In the past decade, online shopping has exploded across all continents and it is only getting faster. Globally, millions of people visit online stores to buy products of all descriptions. eBay alone accounts for nearly 25% of global e-commerce volume. Companies like Amazon, with its alluring product lists, tempting free shipping options, and customer satisfaction ratings, have attracted countless shoppers.
With the proliferation of these websites and the increasing demand for e-shopping, companies are investing in this emerging market. As a result, competition in the e-commerce sector is fierce. The stakes are high for the companies who want to stay atop the online shopping landscape. One of the most important areas to focus on is artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is the ability for computers to understand and perform actions or tasks that appear to be or mimic human activities or decision making.
Amazon is a prime example of companies taking advantage of artificial intelligence to enhance e-commerce. Its artificial intelligence initiative targets shopping behavior. By using data from its massive retailer database and analyzing consumer purchase patterns, Amazon can suggest relevant product categories and tailor its search results to better serve its customers. The e-shopping aspect of the website is just one component of the massive project. Amazon claims to have already applied artificial intelligence to scan its entire stockroom to identify hot items and categorize them by price and order status.
Other companies are following suit. IBM, Microsoft, and PricewaterhouseCoopers are all investing heavily in e-shopping. IBM’s e-shopping initiative targets the online shopping experience more than e-commerce operations. Its goal is to gather, organize, and analyze data from e-shopping websites and provide helpful recommendations to consumers.
Artificial intelligence research has come a long way. Advances in computing power and Deep Learning networks have made artificial intelligence systems that can beat the best human players at chess, pass the quiz show Jeopardy, or solve any game of Solitaire. Now, computers can be taught how to shop by browsing various online stores and gauging their prices. Currently, e-shopping robots such as EcommerceX can analyze and rank hundreds of thousands of products from thousands of merchants. It can also suggest the best products, most interesting merchants, and the best prices to customers in ten different categories.
Not only is online shopping safer and more convenient, it is also more accurate than e-shopping. Customers have the comfort of shopping with people they know, and trust. They can easily navigate the e-shopping website to compare prices, product features, and services without leaving the comfort of their homes. Since the technology to evaluate and rank shopping sites is still in its infancy, the results of the research are still inconclusive. However, some experts believe it is already close to being ready for commercial use.
Will artificial intelligence help make e-shopping better? That’s hard to say. One big advantage is it will allow retailers to serve customers better. Since people can see and compare shopping options, they can quickly find the product they are looking for. In addition, e-shopping will allow consumers to stay up to date on news, new products, and best sellers. This will encourage repeat business and, in turn, increase sales.
Another benefit of e-shopping is the fact that it will likely reduce customer traffic congestion. Online shopping will likely replace many of the traffic signals because shoppers will be able to quickly access the information they are looking for. Furthermore, artificial intelligence will allow websites to easily update their databases. Since the e-shopping website is an online store, it can easily provide relevant and accurate product information, shipping information, product descriptions, and more. This will definitely reduce customer frustration and, in turn, customer satisfaction.