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4 Reasons Your E-Commerce Business Needs To Start Using AI

 

We've been hearing for a couple of years now about AI "going mainstream." The term is used to illustrate the point at which AI stops being something only big companies use and becomes ubiquitous among small and medium-sized businesses. We've seen the rate of adoption of AI grow, but so far, it hasn't reached the position where it becomes something businesses can't do without.

That might change this year, however. AI is expected to affect the world of business and our personal lives alike in 2018, in numerous ways. But the new technology, along with machine learning, will have an especially big effect on the world of e-commerce. So much so, in fact, that 2018 might be the year when AI becomes as necessary for e-commerce as is having a payment gateway in an online store. Why? Let's see.

It's All Becoming Just Commerce

We're witnessing two very interesting things happening in commerce. The retailers who were brick-and-mortar first are closing their stores, selling off their physical assets, and moving into e-commerce. On the other hand, established e-commerce brands are starting to open physical locations. Some are saying that this is all because e-commerce is strangling traditional retail.

In reality, however, we are seeing e-commerce and traditional, physical commerce merging into — just commerce. Customers want the best of both worlds, and retailers are in the process of giving them what they want. AI plays into this because it's becoming the dominant underpinning technology of digital retail. If your e-commerce business doesn't start using it soon, it will not be able to compete in a joint commerce space made by the merger of the physical and the digital commerce spaces.

Customer in the Focus of Product Search

One of the things customers find appealing in an online store is the ability to easily find what they're looking for. Physical stores don't have a search option. In some cases, they might not even have enough personnel to help their customers.

The option to easily search an online store for the products they need is becoming one of the focus points of delivering a quality user experience. A customer-oriented search needs to show the searcher what they want as soon as possible. Often, this means actually predicting what customer would like to see. AI-powered custom search can do this. Based on data gathered through numerous interaction, the search option on your website can deliver more relevant results than ever. This makes the customers happy, and it can also boost your sales.

Improved Interactions

The user experience in online shopping is mostly devoid of human contact. A customer can visit an online store, find the products they need, and check out without ever having to talk to someone. While it makes for a quick and efficient path to purchase, this type of experience can miss on valuable opportunities to engage the customer.

Chatbots that use AI, machine learning, and natural language processing can help. There is a whole movement underway towards what is dubbed "conversational commerce." With chatbots, customers can engage online stores on various channels and ask questions, search for recommendations, or buy things. This trend can be increasingly important in the omnichannel world of commerce towards which we're moving.

Improved Marketing Campaign Outcomes Through Better Decision-Marking

Marketing and big data are a match made in heaven. Using big sets of data and analytics tools that are usually based on machine learning, marketers can derive valuable insights that can power their decision-making. Whether it's used in creating customer personas or finding new ways to deliver personalized messages to the customers, big data has found its way into many marketing activities and processes.

Data is only going to get more important, and the type of insights you can get from it is going to get better. Using a special form of AI called artificial neural networks, you will be able to determine which types of marketing activities will perform well, and which won't. The insights will not come overnight because neural networks need to learn from ad performance. But ultimately you will be able to use neural networks' ability to recognize patterns and predict trends. It will get you as close as possible to being able to predict the outcome of your marketing campaigns.

AI plays an important role in several e-commerce trends you need to follow. Most importantly, it's been used to power the latest wave of hyper-personalization. That alone might make it a technology you need to use for your e-commerce business. But as we see the number of applications of AI in e-commerce increase, you'll understand that the most important reason to adopt AI in 2018 is very simple. If you don't adopt AI, you'll fall behind quickly.

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