For some, buying products and services online can feel high-tech and intimidating, you need to scour the internet for coupons and sign up for exclusive or special offer deals amongst a barrage of e-shops and retailers you may have never heard of. It’s even more high-tech for retailers, who need to take advantage of sophisticated software applications, to stay ahead of their rivals and grab a piece of the consumer pie for themselves. Increasingly, this means using the very latest in cutting-edge technology, such as artificial intelligence (or AI) powered by big data and analytics. Al has altered the way ecommerce retailers approach sales as no other technology has. If you are in online retail, you need to understand how AI can help you.

It can help you predict demand

With artificial intelligence and big data, retailers can predict the kinds of products consumers are looking at and manage inventory, distribution, and pricing far more effectively than in previous years. By analysing shopping habits and areas of likely demand, retailers can stock up on just the items they know there will be demand.

Amazon often shows customers images of items related to what they’ve bought or searched previously. They use recommendation engines for this purpose, algorithms such as semantic search, that apply Al to analyse information sets of consumer behaviour to find out what people search for and what they buy. These engines can resolve this information further by connecting it to the budget preferences of every specific consumer. Even smaller retailers can achieve this, and make Amazon-like suggestions to potential customers.

It can help you customise advertising

Al-driven recommendation engines can help businesses predict the market, and in turn, attract more customers by buying pay-per-click advertising for the products they expect to be in demand. Specific data platforms can base recommendations on consumer location (Geo-location), past buying behaviour, and many other data points to learn who wants what, and when. Otherwise, trying to capture this type of data in real-time without such platforms would be almost impossible.

The benefits of big data and artificial intelligence are available to startups, right through to enterprise retailers. Whatever investment you make can usually be recouped quickly through increased sales. Many small retailers who invest in AI software or programs report a doubling of sales. Using these technologies requires merely an ability to understand the future of the industry, and trust in it.