3 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Revolutionising Ecommerce

3 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Revolutionising Ecommerce

The latest craze in technology is artificial intelligence or AI, and it’s not the kind that threatens to eradicate the human race. AI is mostly being used by big companies like Google, Amazon and other search-based websites to enrich our searching experience and give customer the closest thing to what they have in their heads when they search.

One of the realms in which AI is making bold new changes is e-commerce. Global e-commerce sales topped 1$ trillion in 2012 and the revenue continues to grow, with the US leading the sales with $384 billion in 2013.

Here are a few ways AI is changing the face of e-commerce.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is exactly what it sounds like. Machines gather data and use algorithms to make sense of it so that predictions can be made for future investments. This is essentially what marketing analysts do, but at a much bigger scope and with larger ramifications.

Google has been at the forefront of machine learning, using it to update its search algorithms. When users put in search terms, machine learning stores the countless number of searches made by everyone using google into a database. The algorithms are inputted to consider the optimum results of these searches (i.e. did the customer find what they were look for?) and the algorithms teach the search engine how to improve things in the future.

Where e-commerce is concerned, this is all about finding the right item. In fashion for example, machine learning will help users receive search results that cater to their size, preference of colour, the brands they like and anything else that becomes a factor in online shopping.


One way that machine learning becomes visible to customers is through product recommendations. Popular with services like Netflix, recommendations appear as ways to keep consuming, claiming ‘if you liked this you should try these’.

AI plays a role in this when it considers customer feedback, understands whether the needs were met by the customer on a particular product and recommends similar things. A lot of the time however, these recommendations aren’t as useful as they could be, recommending essentially the same product to the one you just already bought, simply suggesting you buy two. As AI becomes more sophisticated, it will be able to predict our future needs based on previous purchases, becoming more like a personal shopping assistant instead of targetless advertising.

Thought Vectors

This is a new one. Thought vector technology ambitiously aims to increase the understanding a piece of software has of a sentence or an image. Instead of identifying keywords or locating synonyms to produce an accurate search, thought vectors enable search engines to understand the concepts behind a search or a lengthy document. Basically, machines will be thinking and analysing similar to the way human beings do.

When it comes to eCommerce, thought vectors will help databases understand how its customers are behaving, because our thinking patterns will be more similar to theirs. The potentialities of AI in eCommerce are boundless and, as it stands, will only continue to benefit customers.