New Report on ai eCommerce from BI Intelligence

There’s a new report out from Business Intelligence titled – AI in E-Commerce. Here are a couple of the attention grabbing notes:
  • Using AI to personalize the customer journey could be a huge value-add to retailers.
  • Retailers that have implemented personalization strategies see sales gains of 6-10%, a rate two to three times faster than other retailers, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). 
  • It could also boost profitability rates 59% in the wholesale and retail industries by 2035, according to Accenture. 

7 Examples of AI in Retail and e-Commerce (Nanalyze)

Our friends at CB Insights have developed a new infographic titled “Artificial Intelligence in Commerce Market Map.” As usual, they’ve done a really nice job, and I’ve discovered a few new companies that I’ll review in the coming weeks. 

I know it’s extremely difficult to include every vendor in the ai eCommerce space; however, there were a few missing that I expected to see: Sentient, BoomTrain, Cloud-IQ, LiftIgniter, Neowize, WACUL, Apptus. Check out this post with infographic that I wrote in April titled “Top10 Data Points for AI eCommerce.” 

Here are a few key points from the post:
  • “Proving once again that there isn’t a space that can’t be reshaped by AI, our friends at CB Insights mapped the startups disrupting retail and e-commerce using artificial intelligence (AI). Syncing online and real-world inventories is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to converting retail to a 21st-century endeavor. The applications are broad enough, in fact, that CBO’s map covers 11 different categories.”
  • “The Baymard Institute was nice enough to compile the average of 37 different studies on shopping cart abandonment and found that 69 percent of shoppers did not complete the purchase in their cart. That is a problem hungry for a solution.”
  • (Granify) “The company promises its customers an incremental revenue gain of 3 to 5 percent within 90 days. “
  • (Reflektion) “By modeling millions of users every day and predicting with high confidence what customers will do next, the software responds to real-time individual shopper intent, increasing conversions and revenue by +20%.”

The Chatbot Challenge (

Late yesterday I set out on a mission. My goal…to find a handful of companies promoting their chatbot through a call-to-action on their website.
As it turns out…NO. It’s not easy at all. There are plenty of companies promoting their chatbots on their Facebook pages, but that’s a given…table-stakes.
To narrow my search, I decided to start with large companies that have highly ranked chatbots within the “Discover” tab of Facebook Messenger. I searched the websites for Subway, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fandango, Capital One, The Weather Channel, Nike, Kohls, Sears, 1-800-Flowers, Sephoria, Walgreens, Petco, Walmart, ESPN, Kayak…and many more.
I checked homepages, footer links, help, support, customer service, pages related to mobile…you name it…and I found nothing…zero. So, as a last ditch effort, I performed a simple search for the term “chatbot” on a handful sites…but still no luck.

Then, like a mid-day solar eclipse, I found the holy grail at I discovered that they’re promoting their Messenger Chatbot on their homepage (image below). In fact, they have provided it with one of THE highest traffic placements on the entire homepage…directly adjacent to the Search feature.

So, here’s your mission, if you accept the challenge. Try to find a call-to-action on a website driving traffic to a chatbot. The examples can be as deep and hidden as you’d like, but placements on the company Facebook page do not count.

Good Luck   

ai eCommerce News – Aug 16

Image Credit:

  • “Gregg Johnson, CEO of Invoca said, “People are using voice to interact with the world around them more than ever, and they’re using mobile phones, home devices and even landlines to call businesses at staggering rates.”
  • ‘Customer conversations have been an underused, yet valuable, data source for marketers as they seek to meet and even predict the subtlest of consumer needs and intents. Brands will differentiate themselves from the competition by leveraging rich insights from conversations to optimize digital marketing investments and improve the customer experience.’”

  • “For ecommerce managers looking to implement AI into their own product information management, it will be important to minimise disruption to their existing processes. They need to identify solutions that do not impact on their existing architectural landscape…
  • AI solutions can go a long way to helping online retailers make better use of the vast amounts of additional unstructured data that is being collected and stored but not utilised to its full potential. Those same algorithms that are being taught to recognise and categorise products, can also be applied to many other back office functions within retail operations, that are simply too cumbersome to be managed by humans.”

  • “AnswerDash takes this one step further and they use the customer’s context, i.e. which page you are on or where you are in a mobile app etc, to predict your most likely question and the answer you need given your context.
  • On AnswerDash’s website it says that taking their approach can “reduce your support tickets by 30% to 50% and increase sales by 10% to 30%”.
  • TireBuyer is an online car tyre company in the United States. They wanted to improve their customers buying experience so only installed AnswerDash on their checkout page. The team at TireBuyer ran an A/B test and found that AnswerDash’s technology allowed them to increase revenue per visitor by 13% within only a few months.
  • Around 60% of all calls into your contact centre or emails into your support desk come about as a result of a customer not being able to find what they are looking for on your website.”

    • “In an effort to raise the bar on the consumer experience, many in the retail industry have slowly begun integrating more aspects of AI, including machine learning and natural language processing. What AI essentially does for retailers is help them to improve customer service. AI enables retailers to learn more about consumer preferences by having technology perform tasks that would typically require some level of human intelligence.
    • Artifical intelligence startup Fluid AI’s CEO Abhinav Agarwal commented on how these new types of sites will help move the ball for consumers and retailers. ‘Fully-cognitive websites will drastically change buying behavior and selection,’ said Agarwal. ‘We see the average spend of a buyer, per session, significantly increasing with these websites. Cognitive sites take consumers through a much smarter funnel, allowing them to buy before user fatigue starts to kick in or the user gets distracted.'”

    • “WeChat, the WhatsApp of China emerged in 2011 as a social platform offering free chat, voice messaging, photo sharing and gaming.
    • By 2016 WeChat secured its position as the largest messaging app by MAU (monthly active users) of 889M(in China). There are many reasons for this. However, to a large extent it is because it is the go-to app for almost everything in China.
    • A person could use WeChat for hailing a cab, booking a doctor’s appointment, paying the water bill or simply buying the latest dress that is trending. That’s because WeChat has an API that lets businesses integrate with it and market themselves in myriad ways. Most transactions happen within WeChat without ever having to go out of it.
    • As a result, more than 10 Million business accounts currently exist in it, some exclusively without any website presence. They directly converse and transact with their customers, all of it happening within the same environment.”

    • “The update lets iOS users snap a photo of a garment or fashion accessory with their device camera or pull in an existing outfit shot or Instagram screengrab (say) from their camera roll and have the app show clothes items that are at least in the general fashion ballpark of whatever it is they’re trying to find.
    • Asos says the visual search will be rolled out to their Android app “soon”.
    • The company says 80 per cent of UK traffic for ASOS comes from a mobile device, as do almost 70 per cent of UK orders — with consumers spending 80 minutes per month on average in the app.” teams with Baidu in AI and big data play

    • The partnership comes at a significant time for both companies. Baidu is investing heavily in AI technology and applications as it looks to strengthen its position as an AI-first company, while is looking to increase its market share in the ecommerce market as it gains ground on rival Alibaba.”

      Retails last resort? Extreme Personalization by Sameer Patel

      “Brands are still batching and blasting emails in the hopes that they will make it up in the numbers. Mobile, Email, Web and offline presence are treated as disconnected channels…
      • 91% of us unsubscribe from emails (Salesforce)
      • 44% of direct mail is never opened (NewsCred)
      • 60% of us opt out of mobile push notifications (Kahuna)
      • Over $280 billion is abandoned in digital shopping carts, every year (Google)
      Jeff Bezos devoted his recent shareholder letter to four topics and one of them was the use of machine learning and AI. As Bezos points out in the letter:
      ‘Much of what we do with machine learning happens beneath the surface. Machine learning drives our algorithms for demand forecasting, product search ranking, product and deals recommendations, merchandising placements, fraud detection, translations, and much more.’
      And as a result…
      ‘It’s a virtuous cycle that allows Amazon to highly personalize its offerings, better predict what consumers want next, and pursue innovations at high velocity. All of this translates into competitive advantage for the ecommerce giant.’”

      Digital Operative Partners with Sentient

      With the addition of Ascend to its suite of strategic partners, Digital Operative is now able to implement AI-based CRO tests, an alternative to A/B and multivariate solutions, which will facilitate increased revenue and conversions for clients. Ascend allows marketers to test multiple hypotheses on a website, from small changes like the color of a button to large-scale design and user experience (UX) modifications, and Ascend’s AI evolves the optimal combination of these modifications to achieve the best conversion and revenue results. Features of Ascend include: 
      • The ability to set up multiple experiments at once
      • Single page or multiple page testing options
      • Single page application support
      • The ability to test dozens of ideas, and thousands or even millions of page designs, over a short period of time
      • The discovery of unexpected interactions between elements based on AI, and not on human intellect

      Infographic: Chatbots & Customer Experience (Blake Morgan)

      • “Some predict that bots are the new apps…Consumers are overwhelmed with apps, and they prefer to converse on the messenger apps they’re already on. If you think about it this is a natural progression, considering that messaging is the root of all mobile communication. 50% of U.S. mobile users haven’t downloaded an app in the last year, but billions of people are already using messaging apps.”
      • “One of the reasons the chatbot has so much potential for businesses is its ability to scale. In 2016, 1.6 billion people used mobile messaging apps. That number is expected to reach 2 billion people, or 80% of all smartphone users, in 2018.” 

      Click for full infographic and post.

      ai eCommerce News Aug 6, 2017

      “Marketer interest in voice search is downright palpable in some circles. Fresh off a tour of client visits in Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis, 360i’s Belsky reports that ‘every CMO, every vp of marketing and, especially, every ecommerce client is asking about this subject first and foremost. And they have three questions. ‘What should I do to prepare for when voice is the driver of ecommerce?’ The second one is, ‘What content do I have to think about to increase my chances to be the preferred answer with these devices?’ And, ‘Will all my search budget one day migrate onto these devices?’ There’s not obvious answers to any of these questions. Being early to all of this means you get the spoils.’”
      “It’s time to talk cash. The research shows consumers are ready to spend real money while interacting with a chatbot. On average, millennials (26 to 36 years old) would be willing to spend $618 via a chatbot… According to the study, One in five (21%) UK consumers would consider purchasing goods and services from a chatbot.’ This is a goldmine for ecommerce businesses looking for new ways to attract, entertain, and monetize an audience. It’s no wonder giants like Walmart are using AI to enhance a shopping experience, and it’s just the beginning.”
      “The answer lies in the reliability of retailer data. McClure explains that this was one of the first problems the company encountered. “One retailer might give us amazing data and another could give us the same set of products but with awful data,” he said, continuing, “We use a text based classification tool, training various models with both positive and negative examples…However, he does note, when discussing the calculation of customer lifetime value, that “having your data in the right format” is key. As retailers seek to improve their data infrastructure and use reliable data, the machine learning part is much more achievable.”

      Payment processor PayPal (PYPL) has participated in a $5.27 million financing round for e-commerce technology firm Cloud IQ. Cloud IQ has developed an online platform to help websites more efficiently convert visitors to paying customers. PayPal is beginning to increase its investment pace in new technologies and startup companies, something with which I strongly agree, as the financial services industry continues to evolve at an increasing pace.

      Linnworks Infographic: 6 Lucrative Ways to Use Big Data in eCommerce

      I’d like to share this infographic produced by Linnworks titled “6 Lucrative Ways to Use Big Data in eCommerce.” They’ve done a really nice job and the content is well written. The only potential gap is the fact that they don’t mention the importance of AI (artificial intelligence) and the role that it plays in leveraging big data to accomplish the 6 goals. You’ll notice that both retailers (Amazon and Walmart) and every company generating the data (Google, Facebook, YouTube, SnapChat) are all of the forefront of developing and implementing AI technology. The power and the lift is generated by combining AI + Big Data.