There’s a lot of excitement surrounding AI and what it can do for us, with some of its best use cases helping entrepreneurs and small business owners. While AI is being respected for the disruptor that it is, it’s also leveling the playing field for those who run e-commerce and similar retail websites. Here are the main applications of new generative AI that help online stores.
Chatbots & Customer Service
Let’s start with the obvious one. The first big generative AI product on the scene was ChatGPT – OpenAI’s sophisticated large language model which can create copy and other written information, framed through a conversation with the AI itself. In essence, ChatGPT is one of the best chatbots/virtual assistants we have today.
When the online retail sector grew, the demand for fast and effective customer service followed. This wasn’t unique to e-commerce – many larger businesses pay entire teams of people to help manage customer communications. Customer service is important for online businesses, no matter if they’re retail sites offering physical goods or purely digital experiences, like social media or iGaming where customers play bingo jackpot games instead.
When a client is playing games like Monsters Unchained or Deal Or No Deal for real money, they need to have queries answered fast and accurately. However, there’s a difference between a large casino website run by a company and an e-commerce store run by one person.
That’s why chatbots became a favorite of entrepreneurs; they cut costs and broke down the resource barrier that stopped smaller businesses from scaling. Having been around for years, chatbots were very basic, checking in with idle users and taking their queries and complaints. They were slowly getting better over time, but with GPT we see a huge leap in competence.
Shopify has already integrated ChatGPT into its app, with OpenAI licensing it out to other companies too. Combined with other AI tools like voice generation, some speculate that AI could not just act as a chatbot but also respond to calls in real-time.
Business Operations & Automation
Related to but often overshadowed by generative AI, operational AI is an emerging field of tools that aim for real-world, commercial applications. Put simply, it doesn’t create new content like generative AI, it analyzes existing content and predicts trends, automates processes, and makes other changes that can save time. It can be a gift for those obsessed with data-driven decision-making.
Feeding operational AI metrics from your e-commerce store can help by identifying ideal pricing options or which products/services rake in the most conversions. Then you can tailor your marketing and offers to double down on what your clients like.
By using current data, these AI can speculate on future data trends, to varying success. As the technology gets better and automation becomes easier for the average entrepreneur to implement, e-commerce spaces will thrive by allowing webmasters to focus on other aspects of the business.
Sourcing Products & Negotiations
If you’re sourcing your own products in your e-commerce store, you’ll know it can eat up a lot of time. It takes a lot of work and a lot of emails to establish a supply chain, complete with distribution and storage if needed. Fortunately, AI can help with this process too.
Walmart is using AI to negotiate with some of its vendors.
Walmart said it’s successfully reached deals with about 68% of suppliers approached, with an avg. savings of 3% on contracts handled via computer since introducing the program in early 2021. pic.twitter.com/HRnM1M7jc0
— Morning Brew ☕️ (@MorningBrew) April 28, 2023
Using a third-party AI, Walmart have been using AI to negotiate with its suppliers. The tool they use takes in their parameters – their budget, retail price, level of stock – and crunches the numbers against the demand for items, cost of competitors, and other trends that could surround the order.
Using these, it automatically negotiates with vendors to get a workable price tag for incoming supply, saving entrepreneurs money and time. A system like this can work in the background, procuring supply so that there’s never a dry spell in your warehouses. For solopreneurs, it can be a game changer, though this application of AI is still relatively new and being worked on.