5 Powerful ways Leading Ecommerce Businesses are leveraging AI

AI, Ecommerce

If we weren’t already excited by the potential of AI, I bet you are now, thanks to Microsoft’s recent AI TV ad campaign. It reveals exactly how AI is poised to impact every industry from retailers and farmers to manufacturers and local councils.

But while most industries are still just talking about the potential of AI, omni-channel retailers and e-commerce organisations are already well ahead of the game. From using AI to personalise the buying experience to generating new leads and unrivalled customer experiences, many leading brands are already reaping the benefits of this emerging technology – but who are the trailblazers and how are they revolutionising the buying experience?

  1. Starbucks is improving customer recommendations

Using AI, brands can more intelligently and efficiently scan through petabytes of data to predict customer behaviour and offer relevant and helpful recommendations to individual consumers. This level of intelligence is vital in delivering a personalised shopping experience for the consumer.

Starbucks has been heavily involved with this process, utilising AI to analyse all the data it has gathered on its consumers to deliver a more personalised coffee shop experience. For instance, Starbucks has launched ‘My Starbucks Barrista’, which utilises AI to enable customers to place orders with voice command or messaging.

The algorithm leverages a variety of inputs, including account information, customer preferences, purchase history, third-party data and contextual information. This allows the coffee giant to create and deliver more personalised messages and recommendations for their customers.



2. eBay and Pinterest are changing the way buyers search for products

 AI is helping ecommerce companies like eBay and Pinterest take the guesswork out of online shopping by simplifying the search process. 

Recently, Pinterest reported that 93% of its users use the site to plan purchases so the company recently used AI to create searchable images where users could tap just one part of an image to find product information.

eBay has recently added similar technology but is upping the ante by allowing users to share images from social media or websites in order to find similar products for auction on the site.

3. The North Face is battling the abandoned cart

E-commerce is excellent for browsing, but it can be difficult to get customers to stop deliberating and actually buy something. In fact, it’s estimated that upwards of 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned before customers complete their purchases. For clothing retailers, it’s even more difficult to get customers to commit to a purchase, since most prefer to hit a brick-and-mortar location and speak to a sales associate, or better yet, bring along a friend for a second opinion, before they buy.

Outdoor wear company, The North Face, has recently focused on personalising the customer experience by incorporating AI into its online shopping app. Using AI, the app creates a psychoanalytic profile of customer data in less than a second, and from there, asks questions about where, when, and for what activities customers will be using their attire. The technology then provides personalised suggestions ranked from “High Match” to “Low Match,” saving customers the hassle of scrolling through hundreds of images and then second guessing whether the purchase will be right.

4. LG is integrating AI with everyday household items 

What could be more powerful for retailers than infusing your products with AI to continually monitor your buyers behaviours and habits.

LG have developed an InstaView ThinQ refrigerator which shows you alsorts of information from the weather and your grocery lists as well as letting you leave notes and it can also tell you what's inside your fridge. But the cool part happens (excuse the pun) when you dig a little deeper.

When you select an item in your fridge, you can choose a recipe on the fridge’s large tablet-like screen. When you select a recipe, LG ThinQ will automatically communicate your choice to the LG smart oven, and begin pre-heating the oven.

The LG ThinQ can also self-diagnose - AI technology can detect issues before they occur on any of LG’s smart home appliances and automatically notify the user. It will also relay that information to a call centre or the company's engineers for faster repair times. Imagine the possibilities for e-commerce retailers that have direct access to the homes of consumers!


5. Ocado is using AI to speed up deliveries

Ocado uses AI infused technology in their highly automated warehouses using swarms of purpose built robots. These robots are capable of collaborating to pick a typical 50-item order in just a few minutes. This process makes up part of the Ocado smart platform, their end-to-end ecommerce, fulfilment and logistic platforms.

For consumers, this means faster shopping with less friction and greater customer satisfaction. They are also able to predict the demand of the 50,000 different products they sell, detect fraud, and keep customers safe, as well as manage the real-time control and health of the robot swarms and optimise the thousands of delivery routes that they drive each day.

The potential for AI in ecommerce is boundless, but for now, most ecommerce companies are focused on AI for online shopping. And while chatbots and personalised recommendations are exciting, using AI to analyse customer data and language in order to create hyper-personalised content is another revolutionary possibility for AI.

To find out what other trends are set to shape the e-commerce industry, click here.

Posted by Helen Thomas