But for now, the conditional “AI” has more “artificial” than “intelligence”.
Stil AI-driven solutions are on the pilot phase and need to be financed and tested by the world giants until they can go to a wide pool of e-tailers, you still have a chance to use the proven methods to automate your online store functionality.
Read a post about automation tools.