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Artificial intelligence and e-commerce: what challenges do merchants expect?

For their second year of partnership, KPMG and FEVAD publish a study on the impact of artificial intelligence in e-commerce. The two institutes have looked at the role of AI in the various applications related to e-commerce: marketing, logistics management, customer experience etc.


AI in e-commerce: the road will be long

It should be known that e-commerce continues to grow in Europe. According to the latest study of FEVAD, more and more Internet users buy online, at a higher frequency and for a larger budget each year. In a context of significant growth in online commerce and the profusion of data available, commercial sites see artificial intelligence as one of the main innovative solutions to enhance the sector.

The application of artificial intelligence in e-commerce remains however timid. The road ahead is long before reaching a degree of precision allowing sites to target audiences. The KPMG study and FEVAD believe that the phenomenon is “still in the making”: “Today, the AI ​​used in e-commerce remains basic and it is estimated that it will take several decades to see sophisticated AI applications in e-commerce.

AI does not buy, it is built: the transition from simple AI to advanced AI will be by Deep Learning techniques that allow the AI ​​to learn and strengthen over time . ”


What applications of AI for online commerce?

The applications of artificial intelligence in e-commerce can be multiple. According to the study, e-merchants have realized the potential of AI for optimizing e-commerce operations. KPMG and FEVAD have identified the 5 broad AI application categories that e-merchants are working on:

  • Personalization and improvement of the customer experience, especially in collecting data to target the customer, his behavior and adopt a predictive and targeted marketing with automation of the piloting.
  • Robotic and intelligent logistics: management of logistics and inventory for merchants.
  • Visual search: a real boon for the consumer who, with more and more brands, can now find a product through his smartphone. It can also be used for virtual fitting with a webcam.
  • Management of databases of marketplaces.
  • Chatbots management questions and customer requests, personal assistants: we see more and more appear these small assistants come to help us find a product, make an order or follow a package. For the study, the technologies accompanying personal assistants are not yet mature enough to allow them to engage in smooth conversation and ensure an optimal customer experience.


The next challenges for e-merchants

To set up these artificial intelligence applications, e-merchants, however, face technical and technological obstacles. For the KPMG study and the FEVAD, these obstacles are the next challenges brands will have to meet to stay in the running.

  • The first challenge is to integrate a new type of technology, the cognitive one, “on an existing not always equipped to support them”, warns the study.
  • The second is to reconsider the division of tasks between human and machine. AI and automation, especially for their potential impact on employment, still frighten some organizations.
  • The third challenge addresses the second: to train current employees and attract new talent to develop skills related to working with artificial intelligence.
  • Finally, the fourth challenge for e-merchants is to open their capacity to share innovations with competing companies. “The global giants of e-commerce have several thousand engineers working on the subject in the world. Many French e-traders do not have similar means and often can not offer such a wide scope of application. Sharing the investments, risks and expanding opportunities for start-ups is the way forward, “advocates the study.


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