When most of us envision artificial intelligence (AI) we envision the film of the same name that was released in the early 2000’s. Some of us might even recall the HAL 9000 voice from 2001. Of course, these were nothing more than works of vision although they were quite convincing at the time.
While computers are far from becoming self-aware, the fact of the matter is that artificial intelligence has already become an indelible part of our daily lives. Smart home entertainment systems, dedicated mobile phone apps, Amazon Alexa, and auto-complete fields when performing a simple Google search are all examples are AI.
There is no doubt that this technology is here to stay. The main question is how those who operate home-based businesses might be impacted in the coming year. Let’s take a quick look at some interesting predictions and why these methods could very well change the face of online retail sales.
The Notion of Augmented Reality and Its Increased Presence:
We first need to make a note that AI and augmented reality (AR) are rather different in terms of what they are meant to accomplish. Artificial intelligence consists of a series of algorithms designed by humans to enhance the experience of an end user. Common examples include “smart chatbots” and predictive programs to target a customer based off of his or her past purchases. Augmented reality is much more involved with how traditionally static images are displayed.
AR allows users to obtain a three-dimensional view of a specific product (such as a bicycle or a complicated piece of machinery). Being able to achieve this type of visual walkthrough is often essential during the buying process; particularly when referring to discerning customers.
Early examples of this technology include the option to zoom in on the portion of an item (first seen on larger portals such as eBay and Amazon) as well as 3D tours of a virtual apartment before committing to a rental agreement. It is interesting to note that the best home-based business ventures will soon be able to leverage the very same benefits associated with these systems.
Not only will AR provide users with a greater knowledge base when deciding whether or not to purchase a specific item, but incidences when a product is returned will be dramatically decreased. Perhaps more critically, the adoption of this technology signals that the retail portal in question is keen to cater to the needs of its client base through the use of cutting-edge digital concepts; very important when referring to brand presence and identity.
How is AI Changing the Game?
Now that we have examined the potential impact of AR, we will move on to take a look at the low-key (and yet essential) role of artificial intelligence. Many analysts point out that its presence will most likely be witnessed in the evolution of the humble chatbot.
In the past, these widgets were simply meant to supplement sections within a website such as frequently asked questions. Complicated queries would normally be routed to a human representative. While effective at the time, bottlenecks would occur during times of heavy inbound traffic and the solutions provided were not always accurate.
We are now witnessing AI take on what can only be called a rather human level of intelligence (up to a point). Highly advanced algorithms mimic the answers of a real-life representative, so common issues can be dealt with in a timely fashion.
However, we should still point out that this type of AI is not meant to remove humans from the equation. It is rather intended to supplement their efforts while providing the end user with a more targeted experience.
AI can also be seen in several other retail-related systems. One common form is its presence when dealing with automated emails and targeted marketing campaigns. No longer will “blanket” approaches and generic messages be required.
AI is able to collate and interpret big data to the point where it can understand the habits of specific customers. It will therefore present them with only the most relevant information as opposed to spam. Marketing campaigns will be much more discrete in regards to their scope and your efforts will not be wasted on those who have little interest for what you have to offer.
The observations mentioned throughout this article should still be tempered with a slight dose of reality. The evolution of AR and AI will not take place overnight. It is more likely that home-based businesses will see a slow and predictable integration into their current systems.
Still, such protocols will provide you with yet another edge to tap into a lucrative online retail environment. This is why it is worthwhile to work with the latest e-commerce providers such as Shopify and Oberlo, as they always strive to remain one step ahead of the competition.