Some people think that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is nothing more than a buzzword, but in reality (not artificially!) the use of AI is increasing all around the World in many areas – and none more so than the e-commerce sector.

Retail in e-commerce is continuously growing at an impressive rate globally, with total sales values more-or-less doubling from $1.4bn to $2.8bn from 2014 to 2018, according to Statista.

At the same time as sales are increasing, the use of AI is on the rise too: Gartner predicts that 25% of customer service operations will be using virtual customer assistants by 2020, whilst Servion Global Solutions say that AI will power 95% of all customer interactions, including live telephone and online conversations, by 2025.

Find out where different corporations are incorporating AI and machine learning into the everyday running of their businesses.

Case 1. The North Face

The North Face is a large e-commerce retailer in the clothing and outerwear industry and they are a great first example of a company using AI to help them better understand their customers’ wants, needs and buying habits.

Consumers browsing The North Face’s online store are able to find the perfect items for themselves thanks to the implementation on the website of AI provided by Fluid and powered by IBM’s Watson cognitive computing technology. Customers will experience Fluid’s Expert Personal Shopper (XPS) software, which creates a more engaging, relevant and personalised shopping experience thanks to the tool acting as a digital brand expert that helps users navigate the online store just like a well-trained in-house sales associate.

Consumers browsing The North Face's online store are able to find the perfect items for themselves thanks to the implementation on the website of AI provided by Fluid and powered by IBM's Watson cognitive computing technology. Click To Tweet
The North Face with their Artificial Intelligence usage
Source: Fluid.com

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There are numerous ways of grouping and categorizing these experiences. One of the more popular frameworks outlines three general stages: awareness, consideration, decision.

In practice, the technology works by asking shoppers through voice input AI technology such questions as “can I help you shop for a jacket today?” and following it up with “where and when will you be using your jacket?”

IBM’s Watson software will then scan through The North Face’s product catalogue in order to locate perfect matches based on further real-time input from the customer and according to its own simultaneous research, such as the weather conditions in the local area of the buyer.

Case 2. Rakuten

Artificial intelligence is crucial to the success of Japan’s (and, according to sales, one of the World’s) largest e-commerce website, dubbed “the Amazon of Japan”, so it is continually investing in the latest AI technologies in order to help better understand the behaviour of their customers.

The company’s own research and development branch, The Rakuten Institute of Technology, has the ability (and the desire) to analyse its parent organisation’s 200-something million products in order to accurately predict sales patterns.

The company's own research and development branch, The Rakuten Institute of Technology, has the ability (and the desire) to analyse its parent organisation's 200-something million products in order to accurately predict sales patterns. Click To Tweet

However, they do even more with data, using it for classifying products for better recommendations and search results or analyzing ratings reviews for mining even more out of it. They also understand the potential of image recognition and deep-learning algorithms.

Rakuten was also using AI in its now defunct Fits Me app, which used image-recognition technology along with customer input data about their height, weight, age, bust and body shape so that the recommendation engine could determine the best possible fit for a particular retailer’s clothing range. This was a handy advance for customer satisfaction in the online fashion industry, since, according to studies conducted by the Rakuten Fits Me app, 86% of shoppers felt that finding the right sized clothing online is a gamble.

 

Curious about the other 3 real-life cases of AI and Machine Learning implementations?

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AI and Machine Learning in Ecommerce


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