In the last several decades, we have seen an increase in consumer interests for online shopping. E-commerce giants such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart are constantly competing with each other in order to have a wider selection of online products as well as making it easier for customers to shop through multiple devices. The eCommerce industry has seen a tremendous growth across multiple sectors such as fashion, cosmetics, health, electronics and other consumer good products. While the United States is considered as having one of the best e-commerce ecosystems, other countries such as China, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Canada are not far behind. By 2021, it is expected that global retail e-commerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion with B2C e-commerce dominating B2B transactions.
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Emerging AI-Influenced Technologies
eCommerce is one of the most competitive and challenging industry, therefore, it’s important for online retailers to use technology to stand out amongst the competition. With the advancement of technology, shopping online has become easy, quick and efficient. Using artificial intelligence technologies, businesses are able to provide personalized products through seamless and secured platforms. Online transactions can be verified quickly and securely no matter what type of payment the customer is choosing. In e-commerce, artificial intelligence-enabled technologies have proven to be one of the biggest game changers in the industry. In 2017, an estimated 1.66 billion people worldwide purchase goods online. The e-commerce market share is quite large as outside of United States, other countries also prefer to purchase products online rather than in a store. Eurostat states that in the past 12 months, 66% of internet users in the European Union aged 16-74 have bought a product or service online. In the United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark the figure is above 80%.
Personalization Through Virtual Shoppers
With more and more mobile devices on the market, consumers find it easier to shop online especially when using a virtual assistant. In the last few years, the sales of virtual assistants such as Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Alexa have skyrocketed. Research Firm Canalys predicts that 56.3 million smart speakers will be sold in 2018 worldwide. Consumers can buy products from their phone by texting or simply by using their voice. Through the combination of machine learning and predictive analytics, customers can shop with confidence in the comfort of their living room. In addition, to making the buying process more enjoyable, customers can gain more satisfaction knowing that the products that they have purchased online are tailored to their needs.
Better Customer Service
One of the biggest pain points for many consumers when shopping online is that there is a lack of transparency and trust. Since customers are not able to physically feel or touch the product while they are browsing online, sometimes they could purchase the wrong product. This is a common barrier for many online shoppers, however, with chatbots and other artificial intelligence technologies customers can now directly communicate to the brand at their convenient. Many companies often enable chatbots 24/7, therefore, customers can be confident knowing that they are well taken care of in case problems with their purchase. In a recent survey, factors such as speed and availability were most valued by consumers and 64% of respondents said “24-hour service” is a benefit of using chatbots.
In conclusion, implementing artificial intelligence features in eCommerce can improve efficiency and enhance customer experience. Instead of talking to an agent on the phone, customers can talk to a chatbot and make simple inquiries about their online purchases whenever they want. This is quite useful if the customer wants to quickly change his shipping address or add additional products to the shopping cart.
Besides that, customer interactions are more reliable since all transactions are recorded through secured platforms. When interacting with a chatbot, customers can be sure that there are no human errors in terms of writing down the wrong address or other personal details which makes online shopping more efficient and reliable. Shopping online through enhanced artificial intelligence features can be quick and easy.
The role of artificial intelligence in e-commerce is growing at a fast pace. Statistics show that 70% of US millennials would prefer that a business would use artificial intelligence to show them more interesting products and 72% believe that the technology can accurately predict what they want. This is why numerous high-quality eCommerce web design agencies invest in AI technology nowadays. The future is exciting for retailers as they use these tools to break down silos to improve customer service and shopping experience. E-commerce brands now have more opportunities to scale and to create more products that are personalized and tailored to their customers’ needs.