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How AI is Changing Online Shopping

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Dakota Murphey shares her latest exclusive with us, and explores how artificial intelligence is changing eCommerce. Dakota has more than a decade of experience in business growth, working independently as a business consultant for a number of years.

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has altered many industries and eCommerce is one such sector. The way we shop online is evolving, particularly where search and customer service is concerned, and innovations in deep learning and machine learning, along with the rise in mobile commerce, are changing how the industry operates. Furthermore, the pandemic had a big impact on online shopping trends and the speed at which businesses have had to change how they work has been expedited by this. These are a few of the ways that AI is changing how we shop online and how businesses need to adapt moving forward.

Tailored shopping experiences

Online retailers are already realising the potential that AI offers in terms of creating personalised shopping experiences for customers. Businesses can now combine AI with machine learning to track previous selections and preferences to predict what customers may want to buy in the future, which makes repeat purchases easier for customers and also boosts customer loyalty and an improved customer experience.

Chatbots and digital assistants

Digital assistants can aid the user’s experience of a site, helping customers find what they want quicker and providing information about stock levels, returns and replacements, rather than the customer needing to search the site or contact customer services. As online clothing retailers Bella & Ben explain: “Being able to maintain a 24/7 response system would benefit us in providing continual communication with our customers, not only to provide instant answers to questions but also to record those conversations to deliver a better service for the future”. As more customers demand consistent access to brands and retailers, technology such as chatbots and virtual assistants will become more widespread to accommodate these needs.

Flexible price adjustments

Online clothing retailers need to adjust prices to suit seasonal trends or to meet consumer demand, but artificial intelligence solutions can help with pricing strategies. Enterprises can analyse the efficiency of different pricing models before reaching a decision based on the optimal pricing for products. The impact on long-term revenue makes it a worthwhile investment that can transform online businesses.

Contactless shopping

AI has paved the way for ‘just walk out’ shopping, which supermarkets have increasingly adopted over the past few years, allowing for completely contact-free shopping. Customers can walk into a store and take the items they want, exiting without stopping by the check-out to benefit from a fully automated payment process. This way of shopping utilises computer vision, deep learning and sensors to determine which products have been picked up and charges the customer for those items – a transaction isn’t complete until the customer pays, so they can browse at leisure and pay in a convenient way without needing to checkout in the traditional way.

Streamlined logistics and delivery

Delivering goods can be one of the most complex and challenging parts of running an eCommerce business, but artificial intelligence can be incredibly efficient in enabling companies to send goods and manage inventory based on customer data. From predicting where a customer will want a product delivered to, based on past purchases, to managing stock and ensuring products are ready to go for faster shipping and providing the option for customers to track their orders in almost real-time, companies can integrate AI into the online ordering process for a better customer experience.

Intelligent product search functions

AI in retail can simplify the process of finding a product with intelligent search solutions. Visual search works in a similar way to keyword research but instead of typing a search term, customers can take a picture of the item they want to find and see what comes up in the search. An AI-powered feature, the system recognises the item and matches it with products the user is searching for. This is a convenient way of searching for customers who may not know how to describe an item they’re looking for with words, as the image provides those details to the search engine for more effective matches.

Final thoughts

AI is set to transform a host of industries, particularly retail businesses, replacing intuition and staff input with intelligence and data. Brands should be pragmatic in their approach to the future of retail to understand that the investment in this technology can provide long-term improvements to how they run their business.

 

Lydia Mageean Lydia Mageean has been part of the WhichPLM team for eight years now. She has a creative and media background, and is responsible for maintaining and updating our website content, liaising with advertisers, working on special projects like our PLM Project Pack, or our Annual Publications, and more.Joining mid-2013 as our Online Editor, she has since become WhichPLM’s Editor. In addition to taking on writing and interviewing responsibilities, Lydia has also become the primary point of contact for news, events, features and other aspects of our ever-growing online content library and tools.