In simple terms, artificial intelligence (AI) replicates human intelligence, allows systems to work more effectively, and ultimately frees up more time for humans to focus on other tasks.
A recent publication on the emerging roles of AI in ecommerce states that AI is public and private: “starting from the department store you visit for grocery having self-checkout cash counters to huge shopping malls and airports having best and advance security systems. Apart from this, the use of AI has also been included in the education system, offices, etc.”
Estimates predict that 90% of customer relations will be dealt with by AI by the end of 2021. chatbots, Customer Relations Management (CRM), and Product Content Management (PCM) are just a few examples of AI already being used.
Chatbots can be defined as “a type of software application which makes use of AI to have online chat conversations via text or speech medium with people visiting on the website. It is these chatbots which further direct the people to a live human agent who will assist further.” Go to almost any online retail site, such as Amazon or Facebook, and there will be a chatbot available to assist on a 24/7 basis.
CRM uses AI to analyze data from customer’s buying trends, and from this data, better choices and offers can be made to customers based on real-time trends. This could be a must for ecommerce to enhance profitability and success. PCM is about designing, cataloging, and presenting the product to the customer.
AI can be applied to all these processes to ensure a good customer experience when consumers visit the online retail site.
Augmented reality (AR) can help online retail sales by improving the imagery of the items giving them a greater chance to be bought, and giving customers more information to make better choices. A research study compared sales for kitchen items with and without the use of AR. The results showed an increase in the effectiveness of sales after using AR.
AR as a tool for sales can greatly increase sales and marketing effectiveness, this is not only prevalent on retail sites, but various social media sites like Facebook also use it. In their example, businesses on Facebook can implement AR ads so that customers can “try on” makeup.
Ecommerce has enabled many businesses to connect with one another worldwide, and more sustainable B2B approaches have allowed further development of online trading as well as the ability to respond to more customers.
This involves the use of blockchain technology incorporated into the B2B supply chains. A recent research study describes the benefits of blockchain and how it “improved the efficiency of logistics and digital documentation which reached 74% and 75%.” Additionally, using blockchains creates a “decentralized database” that provides more security.
Using blockchain technology offers a more affordable way of paying compared to traditional methods of online transactions. One study showed that traditional payment methods involved 16 stages, with 2-6% processing fees for customers. In comparison, blockchain platforms like Ethereum’s “Lightning Network” can process up to one million transactions per second.
This technology also provides online security. Decentralization is the primary element that ensures security: data is encrypted by “nodes,” chains of nodes increase in length, which in turn makes the data inaccessible to hackers. Blockchain technology can ensure data privacy when retailers send out invoices via email or hard copies after sales, including other information for warranties, rewards, promotions, or loyalty programs.
Blockchain technology ensures transparency around transactions, which allows customers to track transactions as well. According to Blockchain Revolution authors Don & Alex Tapscott, blockchain technology serves as a “digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
Online retail has never been easier, consumers can rely on what they buy with help from AR systems, their security and transparency are guaranteed with the help from blockchain systems, and their queries can be dealt with 24/7 with the use of AI. Overall, ecommerce has created an effective and sustainable online retail experience.
About the Author
Mariliana has an MSC in consumer analytics and business strategy. She has a special interest in fast-moving industries and big data.