Thursday, 15 December 2016

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Future of Ecommerce

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The adoption of artificial intelligence into the world of ecommerce is bound to make a big splash. Not only because it will greatly facilitate customer interactions, but also because of the changing and growing online retail landscape.
 •  Global ecommerce sales reached $839.8 billion in 2013, and are forecasted to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2018
By analyzing your history and how you shop, it will be able to determine what you’re likely to buy and personalize your shopping experiences to the point where you’ll feel as though you have a virtual personal shopper at your side. This is especially true for our mobile-first world, in which mobile shopping is on the rise. It’s safe to expect enterprise app development to include some form of AI in the near future because it has the possibility to “think” faster than humans and can analyze more data in less time. Moreover, it’s in demand.
 •  70% of US millennials, and 62% of millennials in the UK, say they would appreciate a brand or retailer using AI technology to show more interesting products

Artificial Intelligence and Enterprise Businesses
Gartner, an IT research firm, predicted that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with an enterprise platform without interacting with a human. Three of the largest tech companies today — Google, Amazon and IBM — have begun integrating AI into their existing platforms. Amazon released the Amazon Echo, a voice-controlled smart speaker, in 2015, Google released Google Assistant, an intelligent personal assistant, earlier this year, and IBM has a host of AI developments including Watson, a cognitive computing system that understands natural language. A survey of 235 business executives conducted by the National Business Research Institute (NBRI) also found that:
   •  38% are already using AI technology
   •  62% will use AI technology by 2018
   •  58% are using AI technology for predictive analytics
   •  25% are using AI technology for automated written reporting and communicating
   •  25% are using AI technology for voice recognition and response
AI’s draw in enterprise business is that it gives computers human-like capabilities (hearing, seeing, reasoning and learning), and in some cases, improves them.

1: Computer Vision
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Computer vision includes recognition capabilities such as image and facial recognition, and is a case in which a human faculty, vision, is improved for the digital world. Computer vision implemented in the enterprise app development process offers some of the most overarching possibilities for ecommerce and mobile apps in general.
   •  Product recognition: you’ll be able to take a picture of a product you like such as a shirt, jacket, etc., and match it with similar styles from different sources
   •  Medical imaging: you’ll be able to perform medical analysis at the touch of a button
   •  3D scanning: you’ll be able to scan an object and upload it to a computer

2: Machine Learning
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Machine learning is a branch of AI that has many implications for ecommerce and mobile apps. It’s made to discover patterns and trends automatically, without being explicitly programmed to do so. Enterprise mobile apps with machine learning can increase conversions by taking a shopper’s buying habits as input and producing a list of recommendations as output. They can analyze behavior, pricing trends, and product demand to come up with a price most likely to lead to a sale.
3: Natural Language Processing
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is another branch of AI that seeks to bridge the gap between what is said and what is meant. Previously ambiguous phrases are translated into applicable search results to provide a seamless shopping experience that mirrors actual human interaction. It aims to overcome the limitations of ecommerce caused by text-based searches and keyword matching. In other words, it has the capacity to understand human error and work around it. NLP offers a competitive advantage for enterprise mobile apps because it will make them “smarter.” Siri, Apple’s intelligent personal assistant, is an example of NLP in practice.

4: Chatbots
In the F8 developer conference that took place earlier this year, David Marcus, VP of Messaging Products, Facebook, said that “bots can provide anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates, to customized communications like receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages all by interacting directly with the people who want to get them.” They use a conversational interface to perform a wide variety of tasks. In terms of ecommerce, chatbots offer online business owners a cost-effective solution to customer service; they can respond instantaneously to many at the same time.

5: Virtual Personal Assistants
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Virtual personal assistants use a variety of previously covered topics and integrate them into one. The most widely known assistants are Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Google Now. Think of them as advanced chatbots that go above and beyond the call of duty. Someday we might even have a version of Siri or Alexa that has computer vision capabilities and can suggest clothes to wear. Beyond that we have the possibilities of combining virtual personal assistants with strong AI to create an almost sentient assistant that can understand exactly what we say and want.

The Future of Ecommerce is Bright
The influence of artificial intelligence on enterprise mobile apps is growing at a steady pace as “smart” apps are being developed to make ecommerce more efficient. We have computer vision directing us to retailers, machine learning that’s optimizing the shopping process, natural processing language closing the gap between what we say and what we mean, chatbots providing support, and virtual personal assistants taking the reins of our busy lives. A bright future indeed.

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