The second reason chatbots and voice assistants are likely to make notable change is that we’re seeing businesses looking to maximize their cost-efficiency by streamlining their operations. Both of these factors combined explain the rise in popularity of AI bots providing the experience of a personal assistant, be it a chatbot or a voice assistant.
Last Christmas, millions of people purchased Alexa products, and sales of Echo speakers increased ninefold. Currently, one in five people would consider making purchases through a bot and would spend an average of £500 ($598.34) using AI to make purchases. Gartner predicts that AI bots will power more than four in five customer service interactions (85 percent) by 2020.
Voice-activated virtual assistants are present in a lot of devices and while their functions overlap, they all have their own isolated and defined ecosystems. But a collaboration between Amazon and Microsoft will not only change that, it will potentially have a big impact on the future of eCommerce.
The collaboration between the companies will allow Alexa and Cortana to talk to one another, giving Windows 10 users the capacity to access Alexa’s skills by giving voice commands to Cortana. Meanwhile, Alexa will be able to assist Amazon Echo users to stay on top of all the appointments and reminders that Cortana has gathered.
It’s just the nature of the business. With all of the excitement surrounding innovative solutions and emerging platforms and hardware, tech developers and consumers, alike, are constantly looking ahead. However, constantly living in the future tense somewhat blinds us to the growth that occurs in certain avenues like ecommerce. According to a study by the International Trade Administration, ecommerce is expected to grow by 30.7 percent in 2017, which is an incredible figure when you think about the scope of the industry.
The ecommerce giant has been ramping up its connected devices portfolio ever since it outed the original Echo smart speaker in November 2014 — a device we dubbed “a tad baffling, but also intriguing” at the time.
The speaker went on to become something of a surprise hit for Amazon, whose prior mobile hardware forays had badly flopped. And while it has never broken out Echo sales figures, it’s clear the idea of a smart speaker has excited huge interest from industry, dovetailing with rising hype around voice interfaces as the next big user interaction shift, as computing becomes increasingly embedded into the environment where it might not be viable (or desirable) to have lots of screens.
AI technology can also help combine the efficiency often associated with online browsing with the immediate access physical stores provide. For example, groceries can utilize mobile apps that would allow clients to check what they need online, scan a barcode, order the products and check them out without having to go through the checkout line. This type of efficiency allows busy shoppers to finish their task with no interruptions and will undoubtedly keep them going back to that store.