Commerce moved beyond brick-and-mortar stores, seized the online space, and is steadily crippling into mobile. Modern online shopping offers unparalleled flexibility of access and selection of available interfaces. You can shop away while on a bus. You can buy your next favorite gadget while relaxing on a lawn on a beautiful sunny day.
That’s why mobile commerce is such a fast-growing niche that caters specifically to smartphone users and their respective app ecosystems. According to Statista, by 2021, 54% of the US retail commerce will be generated via mobile commerce.
Mobile commerce has its own playbook where AI has one of the major roles. For this reason, retailers are turning to AI consulting to adjust to the new ‘smart’ reality.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most promising applications of AI and machine learning in mobile commerce to find out how businesses can leverage them today.
Smartphones have limited real estate that, in the case of online stores, is often taken up by product images dispersed across endless pages. In case your site navigation is not intuitive enough, users will turn to search to find the page they need. Here is where AI can help you customize this function.
Companies like Twiggle offer AI-powered ecommerce search built to accommodate shopping queries and provide rich product context depending on them. It is being backed by big names, like Alibaba, so you know they mean business.
Swiftype is a similar product endorsed by big commerce names, like Shopify. It offers enterprise search solutions as well, so companies that have a POS system and offline venues can improve their UX as well.
However, search on mobile goes much further than that. People are getting comfortable with using voice search on mobile via personal AI assistants, such as Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa, for different purposes. For example, according to Edison Research, 22% of the US smart speaker owners have made purchases via their devices.
That’s why companies like Voysis are trying to enter the market with unique products geared toward mobile shoppers. Companies like Celebros offer ready-made site search solutions that are powered by machine learning to deliver natural language search that gets better as more people use this function.
All of us have at least one messaging app on our smartphones. Most millennials do everything to avoid calls, so messaging is now the preferred way of communication.
AI fits perfectly in this ecosystem with chatbots and digital assistants. These solutions are starting to successfully replace customer care representatives and even sales managers by informing customers and helping them make purchases over their smartphones. Chatbots free up resources by adding a layer of automation to various internal and customer-facing processes.
There are three different types of chatbots depending on their complexity:
- AI-based interfaces that can profoundly understand particular tasks
- Rule-based chatbots that can respond to specific pre-determined questions or act based on a user’s input, but only if that input is recognized
- AI and machine-learning-powered chatbots that can identify the context of the discussion to participate in it.
Let’s take a look at some of the notable AI-based chatbots that were designed specifically with digital commerce in mind.
BotCommerce is a chatbot designed to work with Magento and Shopify stores. Its features include customer matching and order tracking commands to cover the basic needs of a small online store.
Letsclap offers a CRM system for customer care and sales with an in-built chatbot, where you can see chats performed by bots and reassign conversations. Netomi is a robust platform for conversational commerce that can reach your customers through practically any messaging solution. It’s fully integrated with some of the most adopted sales management systems like ZenDesk and Salesforce.
Consumption of visual content, such as images and videos, is one of the core functions people use their smartphones for.
When it comes to image processing AI, then we talk image recognition. For example, Amazon and ASOS both have AI-powered tools that work like Shazam for clothes. Users upload an outfit image to the app, and the tool uses machine learning to match the look in the image to similar items found in the store.
At the same time, there aren’t that many direct AI applications for video content. Videos are dynamic and require considerable processing power, even for a human. So, machines also struggle with actual video analysis that would work in a meaningful way for mobile commerce marketers, at least for now.
However, there are companies that are trying to break that barrier. Affectiva is a startup app that recognizes human faces and tries to interpret their mood via a video link. So, presumably, you can have someone watch your product video and use Affectiva to analyze the emotions that this person was experiencing while watching it. The tool uses smartphone sensors and camera to identify these patterns. The premise is a bit creepy, though, as you’ll essentially have a machine watching you.
There are tons of potential AI applications in mobile commerce. Some of them are limited by the technology, like video content, and some haven’t been implemented yet, or even envisioned.
It’s important to understand that the line between ecommerce and mobile commerce is almost gone. Google made it clear that a website should work fluidly both on desktop and mobile. This way, mobile commerce and ecommerce merge to become just commerce.
That’s why AI applications will eventually become an integral part of any technology. For example, voice commands will become more common as users will get even more used to Siri, Alexa, and other digital assistants. Nobody would want to go into a chat window and type something in. It’s going to be easier just to ‘ask your website’ for help.
Seamless experiences that work across all platforms and a variety of media are going to be a standard for online shopping, powered by the ever-growing potential of AI and cloud computing. As you can see, we’re well on the way there with the explosion of AI applications that augment online shopping and selling experiences and transform the velocity of commerce.