Before you can start to explore different intelligence options for your eCommerce business, you need to understand the terminology. Many industry leaders will throw around terms like “machine learning,” with the assumption that you know what they’re talking about, without taking the time to break it down. Here are a few common terms you will want to keep in mind:

Artificial intelligence: the ability for a robot to complete tasks that would normally require a human. AI occurs when a robot is able to follow a set of rules (called an algorithm) to make decisions.

Machine learning: the ability for a robot to make its own rules, and improve upon an algorithm to get better results.

Machine learning is often considered a subset of artificial intelligence. Typically, developers will create an algorithm for a robot to follow (AI) and then develop machine learning capabilities for the robot to make its own rules.

Consider what it takes to teach a robot to fold laundry. Through AI, a robot could use an algorithm to identify a shirt and fold it correctly. However, it takes machine learning for a robot to take a scarf, study its features, and determine that it should be folded like a towel rather than like a pair of pants or socks.

AI for eCommerce is affordable and easy

The next step to understanding how artificial intelligence can help your eCommerce strategy is to dispel the myth that investments in AI are expensive and complicated. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to use AI on your site, and many companies are already testing AI tools within their web pages.

More than 60 percent of businesses used AI tools in some form in 2017, a significant increase from 38 percent in 2016. Of those businesses, 77 percent say they use AI to improve their marketing and sales processes.

Using artificial intelligence in your eCommerce strategy can be as simple as trying out an “off the shelf” AI tool that suggests products to customers and generates email recommendations through machine learning. You don’t even have to invest in a forward-facing tool that could confuse your customers.

After a series of short, successful tests, you can expand your AI budget to explore different options to improve the customer experience and grow eCommerce sales.

How can eCommerce brands use AI?

Now that you understand that AI isn’t a complicated or expensive concept, you can start to explore its uses in the eCommerce sphere. There are several ways you can use artificial intelligence depending on your comfort level and website improvement goals.

Improve customer recommendations with items frequently bought together or bought as an alternative.

Automate your customer service experience through chatbots to provide more information to your sales team.

Send automated engagement emails and responses based on customer interactions and information.

Learn more about your customers and how to market to them with big data analytics and analysis.

Listen to what people have to say about your brand online to help you respond to comments, reviews, and questions.

These are a few specific examples of how some companies use AI and machine learning to help customers, but Apiumhub recently shared a high-level view of how where companies are directing their AI efforts. While eCommerce is going strong as one of the top uses, many companies are starting with digital marketing or analytics and working toward more complex uses.

Start investing in artificial intelligence?

Once you’re ready to take the leap into AI investment it’s not hard to get started. In fact, you likely already use some AI tools without realizing it.

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