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How Ecommerce Development and Artificial Intelligence Go Hand-in-Hand

By: Nigel Ewart|LinkedIn Profile

Robot’s hand types on keyboard

Artificial intelligence is everywhere. It is changing the world of eCommerce faster than you can say, ‘the robots are taking over’!

It is alive and among us: Voice recognition is common. Driverless cars already exist and Japan has robotic hotel receptionists.

Thanks to high-speed internet, secure cloud storage and low-cost devices, the age of AI is upon us.

Randy Dean, Head of Corporate and Strategic Development at Sentient Technologies, predicts “Everything invented in the past 150 years will be reinvented using AI within the next 15 years”

Let’s take a look at the impact that AI is already having on eCommerce development across the globe. Read on for the good news.

Why eCommerce?

The reason AI has had such a massive impact on eCommerce development is that the two are a match made in heaven.

Your customer is already interacting with you via an electronic device, be it computer or mobile. They quite literally have the power of technology at their fingertips.

Ecommerce is the perfect place to put AI tactics in place to improve the customer’s online shopping experience.

Visual Search

Ecommerce development has put paid to the days when spelling errors in the text search box, were a developer’s biggest problem.

Visual search is already here and in use by innovative eCommerce sites. Now clients are able to upload an image of a something they want and AI-powered sites will search for a similar item on their behalf.

Neiman Marcus makes use of this exact technology to dominate in this field.  If a customer likes a garment they see in the real world, but doesn’t know the brand, all they need to do is take a photograph of it. Where else are they going to find something similar if they don’t use Neiman Marcus’ visual search function?

Voice Search

Thanks to Siri and her kin, voice search is pretty advanced already. Ecommerce development has embraced this to re-optimize websites so that customers can easily ask for what they want.

In this regard, AI capability has made online shopping a more personal experience by allowing customers to talk to their machines.

If Amazon is on to it, you should be too!

Ecommerce development = Personalization

Companies like Boomtrain are already using AI to develop retail personalization platforms. These eCommerce sites are able to guess a client’s preferences and needs, before they even open their mouths.  This is reminiscent of the days when the shopkeeper knew you and was able to inform you on products to suit your style and buying history.

Apart from creating a personalised experience for the online shopper, eCommerce development has benefited from the recognition techniques of these platforms to identify users and prevent fraud.  Logistics and supply chain management are also employing these tactics for planning and operational procedures.

Online personal shoppers

The advent of personalised search functionality is something that is sure to take off in eCommerce development. Once the domain of the rich and famous, having a personal shopper is now within the reach of anyone who can get connected.

These AI searches are able to find the ideal item for you. They can also find out who is stocking it and if there are any great deals available.

Using simple question and answer technology, you can even do your holiday shopping in advance (for once), from the comfort of wherever you are. All you need to do is type in a few keywords and your online personal shopper will find you the perfect gift.  All you, as the customer has to do is click the button to add it to your cart, pay and wait for the delivery.

Check out Shoptagr, to see how this works. The North Face is also fun to take this technology for a test drive. Here, AI goes as far as checking out the weather to find you the perfect coat after you answer a few simple questions.

Machine learning = better search results

Over 30% of consumers use the search function while shopping online. The information they enter into these websites is useful in further eCommerce development.

By recording these preferences and analysing them, machine technology can offer better search results and suggest alternatives.  The more customers use searches, the more accurate this technology becomes and the greater chance you have of making a sale.

eBay’s describes their Collective as a ‘bespoke experience’ for the consumer. This site uses machine learning to present customers with items they are bound to want.

Likewise, these learning technologies can analyse how customers are responding to a particular marketing campaign.

AI is able to recognise patterns and predict trends faster and more accurately than the most experienced human marketers.

This is not the end of the road for marketers though. Ecommerce will always need the creative input of the human brain to win their customers over. Except, now they will be able to do their job cost effectively and successfully.

Following up on potential customers

AI-driven technology does not forget to follow up on leads.  It is well known by now that at least one-third of marketing leads are never revisited by sales staff. While your eCommerce site can’t call up a prospective client and clinch the deal – yet; it can remind your sales staff to do so, or be set up to send a reminder email.

While this may seem threatening to sales personnel, especially those who didn’t follow up on their leads, it could lead to increased sales.  A greater ROI leads to expansion and more employment opportunities.

Human employees have little to fear from AI. A whole range of up-to-now unheard of positions are sure to result from advances in this field.

Magento and Shopify opportunities

So what does all this mean for merchants on two of Australia’s most popular eCommerce platforms?

With the technology still in its infancy, there are not a lot of options for integrating existing AI services with your website.  A company called Sundown AI have developed an AI Smart Engine called Chloe, with extensions for Shopify and Magento, which works as a personal shopper on mobile.  The customer can make voice commands for searching products and performing functions such as adding to cart and removing products, or ask questions related to shipping timeframes and return policies, all without having to use the keyboard.

We haven’t seen it in action outside of their video demonstrations, but we’re sure there’ll be plenty of other services to be developed for these platforms in the near future.

The bigger picture

It won’t end with eCommerce development either. Other sectors, such as healthcare, retail, food, and finance sectors are all seeing significant advances thanks to AI.

It is not unrealistic to believe that medical experts will soon be able to predict a heart attack days before it happens, thanks to AI.

This kind of all-encompassing technology can only make the world a better place for all. Don’t get left behind in the burgeoning world of eCommerce development.

Keep your website up to date with the latest technologies to make you stand out in this automated world.

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