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AI: A new era for eCommerce

The buzz surrounding artificial intelligence is growing, as the world’s leading tech giants race to acquire and develop new AI technology. The more businesses that adopt it, the more integral to our daily lives it becomes.

Businesses in all industries are experimenting to figure out the most effective ways to use AI to attain superior results. For eCommerce store owners specifically, AI offers exciting opportunities to streamline operations, boost sales, and offer customers a more exciting and innovative user experience.

If your online store hasn’t yet tapped into the power of AI, don’t worry. This article will explain the benefits of using AI in eCommerce, how to integrate AI with your store, and discuss some of the top AI-driven eCommerce solutions that are on the market.

How is AI being used to change the eCommerce industry?

AI is emerging as a game-changing technology in various industries, and eCommerce is no exception. Many eCommerce businesses already use AI to drive innovation and efficiency across their operations. They’re revolutionising how they interact with customers, manage their supply chains, and analyse performance data.

At present, there are three distinct components of AI. Data collection and machine learning, continual learning, and natural language processing. Let’s find out how each of these components is being used to reshape the eCommerce industry.

Data collection and machine learning 

AI can gather, organise, and analyse data far more efficiently than humans. It can then use this information to anticipate consumer behaviour, meet customer needs, and tailor the eCommerce experience to individual preferences. 

Continual learning 

AI uses algorithms to analyse data, learn from past experiences, and enhance efficiency. Continual learning is an ongoing process – the AI becomes increasingly smarter and more effective as it collects and analyses more data. This makes it a valuable tool for eCommerce businesses, as it ensures continuous improvement in understanding customer behaviours and preferences. 

Natural language processing 

AI has developed to the point where it can understand and interact with humans through text and voice-based communication. This has paved the way for the development of chatbots and voice assistants that can answer customer queries in real time, making the shopping experience even more seamless and interactive.

These key components of AI technology can be applied to all areas of an eCommerce business, from its marketing and supply chain to data analytics and omnichannel solutions. AI is quickly becoming an invaluable tool for providing versatile, efficient, and intelligent solutions to meet the growing demands of the eCommerce marketplace.

The Create8 web team discussing a projectWhat are the benefits of using AI in eCommerce operations?

AI helps businesses to achieve more with less. Less human intervention, fewer resources, better results.

AI technology can be integrated into every aspect of eCommerce, making its benefits far-reaching. Some of the key benefits include:

Improve efficiency and productivity – AI is helping eCommerce store owners to work smarter, not harder. It allows businesses to automate and streamline various operational tasks. AI never sleeps; it works tirelessly while you’re tucked up at night. It accelerates the pace of work and eliminates the possibility of human error.

Enhance returns and conversion rates – When AI is used to personalise the eCommerce user experience, it can help to boost the business’s bottom line. Tailored content, product recommendations, and a smooth navigational experience help optimise conversion rates and increase average order values.  

Boost customer retention and loyalty – By improving website performance and user experience, AI fosters higher customer satisfaction, increased retention rates, repeat customers, and customer loyalty.

Save time and money – AI can take over time-consuming tasks like customer support and inventory management that previously required hours of human intervention, and perform them quicker and more efficiently too! This then frees up human employees to focus on higher-value tasks.

As AI technology evolves and improves, its impact on eCommerce will only get bigger.

How can AI be used in eCommerce?

The number of ways AI can be used in eCommerce is almost infinite. AI technology can be integrated into almost any aspect of eCommerce operations. But, if you’re feeling excited and inspired to use AI to elevate your eCommerce experience, you’ll need to find the right tools that meet your expectations.

Let’s explore some of today’s most exciting and effective AI tools for eCommerce. These tools are reshaping the industry by offering features like personalised shopping experiences, dynamic product pricing, chatbots, and everything in between.

Using AI to streamline eCommerce operations

Some ways that AI tools can be used to streamline eCommerce operations include:

  • Automating tasks
  • Identifying trends
  • Managing inventory
  • Automating SEO
  • Generating images
  • Writing text content

Examples of AI tools that can streamline eCommerce operations include:

BrandwatchAI can continuously monitor and analyse data and quickly identify new industry trends and patterns to keep businesses ahead of the curve. Brandwatch uses AI to conduct in-depth consumer research using social listening. By monitoring competitors and industry trends across over 100 million online sources, it can provide eCommerce businesses with invaluable consumer and market intelligence.

RemiAI can analyse sales trends, anticipate changes in product demand, and predict supply-related issues to enable more efficient inventory management. Remi is an AI inventory optimisation tool used for end-to-end inventory planning. It uses AI to forecast demand and anticipate inventory requirements, and can automatically optimise your store’s inventory using machine learning. 

Alli Al  – AI can automate repetitive tasks, allowing businesses to reallocate human resources to higher-level tasks. Alli AI is an AI tool used to automate, optimise, deploy, and scale SEO. It can also create site-wide optimisation rules and deploy code changes with just one click.

MidJourneyAI can be used to create unique images and artwork. MidJourney is an AI tool that can produce unique imagery for your eCommerce store based on the text prompts you enter.

An AI generated image of a train moving down a broken train track and repairing as it goesUsing AI to boost sales

Some ways that AI can be used to boost eCommerce sales include:

  • Streamlining the sales process
  • Providing dynamic pricing
  • Improving customer service
  • Personalising product recommendations
  • Personalising email marketing
  • Managing the customer journey

Examples of AI tools that can boost conversion rates include:

PrisyncAI can automatically update or personalise product pricing based on various factors, including visitor behaviour, global supply and demand, and stock levels. Prisync helps your eCommerce business to optimise its pricing for every channel by continually tracking and monitoring both competitor pricing and stock availability. It then automates dynamic pricing to maximise profitability.

KlaviyoAI can improve the ROI of email marketing by personalising marketing messages based on customer data and automating campaigns. Using AI and customer data, Klaviyo segments contacts and creates hyper-personalised messages to be distributed across various channels, including email, SMS, and push notifications. Leveraging behaviour-based automation, Klaviyo ensures that these tailored messages are triggered and sent based on each contact’s unique interactions and activity. 

NamogooNamogoo uses AI and customer journey data to personalise, orchestrate, and manage each customer’s journey in real-time to improve user experience and reduce distractions to ensure that customers remain on the business’s website to complete their purchases.

Using AI to improve the eCommerce user experience

Some ways that AI can be used to enhance the eCommerce user experience include:

  • Personalising UX
  • Improving search results
  • Improving customer service
  • Preventing fraud

Examples of AI tools that can enhance user experience include:

SeonAI can help to detect and prevent fraud by continually analysing vast amounts of data to identify suspicious activities. Seon employs AI and machine learning to identify and stop fraud and bot attacks, before they happen.

Tidio AI ChatbotsVirtual assistants and AI-powered chatbots can handle simple queries around the clock, freeing up time for human support staff to focus on more complex issues. These AI assistants can also recommend products based on customer buying patterns and insights. With Tidio, eCommerce stores can add AI chatbots to their website to automate up to 73% of customer queries.

woman working in a customer service role wearing a headsetShopbox – AI can collect and analyse customer data to offer a highly personalised shopping experience. Shopbox leverages AI to adapt the eCommerce store view according to each customer’s behaviour and interests to show them more of what they want. Shopbox helps eCommerce retailers grow profits using automated intelligent merchandising and product recommendations.

These applications highlight the versatility and potential of AI in eCommerce. As AI technology evolves, we can expect a broader range of uses and benefits, transforming how online stores operate and interact with customers.

Staying informed about AI advancements and proactively experimenting with emerging tools can give your online store a considerable edge and safeguard it from falling behind in this rapidly advancing digital age. Harnessing the power of AI today is a strategic investment in securing your eCommerce store’s future relevance, competitiveness, and success.

Ready to revolutionise your eCommerce business with AI? At Create8, our expert team has bags of experience with integrating AI tools into eCommerce websites. Whether you need AI-powered personalisation, intelligent search functions, or predictive analytics, our team can help your online store start feeling some of the many benefits of AI. Contact us today to discuss your project

Risks and challenges of integrating AI into eCommerce

Despite the potential of AI, eCommerce store owners should be mindful of several risks and challenges associated with integrating these tools with their stores.

Cost considerations 

The financial investment in AI goes beyond the initial outlay. There are ongoing costs to consider as well. You may need to hire in-house AI specialists or an agency or freelancer to integrate or manage the AI you use. Then there’s the cost of the technology itself, which could include monthly subscription fees. For smaller businesses, the return on investment might not justify the cost. Therefore, it’s crucial to thoroughly weigh up the potential gains against the investment costs before diving in.

Privacy and security concerns 

AI systems, like any other digital technology, can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. You will need robust security measures to protect your AI tools, customer data, and overall eCommerce operations.

Potential for bias 

AI operates based on the rules set by its developers. If there’s any bias in those rules, intentional or unintentional, the AI system will inherit that bias too. This could potentially lead to discrimination, which could be very damaging to your brand’s reputation.

Lacking the human touch 

While AI has made significant strides in understanding human language, it’s still an evolving technology, and occasionally, it might not get things completely right. Misunderstandings could lead to customer confusion, frustration, or even anger. Some customers prefer human interaction, especially when handling sensitive matters like complaints. AI, at its current stage, may lack the empathy required in such situations.

These challenges don’t mean that AI isn’t worth considering. Instead, they serve as a reminder that careful planning, due diligence, and continuous monitoring are essential components of a successful AI integration strategy.

How do I incorporate AI into my business?

Integrating AI into your eCommerce store may sound complex, but the process is usually quite straightforward with the right tools and guidance. 

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to AI integration for eCommerce to get you started:

Identify your needs – There are thousands of AI apps and tools for eCommerce, so your first job is to identify which tool is right for you. Consider which area of your store you’d like to enhance. Are you aiming to boost sales, improve user experience, or streamline your eCommerce operations?

Set clear goals – Once you know what you’re setting out to achieve, you can set clear, measurable, and specific goals. Your goal could be to increase customer engagement, improve conversion rates, enhance personalisation, or reduce cart abandonment.

Choose the right tools – Now that you understand your goals, you can search for appropriate AI tools or platforms to help you achieve them.

Implement the tools – Depending on the complexity of the tools you’ve chosen, and your technical ability, you might be able to implement the tools yourself, or you may need to hire a specialist to help. Remember to integrate AI tools with your existing systems for a seamless experience.

Monitor results – Once your AI tools are up and running, you should closely monitor the metrics and track whether the tools are working as expected. You may also need to tweak and optimise the tools to achieve better results. Remember, most AI systems learn and improve over time.

A laptop displaying graphs and statistics on a grey coffee table with a sofa in the backgroundLearn more about AI for eCommerce at our Tech and Talk event

Are you ready to unlock the potential of AI for your eCommerce business? If so, why not book your place on our free Tech and Talk event, “AI: Retailer Opportunities to Drive Sales and SEO”? 

We’ve invited AI industry expert Alan Gormley from Shopbox AI and SEO expert Charlie Whitworth to talk about the transformative power of AI. They’ll provide actionable insights about how retailers can take advantage of AI in eCommerce, and will also discuss some of the pitfalls. Come along to be inspired and network with other forward-thinking eCommerce leaders.

The event will take place in Manchester on Thursday, the 6th of July 2023. Reserve your spot online today!