Advertise with

Enter artificial intelligence (AI), has established itself as a valuable tool to provide a more immersive and interactive shopping and internet experience.
Enter artificial intelligence (AI), has established itself as a valuable tool to provide a more immersive and interactive shopping and internet experience.

Artificial intelligence causing an explosion in the eCommerce shopping experience


By Smadar Landau - Apr 13th 2017, 11:47

As e-commerce and online shopping becomes a bigger industry every year, an impatient consumer base hopes for a faster, personalised and more responsive way to shop and search. Enter artificial intelligence (AI), which has already established itself as a valuable tool to provide a more immersive and interactive shopping and internet experience. 

Some of the more interesting future benefits of using AI in e-commerce are the personalisation of the consumer shopping experience, the development of more intuitive and easier-to-use enhanced and visually-oriented search capabilities -- including using images as part of a simplified search engine criteria -- and the emergence of the AI-driven personal shopper.

Personalisation and Visual Search

The utilisation of product images in future search criteria and the inclusion of increasingly advanced technologies such as contextual understanding are inevitably destined to advance search capabilities to the next level, and overcome the current and ongoing problem of consumers needing to master the art of refined keyword searching in what is ultimately a flawed search environment.

AI-driven platforms using visual search capabilities allow for uploading an image in order to find products that are similar or are complementary in some way. Various image elements are used in order to find those products, such as brand, shape and colour.

However, consumers do not even need to be shopping to make use of these enhanced visual search capabilities, with the technology capable of making purchase suggestions to the user at any time. Visual search will be an incredible important future element of retail because the ultimate goal of any developing eCommerce search technology is to cut down the number of steps it takes a consumer to find and purchase a product. The power to be searchable and provide easy-to-find content essentially equals revenue.

The Rise of the Digital Assistant

In parallel with the evolution of increasingly powerful and intuitive search capabilities is the development and ongoing market introduction of both virtual personal shoppers and digital assistants. In the absence of an actual salesperson for each consumer’s retail website visit, impossible even with the increased deployment of such customer service technologies as chatbots, stores are looking towards AI to assist customers find their desired products and provide usable product and market information that leads to a sale.

In addition to using a consumer’s purchase and search history, interactive shopping assistants can process freshly accumulated personal and relevant stored data much faster than their human counterparts, making recommendations based on their expansive in-store and market knowledge in virtually real-time.

While enhanced search capabilities are inevitably linked and ultimately integrated to numerous brands, and their unceasing quest to engage and understand consumer buying habits across multi-channels, that inevitably contains dangers for the very users they are trying to assist. For example, digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant are being used increasingly in the early stages of eCommerce consumer research. Brands need to be aware that, inevitably, digital assistants point the consumer they are interacting with towards their own channels, such as Amazon products or Google search lists. In the future, we may see the evolution of brand-neutral digital assistants that are agnostic and can offer shoppers the best-personalised recommendations.

While the shopping experience we’ll see over the next decade is ultimately anyone’s guess, the trend towards e-commerce personalisation is further indication that we’ll continue to see an explosion and revolution in the way consumers shop, experience and obtain new products in the future.© 2017 EnsembleIQ, All Rights Reserved 

Related News

Instagram expands shoppable posts in 8 countries
22/03/2018 - 15:01
Instagram expanded its shoppable posts feature to eight more countries: the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Spain.

Understand your customer to predict future demand
22/03/2018 - 14:26
Understanding your customer brings you one giant step closer to the ultimate goal of the supply chain — meeting customer demand at the lowest possible risk and cost.

How retailers can apply platform business thinking to magnetise customers
22/03/2018 - 11:35
Local retailers have an incredible opportunity to get a head-start on competition, by applying the science of digital platform thinking, to transform decades-old practices and deliver new value to customers.

Shoppers want help from technology, not associates
22/03/2018 - 10:01
Almost all consumers want to be left alone when in-store shopping, according to a new consumer survey by HRC Retail Advisory. In fact, 95% of those surveyed do not want the help of a sales associate and instead prefer to get advice online from friends and family via social media.

Olay boosts engagement 20% with influencer skincare challenge
20/03/2018 - 11:18
Olay, the skincare brand owned by Procter & Gamble, spurred a 20% gain in engagement from a social media campaign that asked influencers to document their experiences using Olay products for four weeks while updating followers along the way.