Industries everywhere are intrigued by the advent of artificial intelligence. While arguably still in its infancy stage, the potential of artificial intelligence is opening a whole universe of possibilities. Will it make for faster, cheaper operations? Will it replace human workers?
As companies experiment with the capabilities of machine learning in their fields, ecommerce sites are already starting to feel some of the ripples of the something big. Below you will find a few ways AI is already affecting the ecommerce industry.
AI, Your New Salesperson
In the case of enterprise ecommerce, AI can track a user’s behavior, past purchases and preferences to anticipate their future buying habits and suggest products they may be interested in. This is pretty common these days as online consumers are familiar with seeing personalized product recommendations on their webpages.
Not only will AI help you know what to sell, but also how to sell it. Some ecommerce analyze visitors’ behavior (both individually and overall) to anticipate the number of products purchased by each visitor during special times of year, like the holidays, and what kind of deals or design elements help drive sales.
Additionally, AI can be used to visualize where these customers are coming from (like social media, search engines or email marketing campaigns) and recommend where resources should be redirected.
AI Asks, “May I Help You?”
Technology research firm Gartner predicts that 85 percent of customer interactions will be managed without a human by the year 2020. This is big news and will rapidly transform many industries that rely on customer service to complete their orders, answer questions or troubleshoot dilemmas. For small and medium ecommerce sites, this could mean a reduction in costs and the need for human staff.
Forget about clunky automated phone systems (‘press 1 for more options’). Artificial intelligence can sort through large catalogs and find products relevant to the customer in real time, even decipher preferred merchandise when the shopper doesn’t exactly know what he or she wants.
To reimagine the AI shopping experience, one only needs to look to see how digital assistants are transforming mobile technologies. Apple’s Siri and Window’s Cortana respond to user commands in a meaningful way to make our lives easier. Similarly, Amazon Alexa (a home-based personal assistant) can allow you to make a voice purchase request from the ecommerce giant.
As this technology becomes more accepted and widespread, it will likely transform ecommerce as a whole.
Of course, tracking and understanding user behavior has another use — keeping customers, and ultimately your business, safe from cyber fraud. The world wide web is unfortunately filled with malicious bots and hackers that can dramatically slow down your load times, drive away customers or steal their most valuable information. Cybercriminals often pilfer personal account information and credit card numbers from unsuspecting users, which allows them to make bogus purchases from your online store.
Security focused AI can help ecommerce website builders to discern legitimate web traffic from bot or hacker behavior. AI can flag multiple failed login attempts, block suspicious IP addresses, detect multiple credit card orders from the same IP address, block brute force attacks or even quarantine malicious web traffic that can crash your operations.
While this functionality is not yet built into ecommerce website builders or software, it is available through some cybersecurity providers and could be a part of every website in the not-so-distant future.
Machine Learning for Tomorrow
In the end, AI is still an evolving technology and its true potential is far from being understood. But as industries and ecommerce website builders explore new ways to market merchandise, assist customers and protect our most valuable information, we can’t help but get excited about the future.