Should You Smarten Up Your Selling Practices? 10 Ways AI Can Help E-Commerce Businesses

From generating surreal images, to predicting serious health conditions, Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are helping professionals in many areas of life to save time, work more efficiently and do their jobs better.  We took a look at how AI can help online retailers simplify, speed up and optimise their e-commerce operations.

  1. Personalised Product Recommendations – Where previously you might have added in “products you might also like” manually, AI algorithms can now do this upselling and cross selling for you. Recommendations are based on an individual’s previous purchases, browsing history and product searches. This is how Netflix recommends other programmes you might like, and how Amazon makes each customer’s homepage unique. Shopify Apps that use AI for recommendations, include Wiser and LimeSpot.
  2. Chatbots and Virtual Assistants – If your team spend a lot of time helping with product enquiries, providing updates on order status, or resolving common issues, an AI Chatbot might save you time and money, and improve your customer service by offering support 24/7. The most popular tools for setting up a Virtual Assistant include Tidio and Zendesk.
  3. Inventory Management and Forecasting – Predicting demand and managing inventory levels are crucial to running any e-commerce business, and AI can help here too. Tools that use AI for Inventory Management include Bee Low and Sortly.  
  4. Content Generation – Probably the AI tools that most people are familiar with, generative AI options such as ChatGPT, Gemini and Dall-E are great for helping you get started with blog writing, generating ideas for emails and even image generation. (And, yes we did use ChatGPT to get started with this blog!).
  5. Search Engine Optimisation – SEO involves a lot of repetitive tasks, that are perfect for handing over to AI.  Tools such as Yoast are now using AI to help you write SEO Titles and Metadescriptions. Jasper can generate SEO-optimised blogs and Outranking uses data from top ranking sites to help you find opportunities to rank your pages higher.
  6. Advertising – AI is now frequently used to optimise Pay Per Click Search, Display and Social Media ads. It can dynamically adjust ad images, videos, headlines, and descriptions to the combinations that are most likely to perform, test them, and put them in front of the right people at the right time.  Campaigns such as Google’s Performance Max and Meta’s Advantage+ make heavy use of these types of technologies.  
  7. Email Marketing – AI algorithms can help increase conversion rates from your customer emails by analysing customer data to personalise the content, adjust the sending time and predict which customers are most likely to convert. Omnisend and MailChimp both make use of AI.
  8. Image Optimisation – Worried about the state of your product images? AI image clean up tools can instantly remove the background from product shots, add AI-generated backgrounds and resize your images for a variety of placements.  Shopify Apps to help with image and video optimisation include CreatorKit and Pebblely.
  9. Optimising Packaging Design and Sizing – Whilst our team are great at advising you on the best dimensions, protection levels and product types for packaging your products, AI tools can do that too. Amazon uses AI tools to help select the optimal packaging type for each item, whether that is a mailing bag, cardboard box or an envelope. 
  10. Reducing Environmental Impact – We are of course, very happy to talk you through the environmental implications of your packaging choices, and the eco-friendly options available to you, but this is also somewhere AI is helping.  Smart Packaging options such as sensors and RFID tags are now being used to track and monitor a product’s journey to the consumer, providing data such as humidity, temperature and even how roughly the item is handled. This data then helps optimise the way it is packaged in future, keeping packaging sizes down, minimising waste, reducing carbon consumption and of course, lowering costs.

    When your packaging meets the end of its current life, AI tools help recycle it. AI-driven automated recycling systems use algorithms to identify, sort, clean and process our recycling so it can be re-used with minimal wastage. 

As you can see, AI is already well used by e-commerce sellers, and new tools to increase efficiency, improve customer satisfaction and even increase conversion rates are emerging all the time.  These are great time savers, but do come with risks, so do oversee any work that AI does for you, perhaps as you would for a new junior member of staff!

We hope that whilst AI might make all our jobs easier, by taking away some of the more repetitive or analytical tasks, it will allow us to focus on areas we find more stimulating such as developing our business creatively or spending more time with customers.  Do let us know your thoughts and experiences with using AI for your business and get in touch any time you would prefer to speak to a human!