What do you picture when you hear the phrase “artificial intelligence”? Robots playing (and winning) chess, advanced computers cracking encryptions, self-driving cars, and all-around futuristic concepts likely come to mind. But what is AI really? The simple definition is human intelligence processes being mimicked by computers or machines. Based on this definition, it’s easy to see that AI isn’t some far-off thing of the future reserved for huge undertakings. AI has become a part of daily life. Voice assistants like Google Home use AI to respond to questions, and Netflix even uses AI to recommend new shows to watch based on past streaming choices. It makes sense, then, that AI in retail business is the next frontier.
Examples Artificial Intelligence in Retail Business
There are many instances of artificial intelligence being used in retail businesses. Everything from chatbots to digital shopping consultants are enabled by AI. Some interesting and innovative AI use cases include:
Chatbots for Conversing with Customers
A chatbot is one of the most recognizable uses of AI. By being able to process human languages, bots can “respond” to questions and imitate conversation. They’re found not only on e-commerce sites, but also social media platforms. To see one in action on Facebook, check out Cades from Christina Choi Cosmetics. She answers questions about products, provides recommendations, and even sets appointments, all through instant messaging!
Voice Assistants that Can Place Orders
If you really stop and think about what Amazon’s Alexa does and try to explain it, it sounds like something from a science fiction novel. A small machine that sits on your kitchen counter and purchases dog food or toilet paper for you with a simple command? It’s not science fiction or magic; it’s AI. Combining voice controls with the ability to purchase something without having to go to the store or get on a computer has made Amazon a powerful player in the AI retail space.
Predictive Analytics for Personalized Recommendations
Predictive analytics encompasses many tactics and techniques in order to “predict” events, including AI. In the case of online retail, you may have come across predictive analytics without even realizing it. If you’ve purchased something and then received an email with a coupon code for a complementary product, AI is being used to suggest something the company believes you’ll be inclined to buy. You may also get suggestions to buy things from the same brand line if the predictive analytics engine believes you are brand loyal.
What Artificial Intelligence in Retail Business Means for Your Brand
The increasing amount of AI applications for retail means your business can’t ignore this new wave of technology. The fact that the examples above exist point to the need for all e-commerce brands to get on board and provide the individualized help millennial shoppers are expecting. These consumers have grown up with so many shopping options available that if your brand doesn’t address their needs in a customized way, they’ll likely move on to the next. The default for getting a question answered or doing research about a product is no longer “Googling it”. Now, it’s “asking Alexa” or reaching out to a brand via their social media channels. In fact, 66% of consumers prefer to reach brands through messaging apps. Is your brand readily accessible through these apps? Are you able to answer shoppers’ questions in real time? Are you allowing shoppers to make their purchase on the spot once you’ve suggested the perfect product?
If you answered “no” to these questions, it might be time to consider an AI-enabled conversational commerce platform. A sophisticated solution will not only leverage AI within a chatbot for natural language processing. It will also offer marketing automation and content personalization, thus allowing your brand (and customers) to benefit from the combination of AI cognition and analytics. Standalone chatbots can only do so much and human customer service representative have bandwidth limits. A strong AI e-commerce platform can help alleviate some of the work while ensuring a smooth shopping journey for customers.
Find out how you can harness the power of AI for your e-commerce brand by requesting a demo.