AI in Ecommerce: What's on the Horizon?

Julia Koelsch // Digital Strategy
Illustration of ecommerce in the digital age

There's a lot of chatter about ChatGPTLaMDA, and other artificial intelligence toolsets right now. Will these toolsets put us out of work, or is the worry overhyped? Should you update your Facebook profile picture with a Magic Avatar?

As with all new technology with the potential to disrupt the status quo, the impact of AI on society won’t look exactly like what we imagine. As we learn more about the capabilities of these technologies and think creatively about their uses, we can apply them to automate repetitive tasks and simplify processes, allowing organizations to focus resources and time on higher-level work. 

One area that is already evolving today based on AI technology is ecommerce. It’s an excellent example of an established business practice starting to incorporate AI technologies to improve internal business processes and enhance the customer experience. Take a look at some of these implementations, described below:

Improved Customer Experience

AI can personalize the shopping experience for customers. AI-powered chatbots can answer questions, make recommendations, and provide support. The latest generation of AI chatbots combines natural language processing with machine learning to enable human-like conversations with customers. These chatbots can quickly analyze data and user behaviors to inform their support and communication in nuanced ways. Taking previous order information, chatbots can direct consumers to recommendations, conduct the entire transaction in chat, and provide answers and support for more complex purchase journeys.

Increased Efficiency

AI can automate repetitive tasks, such as product categorization and data entry, freeing up valuable time for businesses to focus on other areas. Products like Google’s Document AI enhance standard optical character recognition (OCR) functionality by providing the ability to quickly train machine-learning models to extract data from several digital and physical inputs correctly.

AI tools can go even further by helping companies to create and design products more efficiently and aiding product managers in responding more quickly and with more information during the product lifecycle. AI in product management has progressed so much that you can earn a Specialization in it through Coursera. 

Enhanced Fraud Detection

AI can analyze vast amounts of data to identify fraudulent activity and reduce the risk of chargebacks and lost revenue. The ability to predict and head off fraudulent behavior before it happens continues to mature and evolve.

Optimized Marketing

AI can analyze customer data, such as purchase history and browsing behavior, to create more effective marketing campaigns and increase conversion rates. Platforms like Salesforce EinsteinAdobe Sensei, and IBM Watson combine predictive behavior with marketing automation to ensure the right message gets to the right consumer at the right time. 

Inventory Management

AI can help ecommerce businesses manage their inventory more efficiently, reducing the risk of stockouts and overstocks. AI can look at trends worldwide to make up-to-date recommendations on inventory management.

Predictive Analytics

AI can predict future trends, customer behavior, and market changes, allowing ecommerce businesses to make informed decisions and stay ahead of the competition.


With the news that Microsoft and Google are adding AI features to their search technology, we are on the cusp of significant changes in how we search the internet. Search engine optimization (SEO) will be dramatically impacted; in-site search tools will most likely also be affected. Tools like Vespa, a search engine engineered to support machine learning, are available today to power next-generation search capabilities. 

AI is here. Use it wisely.

These are just a few examples of how AI technology is already part of today's ecommerce landscape. Understanding how AI is used today can help businesses envision the trajectory of change in the future for their own planning. As with any new technology, using AI effectively means analyzing what makes sense for your business and incorporating technologies into your digital roadmap thoughtfully and purposefully.

Create a plan to deliver short-term wins and achieve your long-term goals by using a digital scorecard to measure your digital maturity and transform the way you do business.