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Powerful Ways To Use Artificial Intelligence In Ecommerce

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Powerful Ways To Use Artificial Intelligence In Ecommerce
  1. Create customer-centric search

Amir Konigsberg is the current CEO of Twiggle, a business that enables e-commerce search engines to think the way humans do. Watch any recent interviews with Amir and he will tell you that consumers often abandon e-commerce experiences because the product results displayed are often irrelevant. To tackle this problem, Twiggle utilises natural language processing to narrow, contextualise and ultimately improve search results for online shoppers.

Another business that is trying to improve e-commerce search is US-based tech start-up Clarifai. Clarifai’s early work has been focused on the visual elements of search and, as their website states, their software is ‘artificial intelligence with a vision’. They enable developers to build smarter apps that ‘see the world like you do’, empowering businesses to develop a customer-centric experience through advanced image and video recognition.

Leveraging machine learning, the AI software automatically tags, organises and visually searches content by labelling features of the image or video. Read more about their Custom Training, which allows you to build bespoke models where you can teach AI to understand any concept, whether it’s a logo, product, aesthetic, or Pokemon. You can then use these new models, in conjunction with existing pre-built models (e.g. general, colour, food, wedding, travel etc.) to browse or search media assets using keyword tags or visual similarity.

The AI technology gives businesses a competitive edge and is available to developers or businesses of any size or budget. A great example is Pinterest’s recent update of its Chrome extension, which enables users to select an item in any photograph online, and then ask Pinterest to surface similar items using image recognition software.

  1. Retarget potential customers

According to Conversica, at least 33% of marketing leads are not followed up by the sales team. This means that pre-qualified potential buyers interested in your product or service, fall through the inevitable cracks. Furthermore, many businesses are overloaded with unmanageable customer data that they do little or nothing with. This is an incredible goldmine of intelligence that could be used to enhance the sales cycle.

For instance, if we take a deeper look at the retail industry, facial recognition is already being used to capture shoplifters by scanning their faces on CCTV cameras.

But how can AI be used to enhance a customer’s shopping experience? Well, some businesses are now using facial recognition to capture customer dwell times in the physical store.

This means that if a customer spends a notable amount of time next to a specific product e.g. an iPod, then this information will be stored for use upon their next visit. As AI develops, we anticipate special offers on customer’s computer screens based on their in-store dwell time. In other words, omni-channel retailers are starting to make progress in their ability to remarket to customers. The face of sales is changing with businesses responding directly to the customer. It is as if businesses are reading the minds of customers and it’s all thanks to the data used with AI.

  1. Identify exceptional target prospects

New AI technology arms e-commerce businesses with the timely intelligence required to solve their business challenges such as lead generation. Predictive marketing businesses such as Mintigo, provide AI solutions for marketing, sales and CRM systems. Through Mintigo’s software, Getty images has successfully generated significant new leads by capturing the data that shows which businesses have websites featuring images from Getty’s competitors.

  1. Create a more efficient sales process

Thankfully, just about all of us have moved on from the days of old sales techniques such as picking up the trusty Yellow Pages and pestering potential clients through cold-calling. Customer’s lives are now heavily influenced by a variety of different media from TV adverts to social media. In fact, in the past 12 months, even Snapchat has established itself as a viable sales and marketing tool, opening up new opportunities.

If you want to tailor your problem-solving solutions and create a strong sales message that reaches consumers at the right time on the right platform, then integrating AI into your CRM is the way to go. Many AI systems enable natural language learning and voice input such as Siri or Alexa. This allows a CRM system to answer customer queries, solve their problems and even identify new opportunities for the sales team. Some AI-driven CRM systems can even multitask to handle all these functions and more.

The North Face, a large e-commerce retailer, is a great example of a company stepping up their game by using AI to better understand their consumers. By using IBM’s AI solution called Watson, they enable online shoppers to discover their perfect jacket. They achieve this by asking the customer questions e.g. “where and when will you be using your jacket?” through voice input AI technology. IBM’s software then scans hundreds of products to find perfect matches based on real-time customer input and its own research e.g. such as weather conditions in the local area.

  1. Create a new level of personalisation across multiple devices

Personalisation is nothing new for e-commerce and if you frequently use Amazon then you’ll know exactly what we’re referring to. However, with the ever-increasing advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, new deep levels of personalisation have started to penetrate the fast-growing e-commerce world.

Whereas AI based personalisation for e-commerce takes the multi-channel approach. New AI engines, such as Boomtrain, sit on top of the multiple customer touch points to help the business analyse how customers are interacting online. Whether it is a mobile application, the website, or an email campaign, the AI engine is continuously monitoring all devices and channels to create a universal customer view. This unified customer view enables e-commerce retailers to deliver a seamless customer experience across all platforms.

The next time a customer is browsing iPhone cases on your website, they may receive a push notification on their mobile, informing them about your flash sale for iPhone cases. They directly make the purchase on their phone, saving a lot of steps for both parties.

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Artificial Intelligence

China plans new era of sea power with unmanned AI submarines

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China is planning to upgrade its naval power with unmanned AI submarines that aim to provide an edge over the fleets of their global counterparts.

A report by the South China Post on Sunday revealed Beijing’s plans to build the automated subs by the early 2020s in response to unmanned weapons being developed in the US.

The subs will be able to patrol areas in the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean that are home to disputed military bases.

While the expected cost of the submarines has not been disclosed, they’re likely to be cheaper than conventional submarines as they do not require life-supporting apparatus for humans. However, without a human crew, they’ll also need to be resilient enough to be at sea without onboard repairs possible.

The XLUUVs (Extra-Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicles) are much bigger than current underwater vehicles, will be able to dock as any other conventional submarine, and will carry a large amount of weaponry and equipment.

As a last resort, they could be used in automated ‘suicide’ attacks that scuttle the vessel but causes damage to an enemy’s ship that may or not be manned.

“The AI has no soul. It is perfect for this kind of job,” said Lin Yang, Chief Scientist on the project. “[An AI sub] can be instructed to take down a nuclear-powered submarine or other high-value targets. It can even perform a kamikaze strike.”

The AI element of the submarines will need to carry out many tasks including navigating often unpredictable waters, following patrol routes, identifying friendly or hostile ships, and making appropriate decisions.

It’s the decision-making that will cause the most concern as the AI is being designed not to seek input during the course of a mission.

The international norm being promoted by AI researchers is that any weaponised AI system will require human input to ultimately make a decision. Any news that China is following a policy of creating weaponised AIs that do not require human input should be of global concern.

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AI robots will solve underwater infrastructure damage checks

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Robots will be paired with a versatile AI that can quickly adapt to unpredictable conditions when examining underwater infrastructure.

Some of a nation’s most vital infrastructure hides beneath the water. The difficulty in accessing most of it, however, makes important damage checks infrequent.

Sending humans down requires significant training and can take several weeks to recover due to the often extreme depths. There are far more underwater structures than skilled divers to inspect them.

Robots have been designed to carry out some of these dangerous tasks. The problem is until now they’ve lacked the smarts to deal with the unpredictable and rapidly-changing nature of underwater conditions.

Researchers from Stevens Institute of Technology are working on algorithms which enable these underwater robots to check and protect infrastructure.

Their work is led by Brendan Englot, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens.

“There are so many difficult disturbances pushing the robot around, and there is often very poor visibility, making it hard to give a vehicle underwater the same situational awareness that a person would have just walking around on the ground or being up in the air,” says Englot.

Englot and his team are using reinforcement learning for training algorithms. Rather than use an exact mathematical model, the robot performs actions and observes whether it helps to attain its goal.

Through a case of trial-and-error, the algorithm is updated with the collected data to figure out the best ways to deal with changing underwater conditions. This will enable the robot to successfully manoeuvre and navigate even in previously unmapped areas.

A robot was recently sent on a mission to map a pier in Manhattan.

“We didn’t have a prior model of that pier,” says Englot. “We were able to just send our robot down and it was able to come back and successfully locate itself throughout the whole mission.”

The robots use sonar for data, widely regarded as the most reliable for undersea navigation. It works similar to a dolphin’s echolocation by measuring how long it takes for high-frequency chirps to bounce off nearby structures.

A pitfall with this approach is you’re only going to be able to receive imagery similar to a grayscale medical ultrasound. Englot and his team believe that once a structure has been mapped out, a second pass by the robot could use a camera for a high-resolution image of critical areas.

For now, it’s early days but Englot’s project is an example of how AI is enabling a new era for robotics that improves efficiency while reducing the risks to humans.

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Technology Trends That Will Dominate 2018

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  1. AI permeation. Artificial intelligence (AI), largely manifesting through machine learning algorithms, isn’t just getting better. It isn’t just getting more funding. It’s being incorporated into a more diverse range of applications. Rather than focusing on one goal, like mastering a game or communicating with humans, AI is starting to make an appearance in almost every new platform, app, or device, and that trend is only going to accelerate in 2018. We’re not at techno-pocalypse levels (and AI may never be sophisticated enough for us to reach that point), but by the end of 2018, AI will become even more of a mainstay in all forms of technology.

  2. Digital centralization. Over the past decade, we’ve seen the debut of many different types of devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and dozens of other “smart” appliances. We’ve also come to rely on lots of individual apps in our daily lives, including those for navigation to even changing the temperature of our house. Consumers are craving centralization; a convenient way to manage everything from as few devices and central locations as possible. Smart speakers are a good step in the right direction, but 2018 may influence the rise of something even better.

  3. 5G preparation. Though tech timelines rarely play out the way we think, it’s possible that we could have a 5G network in place—with 5G phones—by the end of 2019. 5G internet has the potential to be almost 10 times faster than 4G, making it even better than most home internet services. Accordingly, it has the potential to revolutionize how consumers use internet and how developers think about apps and streaming content. 2018, then, is going to be a year of massive preparation for engineers, developers, and consumers, as they gear up for a new generation of internet.

  4. Data overload. By now, every company in the world has realized the awesome power and commoditization of consumer data, and in 2018, data collection is going to become an even higher priority. With consumers talking to smart speakers throughout their day, and relying on digital devices for most of their daily tasks, companies will soon have access to—and start using—practically unlimited amounts of personal data. This has many implications, including reduced privacy, more personalized ads, and possibly more positive outcomes, such as better predictive algorithms in healthcare.

 

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