One of the many benefits of AI in ecommerce continues to see consumers using online platforms due to their convenience and on-demand services. Nowadays, you can buy various products and services ranging from daily groceries to home services, or even high value purchases such as homes and automobiles.
The global retail and benefits of AI in ecommerce industry has seen steady year-on-year growth over the years and is expected to reach $5.55 trillion in 2022. The US, meanwhile, experienced the highest e-commerce sales on record in 2021 since the subsector began growing in 2011. In addition, the US government census reported $658.1 billion retail and food sales in February 2022 alone, which was a 0.3% increase from $656.1 billion in January 2022. China, a leader in digital sales, reportedly earned more than double the US market in 2021 with an estimated $2.1 trillion in 2021 and is expected to only grow further this year.
To keep up with consumer trends, even established brick-and-mortar retail brands are dipping their toes in digital platforms to reach more consumers. A lot of retailers and e-commerce brands rely on digital solutions and artificial intelligence (AI) to ease customer effort and provide superb customer experience.
AI Impacting the Retail and E-commerce Industry
The tech and AI developments are nowhere near finished. However, with what we’ve seen come up in recent years, there has been a lot of great uses for retailers. Here are a few examples of targeted uses of AI in the industry:
- NLP and Computer Vision for Trust and Safety: The benefits of AI in ecommerce sites and platforms should also be subjected to content moderation to maintain platform integrity and ensure trust and safety for all users. Two fields in AI have proved useful for this, namely: Computer Vision, which enables computers to analyze and draw out information from images, videos, and other multimedia, and Natural Language Processing (NLP), in which computers process and respond to large amounts voice audio and text data.
The benefits of AI in ecommerce result in functions that can be combined with human moderators. Brands can prevent customer churn and loss of trust that may arise from negative online experiences, such as fraud and other misleading content.
- Similarity search algorithms for efficient shopping experience: Algorithms can conduct a similarity search based on keywords using NLP or use Computer Vision to compare listings and instantly identify other similar items. Users can conduct their shopping far more efficiently rather than sifting through thousands of items to find the right one. This experience would result in increased sales, higher customer satisfaction, and lower costs due to reduced returns and fewer customer service calls.
- Conversational AI to improve customer service: As retailers move online, another pressing issue is how to provide effective and outstanding CX when faced with high volumes of transactions. Improving customer service can be done using intelligent virtual assistants (IVA), automatic speech recognition (ASR), and chatbots. These can be used alongside human customer service agents, who serve as higher level support team for complex issues that conversational AI assistants cannot be addressed. When done right, retail and e-commerce brands can expect highly efficient customer service, less customer effort, increased customer delight, and improved sales and collections.