March 29, 2017
By now we’ve realized the power of artificial intelligence is here to stay and has applications far more practical than the sci-fi robots we once envisioned a decade ago. While the robot space is indeed growing, so are the behind-the-scenes bots powering everyday life.
By 2020, Gartner predicts 85 percent of customer touch points will be managed without humans, and as soon as 2018, cross-channel bots will be able to recognize the voices and faces of customers.
While smart home devices are still considered a luxury, they are more commonplace than ever before. From Amazon’s AI assistant Alexa, which allows voice control of numerous devices, to LG’s Insta View refrigerator, the opportunities for AI have expanded from robotics to daily life.
One industry using artificial intelligence to continually evolve is e-commerce. Online retailers are leveraging AI to be competitive in a marketplace that is hard to survive in.
For consumers, there are myriad touch points and influences that generate purchases. Online retailers are becoming increasingly sophisticated with their artificial intelligence capabilities in capturing the attention of buyers, and one of those approaches has become known as “conversational commerce.”
“Conversational commerce is the confluence of visual, vocal, written, and predictive capabilities,” says e-commerce AI expert Akash Bhatia, CEO of Infinite Analytics. “When these four pillars are in place, brands begin to unlock new potential for consumer interaction.”
Bhatia stresses that retailers must be quick in adopting technologies that foster conversational commerce, stating that consumers’ needs are evolving more quickly than retailers can keep up with and if brands want to survive, this is one of the top business strategies he recommends.
On-site search functions play a pivotal role in sales. When a search function does not lead the consumer to the product they’re looking for, the sale is almost certainly lost. From infancy, the entire genesis of e-commerce was founded on convenience. When it’s difficult for consumers to find what they’re looking for, conversions suffer.
One way brands are tackling this is combining artificial intelligence with natural language processing (NLP) to create a more humanized digital experience. The blending of AI and NLP means that when someone enters an item, and it is spelled incorrectly or not exactly as the desired item is labeled, the e-commerce site can now infer what the user may be seeking.
When you create a new email account, you have to enter a few options for people to make typos. An account for John Smith, John@JohnSmith.com, may need a few alternatives for a misspelling from the sender, Jon@JonSmith.com for example. This is exactly what AI and NLP do for customers who misspell the item they are searching for. Instead of returning an ‘Item Not Found’ result, it will intuit what the shopper meant to type.
Online to Offline Purchases
According to research by eMarketer, 79 percent of consumers research purchases online before purchasing in person, making the tracking of online to offline conversions the golden tool for every retailer.
AI gives retailers the tools to connect the dots effectively. For example, when a consumer clicks on an ad, that website can send the information to the retailer (or the retailer’s third-party AI vendor) and then begin tracking the consumer’s online browsing activities. Should that patron visit the brick-and-mortar store to make the purchase, the clerk can then enter the buyer’s personal information to solidify the online browsing to offline purchasing transaction effectively.
Ben Rossi, a commentator on business and technology affairs, says, “The confluence of AI and e-commerce could not only transform the millions of online transactions that occur every day, but also in-store purchase behaviors, already influenced by digital interactions at a rate of 36 cents for every dollar spent in the retail store, or approximately $1.1 trillion total.”
“From inspiration to purchase, AI will continue to deliver tangible advantages for both consumers and the brands looking to capture their buying power. Shopping will become an increasingly conversational and seamless experience that benefits both consumer and retailer.”
Read more about ecommerce trends here on Tech.Co
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