Quick and easily deployed, cloud-based artificial intelligence tools are improving the fortunes of the enterprises making use of them. Now an integral element of online shopping, they provide both customers and retailers with a range of benefits, from improved customer experiences to fraud prevention. Here we discuss how artificial intelligence is transforming eCommerce today.
Voice assistants are now widely used. More than half of UK households already have them and research by voice tech agency, Vixen Labs, showed that over 41% of voice assistant users across the UK, Germany and the USA purchased a product using their smart speakers during 2021. The value of products sold using voice search is expected to rise 320% between 2021 and the end of 2023, from £4.1 billion to £17.5 billion.
Online retailers that adopt AI voice search, incorporating it into their websites and apps, are benefitting from this rapidly expanding growth area. The development of advanced AI solutions, like ChatGPT, which offers superior, natural language interactions, provides customers with enhanced shopping experiences that make purchasing quicker and easier.
AR, VR & metaverses
According to Valuates.com, the global AR-in-retail market is expected to grow from £1.5 trillion in 2021 to £5.5 trillion in 2028. This indicates just how lucrative AR and VR technologies can be to eCommerce businesses.
The benefit of these technologies is that they can overcome the limitations of simply showing photographs of products on websites. AR tools, which can be built into websites or mobile apps, enable Ikea shoppers to see what furniture will actually look like in their homes or Specsavers customers to try on glasses without visiting the store. There is no end to the products that can benefit from this kind of technology.
At the same time, we are also seeing the development of metaverses, virtual reality worlds where people can interact with others. Highly popular with younger shoppers, the last year has seen a gold rush of high-profile brands spending billions of dollars buying up metaverse real estate to build virtual stores. Just to give an idea of how popular these are, Nike’s virtual Roblox Store had over 21 million visitors in its first year.
AI product recommendations
Product recommendation engines that have their capabilities boosted through the use of artificial intelligence can provide far better recommendations and lead to increased sales and customer satisfaction. With AI, they can analyse data from a customer’s browsing, wish list and purchasing histories, the behaviours of related consumer segments and current buying trends, to deliver highly relevant personalised product recommendations.
Indeed, the latest AI product recommendations are able to go even further. Until recently, they have only considered data collected in the past, and this can result in recommendations that are not related to a user’s current shopping intent. Today’s AI-enabled recommendation engine algorithms can analyse real-time searches and quickly provide recommendations more aligned to current intent, helping customers to find exactly what they are looking for.
Hand in hand with this is the development of visual AI. This advanced search technology analyses not just the textual data associated with a product, but deep scans product images too, identifying a product’s specific features and qualities. As a result, it is better able to identify and recommend products that match a user’s search query.
The online retail market can change at pace: trends and behaviours can shift, products can go out of stock, and supplies dry up. Enterprises have to adapt swiftly when such changes occur, and they can benefit enormously if they can predict and plan ahead for when these things will happen.
AI provides eCommerce companies with the ability to predict and adapt quickly to change. This comes from its ability to analyse inventory, supply chain, sales, search and returns data and deliver real-time insights about supply issues, stock levels, demand and satisfaction. As a result, online stores have the agility to adapt swiftly, avoiding disasters and taking advantage of opportunities.
According to Juniper Research, over the next five years, the cost of global online fraud to eCommerce businesses will be around £300 billion. This staggering figure has led the eCommerce and financial sectors to seek better ways to prevent fraud from taking place.
As a result, fraud prevention and chargeback correction platforms, with AI and ML support, are being used to identify fraudulent orders, false addresses and other fake information submitted during online transactions. Thanks to AI and ML, these platforms learn to understand patterns in fraudulent activity and these can be used to detect and stop suspicious transactions from happening.
eCommerce businesses can benefit in a wide range of ways from cloud-based AI. It enables them to deliver new and better customer experiences, adapt quickly to change, and reduce losses caused by fraud.
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