E-COMMERCE IN THE ERA OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Credit by Dominic Machado


I. AI's Induction


Artificial intelligence, simply put, is the ability for a machine to learn. It does this by continually analyzing patterns from the data it collects. The greater the collection of data, the more accurate the machine can become at making predictions.  Gartner, Inc, projects that over 25% of customer interactions will be managed with virtual customer assistants by 2020. Machine-learning technologies can go beyond the scope of humans by learning and understanding every individual customer, even in an audience of millions.


1. The evolution of AI


Artificial Intelligence truly began in the unleashed imagination of fiction writers. The technology started impacting the real-world only in the 1950s when Alan Turing contemplated the question, “Can machines think?” The Turing test was once considered to be the benchmark for Artificial Intelligence—to pass the test, a machine must deceive a questioner into believing it is a human.


In recent decades, AI research has seen unprecedented acceleration. From the year 2008 to 2012, it was growing at roughly 5 percent annually; but since then, it has boomed with a growth of more than 12 percent annually. Today, Europe still leads in AI research, but within the next four years, China is predicted to take over as the global pioneer in artificial intelligence.


2. A New Era


At the same time, trends have been changing in the world of business and retail. In 2018, e-commerce sales accounted for a whopping 11.9% of all retail sales worldwide. The number of global digital buyers is expected to rise to over 2.14 billion by 2021.


Artificial Intelligence collects and organizes heaps of data that manual processing would take years to do (if at all). Based on this analysed data, it can make predictions that can save an organization vast amounts of time and money.


II. Artificial Intelligence in eCommerce


Here are some key ways that AI has made an entrance into the realm of e-commerce:


1. Chatbots



It might soon be the end of the line for contact forms, email and phone calls. More importantly, it’s a step in the right direction when it comes to delivering stellar customer experience. By kickstarting the ‘conversational commerce’ trend, Chatbots give e-commerce websites the ability to provide 24/7 customer support. They simulate conversations with customers and can execute tasks, automate order processing, and can also provide accurate answers to customers about product details, quantities and shipping terms.

According to a 2017 report by PwC, 34% of executives say the time they freed up using chatbots allowed them to focus on deep thinking and creating.

2. Image search


With AI, consumers can now search for products based on images they’ve come across. See an outfit you love? Simply take a picture and get matched to similar items on ecommerce websites.


Pinterest is already leveraging this technology by allowing its users to select any item from any photograph online and then throws up similar items through an image recognition software.


3. Cybersecurity