Is it possible to provide a personalized experience for a wide range of eCommerce audience while they have nothing in common? Or is it possible to help users search smartly through multiple search options like voice and images?

Yes. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence. This technology is getting ready to do more in the eCommerce industry. In 2018, AI was changing gears from being a futuristic technology to becoming a mainstream technology.

eCommerce was one among the early adopters of AI in 2018 and this trend is expected to continue in 2019 as well.

According to the Cowen and Company IT Survey, over 20% of AI investments is expected to happen in eCommerce.

In 2019, AI will be a highly influential factor in two major areas – (i) the way retailers communicate with customers. (ii) the way retailers work backstage.

Here’s a list of 5 AI eCommerce trends that will have an impact on retail online businesses and users.

#1 AI eCommerce Trend 2019 – More precise semantic search engines

Improving accuracy in search results is a must for eCommerce retailers as buyers are ready to leave a website that shows irrelevant content.

“44 percent abandon purchases because something as basic as a product search function is missing.”

Semantic search engines are the new norm in the eCommerce website and here is where AI will contribute. NLP (Natural Language Processing) and AI together can help in understanding synonyms of the search text instead of rendering results based on keyword inputs.

Adding to this, NLP and AI-powered semantic search engines can recognize typos, provide autocorrect suggestions and product relations, making the results all the more relevant to customers.

AI can extend the way through which users search products. AI can enable search options like Voice Search. Voice recognition is already on the rise. Smart devices like Amazon Echo speaker have already made voice-based search and interactions popular.

72% of people owing voice-activated speaker say they use their devices often as the part of their daily routine. – Think with Google

#2 AI eCommerce Trend 2019 – Visual Recommendation Engines for Fashion

By 2020, 57% of buyers will depend on companies knowing what they want before the first interaction.

With the help of Neural Networks, AI can power Visual Recommendation Engines. Visual attributes based product recommendation is powered through convolutional neural network architecture and forms the base of these engines.

The algorithm behind these engines can detect patterns and identify details like colors and cuts, and pull products that match similar attributes of products viewed by customers.

Fashion is visual. eCommerce retailers can benefit from visual recommendation engines by providing appropriate suggestions based on the visual interest of their customers.

#3 AI eCommerce Trend 2019 – Chatbots will do more than just assisting

67% of people already expect to see/use messaging apps when talking to a business. – Chatbots Magazine

Chatbots can make a human-like connection with website visitors 24/7. They act like a sales assistant in a physical store and can assist users focusing on their needs and also by asking inputs to suggest the best products.

AI will help Chatbots evolve as smarter assistants that being just algorithms that can respond only in a particular way. With AI, chatbots can allow users to communicate through text, voice, images and render human-like responses.

Chatbots can be trained to perform operational tasks like order placing and processing by connecting them with shopping carts. Chatbots trained in multiple languages can respond to users in their native language by tracking their location.

One of the best examples of an evolved Chatbot is Rakuten’s Fit Me which gets inputs from a shopper on their body shape and suggest apparels that best fits them.

Amazon has gone further in this regard. Amazon is coming up with ‘Echo Look’ which works on its Echo smart devices. Placing a camera on Echo devices, Echo Look can actually suggest the best fashion in town by analyzing the person’s clothes.

Having discussed how AI will help in communicating with customers, let’s move on to how AI can provide intelligence for improving backend operations.

#4 AI eCommerce Trend 2019 – Insights for advanced procurement and marketing

61% of marketers say artificial intelligence is the most important aspect of their data strategy – MeMSQL

Knowing product demands in advance and planning ahead can reduce a chunk of money spent on logistics and warehousing. Artificial Intelligence has the potential to comb through years of sales data and predict sales volume with more accuracy.

Rakuten’s AI algorithm can analyze 200 million products traded on Rakuten Ichiba to predict sales volume. This algorithm can segment customers based on preferences of products or shopping behavior.

AI and Machine Learning can help marketers in content extraction and creation. Marketers can enrich marketing materials with contents that could best sell their products. Also, marketers can identify and create standardized FAQs by analyzing through years of user conversations.

#5 AI eCommerce Trend 2019 – Warehouse and delivery simplified

Current AI technology can boost business productivity by up to 40% – Accenture

Warehouse management and fulfillment are two of the major operational level areas where efficiency needs to be at its best to render a wholesome customer experience. AI has probed into this area as well.

AI-powered robots can perform tasks like picking, packing and sorting which drastically reduces manual effort and time. Chinese eCommerce leader JD.com and Amazon are the pioneers in warehouse automation. JD.com in partnership with Siasun Robot & Automation Co Ltd has automated warehouse where parcel-sorting, packaging, and categorization are handled by AI and robots.

In the fulfillment wing, AI can help in delegating and assisting delivery personnel. Using real-time traffic information, AI can suggest fulfillment staffs on the best route to be taken for quicker delivery.

Anticipatory logistics is an upcoming trend in the logistics industry. Anticipatory logistics uses information churned out by algorithms running on Big data. By predicting demand before a consumer places an order, this practice helps logistics professionals to improve efficiency and quality.

What Next?

83% of early AI adopters have already achieved substantial (30%) or moderate (53%) economic benefits – Deloitte

Be it a human-led process like warehouse management, or fulfillment or technology dependent area like product recommendation or customer servicing, AI is providing better intelligence and improving efficiency significantly. As the technology matures this year, we would see wider adoption of AI across various use cases.

Thinking of implementing AI? Puzzled where to start with or need an idea about how much AI eCommerce implementation would cost? We can help.