Photo Credit: shutterstock
Online shopping has become one of the most popular forms of shopping both in the USA and in the world. According to a BigCommerce survey, 96 percent of all Americans use online shopping and spend around a third of their budget on ecommerce websites. That is why businesses keep investing in website creation and new technologies that will facilitate the whole process. One of the most promising new technologies that can, no doubt, improve ecommerce in the future is artificial intelligence. Machine learning is certainly opening up a number of new possibilities but we’re only scratching the surface. Here is what we can expect in the future.
A number of websites nowadays use chatbots to establish a connection with the potential customers and offer some basic support. Chatbots are a great way to personalize the customer experience by collecting data about their preferences and offering the best deals. Right now, however, they are only able to perform some basic interactions. This is bound to change since, by 2020, 25% of all customer services will be done by virtual assistants, according to Gartner. These bots are constantly evolving and soon enough they will become capable of more complex conversations, which will improve customer experience and increase conversions.
In order to keep the customers happy, you need to make sure that the ecommerce website is fast, reliable, and offers instinctive search options to help customers find everything they want as quickly as possible. Right now, voice searches are becoming a lot more popular with over one billion of devices having enabled voice assistants around the world. However, the next big thing that we can expect in the recent future is the creation of visual searches this will make the process even easier. How? Medium mentions the concept introduced in 2015 on Pinterest that allowed users to zoom in on specific objects on pictures and search the platform for it. We can expect the implementation of similar technology in ecommerce websites sometime in the future.
Predictive Search (Big Data)
Although visual search will no doubt improve conversions and make ecommerce easier, the main goal for many marketers is to come up with advanced predictive search mechanisms. The idea is for programs (like the aforementioned chatbots) to gather as much data about every customer, process it, and offer predictions based on it. This concept relies on big data – a term used for this huge amounts of information that requires special processes to be analyzed. The more data people produce daily, the better the predictive search mechanisms will be. According to NewGenApps, by 2020 (apparently all statisticians love that year), every person on the web will produce around 1.7 megabytes of data per second, so predictive search will have a lot to work on.
If you want your ecommerce website to reach other parts of the world, you need to enable proper translation and, more importantly, localization of content. Right now, machine translation does more harm than good because the AI is not that advanced. Poorly translated parts of the website can negatively affect customer experience and decrease conversions over time. Linnworks offers the example of a website called Wayblazer that uses AI to give local travel recommendations, utilizing IBM Watson’s natural language capabilities. This is just a fraction of AI’s future potential and numerous professional ecommerce design agencies are already looking into new ways AI can help localize the content.
Eliminate Fake Reviews and Counterfeit Products
As much as we’d like to think that the world is full of good, benevolent people, the truth is that there is also an abundance of bad ones, whose main purpose in life is to destroy someone else’s hard work. On the web, reputation is everything, so just a couple of fake reviews can do a lot of damage to an ecommerce business. The future AI will be able to spot all those fake reviews and take them down before they even get noticed. The same goes for counterfeit products. Not only does it protect the website, but it also protect the customers from getting bad products.
Everything we’ve mentioned in this article is just a small part of everything that artificial intelligence can bring in the future. In fact, we might not even be aware of the impact AI will have on ecommerce in the years to come. However, it is certainly something website owners should keep an eye out for and implement whenever possible.
Guest Post: Nina is a digital nomad and a blogger. Her main interests are web design and marketing. In her free time, when she’s away from the computer, she likes to do yoga and ride a bike. You can find her on twitter.