The retail sector has enormous potential thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. These technologies are widely used in finance and healthcare. Total articles previously mentioned the potential of AI to revolutionize online shopping. But instead of dreaming about the future, let’s look at three practical uses of AI currently available for ecommerce sites.
To help them find the best products, shoppers are increasingly looking for reviews and opinions from other customers. E-commerce sites have two problems. They don’t have enough reviews which can lead to potential customers abandoning them for other sites. Or they have too many reviews which can cause text fatigue.
Sites such as Shop.com use AI technology to collect opinions from consumers and display them on their site. Natural language processing is able to make sense of large amounts text and allow shoppers to quickly understand the opinions about specific products.
Shop.com uses AI to create easy-to-read and comprehensive reviews.
Once you have applied AI to the vast amount of consumer opinions, you can now use the review information for your e-commerce website’s search bar. This is crucial for retailers as it means that up to 30% of people will use the search box when searching for a product. The technology behind search has made huge strides, and users can now type text based on their intent instead of product description. These are just a few examples.
- “Strollers that can be used for beach walking”
- “Kitchen gadgets that are easy to use on sore wrists”
- “Good vegetarian restaurants for a first date”
These are just a few examples of intent-based searches that show how consumers can search for products. AI’s ability include user-generated material to power these results means shoppers will not only find more relevant products, but also trust crowd wisdom as opposed to the descriptions brands give for their products.
Chatbots are computer programs that use text and data analysis to communicate in natural language with other computers to complete automated tasks.
Chatbots have become a hot topic as many retailers are trying them with mixed results. 1-800-Flowers.com uses chatbots to great success: 70% of its customers who order through the chatbot are brand new.
Bots are powered by AI and can perform many tasks including customer service, retention, sales, and customer service. The popularity of messaging apps (Whatsapp Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Sina Weibo), and voice-activated search assistants Siri and Cortana has increased the ease with which retailers can communicate directly with customers on the platforms they are most comfortable using.
Macy’s and IBM began testing a mobile webtool, ” Macy’s on Call,” in July across 10 stores. This web tool allows you to enter natural language questions and get information such as stock availability and store layout specific to your store.
Retailers who don’t keep up with the latest developments in consumer research will be left behind. The good news is that retailers of all sizes can now take advantage of the technology.
Fossil to Close Some Stores, Reorganize
Fossil Group, a fashion accessories seller and manufacturer, announced last week that it is planning a multiyear overhaul that will include closing down some stores and focusing more on less products. Fossil did not say how many of its 610 stores it planned to close in the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. has 284 Fossil shops
Total Retail Take: It seems like Fossil had to reorganize, especially as it is designed to better align the company with customers’ shopping habits. Fossil’s online sales increased by 50% in the third quarter, while sales at its stores fell by 3 percent. Additionally, today’s consumers seem to prefer fewer products and higher quality merchandise, which has led to a reduction in merchandise.