Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to systems that display intelligent behavior by analyzing their environment and taking actions, with some degree of autonomy, to achieve specific goals. AI-based systems can be purely software-based, acting in the virtual world (e.g. voice assistants, search engines) or AI can be embedded in hardware devices (e.g. autonomous cars, drones). Many AI technologies require data to improve their performance. Once they perform well, they can help improve and automate decision-making in the same domain.
How will AI transform e–commerce of the future?
In recent years artificial intelligence has been increasingly implemented into the consumer’s e-commerce experience. AI can help create highly personalized shopping experience for consumers. Based on consumer data it receives (past purchases, buyer profile etc.), AI can offer consumers exactly what they are looking for. However, personalization will only be possible if consumers provide their data. The more data AI gets the more accurate it will be. At the same time, when it comes to personal data there are some challenges. Namely, any development of AI technology will have to take into account data and privacy protection laws, such as GDPR, ensuring that AI complies with the strict regulation.
Ordering groceries by simply talking to a virtual assistant embedded into a smart speaker might soon become an everyday shopping experience. Consumers could easily embrace this technology because it makes their everyday life easier. Another AI powered tool that can completely change consumer’s e-commerce experience is image search. This AI technology enables consumers to simply take a photo of what they see in real life and instantly find similar items online and purchase them.
Moreover, paying for online purchases using facial/voice recognition or biometric identification could soon become widespread. In addition, chatbots and messaging apps are gaining on importance as consumers spend an increasing amount of time using different messaging apps. Therefore, this gives online merchants immense opportunities to reach consumers and interact with them.
Artificial intelligence in the EU
While the U.S. and China are marching ahead in the development of AI, the EU is lagging behind. The European Commission has recognized this challenge and is aiming to ensure the take-up of AI technology across the EU economy. This means stepping up investments in AI by encouraging the private sector and the Member States to invest more in the AI technology. Another important focus area for EU legislators will be to prepare for the socio-economic changes brought about by AI and to address safety and liability concerns.
Consumers want their online shopping experience to be as seamless and easy as possible. Artificial intelligence can therefore play a crucial role in making this goal a reality. Namely, AI will allow future consumers to find the product they are looking for within seconds, pay for it without lifting a finger and seek customer support without having to hold the line on the phone or wait for a human to type the answer to their question.