ai eCommerce News – Oct 25

Image credit: Norcal.news
  • “Artificial intelligence may be your lifeline in the lead up to Black Friday’s sheer madness. No matter how good you are at multitasking or marketing, there’s no way to keep track of all of the consumer data that determines whether people are likely to convert. This doesn’t mean, however, that the relevant information doesn’t exist. You just have to increase your capability to process it all.
  • AI tools like Sentient Aware augment your outreach power in a few crucial ways, including
    • Collecting information about users from the instant they interact with your omnichannel brand footprint,
    • Integrating performance data to help you understand the pain points associated with using your pages, such as slow load times,
    • Segmenting your visitors by device to discover whether you could be doing more to accommodate busy consumers”

  • “The greatest challenge facing Box in its AI push could prove a variation of the “garbage in, garbage out” problem. In that challenge, algorithms trained on low quality data sets learn bad insights – they spot patterns or make inferences that are incorrect, limited by the quality of the information available. Box will face a similar challenge by outsourcing the machine learning and AI tools in its platform, says Gartner analyst Darin Stewart. Quality and capability could vary widely working with third parties, he says, adding that Box will need to carefully monitor what it chooses to expose to customers. Box is also not alone in pushing into AI among content management players, says Forester Research analyst Cheryl McKinnon. ‘AI and machine learning will be the big area of disruption in 2018 – so the ability to move quickly and deliver real value to customers will be key.'”

  • “Amazon has announced it will open a research center in Germany that’s focused on developing artificial intelligence to improve the customer experience. Amazon wants to create over a hundred high-skilled jobs in machine learning at this new Amazon Research Center.
  • The goal of the new research hub is to use artificial intelligence (AI) so the ecommerce company can better understand visual data and, as a result, improve the customer experience across the different products and services Amazon has to offer, such as Amazon Web Service and its AI assistant Alexa.”

  • “At Pinterest, Fan has led efforts to launch products like Lens, a computer vision-powered tool for image searches and ecommerce, and Shop the Look, which also made its debut earlier this year. Shop the Look places a blue dot on images that, when clicked, displays recommendations of similar items available for purchase.
  • “From the baseline, we noticed that merchants that are part of a partnership for Shop the Look, they’ve seen double clickthrough-rate to ecommerce sites and 2 to 6 times engagement on Pinterest of their product,” she said.”

  • “Walmart.com is bigger than you might think. The site has 60 million items for sale, Walmart CTO Jeremy King said at the VB Summit in Berkeley, California today.
  • That’s up from 700,000 items when he joined Walmart in 2011, and it doesn’t include Jet.com, the ecommerce site Walmart acquired last year. Online sales have also made notable gains: The company reported a 67 percent year-over-year increase in quarterly online sales for the three months ending in June of this year. (That revenue growth was helped by Walmart’s Jet acquisition, though the company said the majority of its gains were organic.)
  • The secret to the expansion in inventory, said King, is artificial intelligence.”

  • “Kroger has revealed a new initiative, dubbed Restock Kroger, that aims to build out its e-commerce and omnichannel businesses, Internet Retailer reports. Kroger is the second-largest grocer in the US, and appears to recognize that a revamp of its digital options is in order if it’s to maintain that position. The initiative is expected to cost $9 billion over the next three years.
  • This is part of Kroger’s ongoing effort to provide quality online and omnichannel grocery options. Kroger had already planned to expand its online grocery pickup offering to 1,000 stores by the end of 2017, and has acquired multiple retailers with e-commerce value, as well as several technology companies. With online grocery projected to account for 20% of all grocery by 2025, Kroger is likely trying to position itself as a viable grocer both online and in-store.”

  • “By now it is a statement of fact that automation will take a hefty 30 percent bite out of the sector’s workforce of around two million while largely preserving the profit margins of these companies.
  • Almost all of them — Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Cognizant — have slashed jobs in India and are hiring less in the country while snapping up more workers in the US and investing large amounts of money there in “centers of innovation.” The hot new areas of AI and data sciences require fewer bodies and are mostly found overseas so this isn’t helping the prospects of domestic tech employees.”

Here’s What’s Next for Retail – Ray Blanco

  • Last week the retail conference Shoptalk, a veritable “who’s who” list of retail execs and industry experts, was held in Copenhagen, Sweden. The hands-down dominating consensus coming out of the conference was that artificial intelligence will play an integral role in traditional retail’s future success. “The clear takeaway is adapt or die….”, remarked one Shoptalk attendee.
  • EBay’s chief product officer put it like this…“It’s bigger than the web and the mobile revolution combined. By 2020 if we’re not engaged with this technology and making it a meaningful part of our businesses – we are braindead.”

ai eCommerce News Oct 18

  • “eBay ShopBot, which launched in October 2016, was an attempt to battle the ongoing decline in eBay’s gross merchandise volume and to increase marketplace awareness. RJ Pittman, the Chief Product Officer of eBay, said in an interview with Forbes that Shopbot had created an opportunity for eBay to reach a new group of shoppers through Facebook Messenger, one of the top messaging applications.
  • According to a recent BI Intelligence report, more than 200 million users in China have added payments information into WeChat, a popular messaging application, and WeChat’s parent company now holds 37% market share of the Chinese mobile payment market.”

  • “Mobile marketers face a challenge in converting browsers into paying customers, especially compared with consumers who use desktop computers to make purchases. Conversion rates on desktop are more than double that of mobile, 3.35% on desktop vs. 1.61% on mobile, according to Qubit’s analysis of 35 fashion and cosmetics brands since 2017.
  • Some retailers have looked at integrating visual search as a way to drive mobile conversions. By leveraging AI to make it easy for mobile users to discover new products and make a purchase, Qubit hopes to address the challenge for e-commerce retailers hoping to convert new customers. Early testers are optimistic about the potential, with Wolf & Badger, which has over 30,000 products on its site, reporting it is seeing conversion rate uplifts of 3.6% on mobile after implementing Qubit Aura.”

  • “Ometria, a customer marketing platform which says it’s “AI-powered” has raised $6m in Series A funding. US-based Summit Action led the round, along with an investment syndicate backed by individuals with roles inside some key retailers. Ometria has now raised a total of $11m to accelerate the development of its customer marketing platform, which, it claims, enables retailers to send individually personalised marketing messages across several brand touchpoints.
  • Ometria’s main competitors are spread across companies like email service providers (Emarsys, Sailthru, Selligent, Bronto, Dotmailer), behavioral marketing tools (CloudIQ, SaleCycle, Yieldify) and customer insight companies (More2, AgileOne). Its argument is that none of these companies were developed specifically for retail, or to create and use a unified predictive profile of each customer.”

  • “Despite all the media buzz about artificial intelligence (AI) and connected commerce reshaping the retail world, nearly half of retailers with an online presence are not yet using these tools — and moreover, many of them have no plans to start. That’s according to an eCommerce “Performance Indicators and Confidence Report” by SLI Systems, which, on a quarterly basis, surveys more than 200 mid-size retailers with a range of business models to gauge where eCommerce may be moving in the near future.
  • And, when only approximately 20 percent of the consumer base owns or has used a voice-activated assistant for shopping, perhaps retailers’ reluctance to invest in these technologies is prudent. Why dump tons of money into making things a little easier for one-fifth of the population, when those budget dollars could be serving the 58 percent of consumers who have not tried — and don’t plan to try — voice shopping?
  • The numbers seem to indicate that all the hype about AI in retail may be just that: hype. But, SLI believes there’s another word for these middling adoption rates: opportunity.”


16% Of Retailers Using AI, 20% Plan To Add In Next Year (Chuck Martin)

“A new survey of 234 mid-size online retail merchants globally conducted by SLI Systems…Here are the uses of AI by retailers including, those already in use and those planned in the next 12 months:
56% — Personalized product recommendations
41% — Customer service requests
35% — Chatbots

Almost a quarter (24%) of retailers said they don’t understand how AI can be applied to commerce and while more than a third (39%) said they understand AI’s commerce applications, they weren’t sure how it applied to their businesses.” View Full Post

AI Perspectives – "Have" vs "Have-Not"

“Amplero, a Seattle-based, artificial intelligence marketing technology provider, decided to find out. It commissioned Forrester to conduct a study on attitudes about the use of AI in marketing. Forrester polled 150 North American technology decision makers working at B2C companies.
It turns out the have-nots have a better view of AI than the haves.
For example: 64% of the have-nots believe it can help them identify their target audience. Only 37% think that. Similarly, 63% of the have-nots are convinced that AI can help drive marketing personalization. Only 44% of the presumably sadder and wiser haves agree.
Here are a few more disparities:
  • 53% of the have-nots believe AI will better match campaigns/offers to the correct target. Only 24% of the haves think so.
  • 53% of the have-nots think AI can improve campaign efficiency, vs. 35% of the haves.
  • 51% of the have-nots say AI will drive revenue growth, compared with 36% of the haves.”

Retailers & AI – CSA

“In a move to step up their customer experiences, more retailers are embracing artificial intelligence (AI). This was according to the third quarterly ‘2017 E-commerce Performance Index,’ a report from SLI Systems.
  • 54% of companies reported they are using or plan to add AI in the future
  • 20% expect to add AI within the next 12 months

The most popular applications for AI — among both existing retail users and those that plan to use AI within the next 12 months – are:
  • 56% – personalized product recommendations
  • 41% – customer service requests
  • 35% – chatbots

Of those planning to implement AI:
  • 13% plan to build their own technology
  • 60% will buy existing technology
  • 27% expect to blend build and buy”

ai eCommerce News – Oct 3

“Stradigi Labs will be led by lab co-founder and chief science officer Carolina Bessega, who has over 20 years of experience working in machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, data augmentation, and neural networks. Bessega tells BetaKit that she had been working on neural networks in 2002 at the Universidad Central de Venezuela.
The lab will work in two ways: it will support early-stage companies with access to its venture arm, industry advisors, and space to build out a scalable company; or it will incubate its own ideas in-house, working with advisors to identify problems. Once an idea has reached maturity, Stradigi decides whether to spin it off into its own company or find business licensing opportunities.”
“It’s not clear exactly what Amazon intends to do with Body Labs but there are plenty of potential use-cases that mesh with and could extend its existing business interests if the startup has the tech chops to deliver accurate 3D body models at scale.
For example, as well as selling other brands’ clothes via its ecommerce marketplace, Amazon has been ramping up its own fashion business in recent years, expanding and growing its private label fashion brands.
Being able to offer custom fit could give Amazon’s private label fashion brands an edge, even as improving sizing predictions generally for Amazon shoppers could help drive clothes shopping across its platform and help shrink returns from clothes that don’t fit.”
“Malicious hackers and security breaches that have exposed personal information of millions of people have pushed the issue of online security into the spotlight, not just for individuals but for organizations that do business with them. Now a company called Onfido, which has built a way to help websites verify people’s identities using a photo-based identity document, a selfie and artificial intelligence algorithms, has raised $30 million to seize the opportunity.”