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Key Takeaways

AI Won't Bite: Artificial intelligence isn't here to take your job if you're leading in ecommerce, but beware of those proficient in it.

Falling Behind is a Choice: Not adopting AI in your ecommerce strategy means you're missing out on one of the most significant trends shaping the industry.

Game-Changer Alert!: Ecommerce AI is revolutionizing the way online businesses function and interact with their customers, making it a trend not to ignore.

If you’re an ecommerce leader, you don’t need to worry about artificial intelligence replacing you. However—and I mean, a BIG, however—someone savvy in AI will.

If you’re not integrating it, you’re falling behind. That’s because ecommerce AI has become a game-changer, one of the biggest ecommerce trends revolutionizing how online businesses operate and engage with their customers. 

As a digital marketer, I’ve used AI to write sales copy, generate first drafts of articles (this one included), and successfully streamline my workflow.

I believe in AI-powered tools and workflows—so much so that I pitched an AI writing tool to my manager at work, and now, we’re about to kick off a project to implement it in our content marketing workflow. 

So, when I say it’s time to look into AI tools, I mean it. 

Instead of being intimated by AI, I hope you can also see its potential so you too can bring these tools into your workflow, boosting your career and ecommerce business’ success. 

In this article, I’ll cover why AI is taking ecommerce websites by storm, 13 ways to use AI in ecommerce, and tools and tips to implement it for the best outcomes.

The Rise of AI in Ecommerce

Thanks to the recent AI boom and the arrival of tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini (previously Bard), this evolving tech is being democratized.

Unlike before, you no longer need to be a Fortune 500 company or MIT researcher to harness it. You can just start chatting. 

Because of this, forward-thinking ecommerce leaders are racing to enhance their operations with AI or build it into their website and product offerings to elevate the user experience (UX)—or both.

According to a 2023 IBM report:

  • 42% of enterprise companies say they’ve actively deployed AI in their business, with another 40% still experimenting with it.
  •  Some of the top use cases for AI in the companies surveyed were IT automation (33%), threat detection/security (26%), business intelligence/analytics (24%), document processing automation (24%), etc.

Ecommerce brands have utilized AI in many of these use cases before ChatGPT came on the scene, as the data analysis and automation aspects didn’t require generative AI to work.

Yet, AI has become more widespread with the recent boom, driving more brands to find ways to leverage it for efficiency.

AI is now transforming ecommerce through personalization, automating repetitive tasks, enhancing customer service with chatbots, optimizing inventory management using predictive analytics, improving logistics operations via preventive maintenance checks, offering AI-powered visual search capabilities, and more.

These advancements lead to a more efficient and personalized shopping experience for customers. Without further ado, let’s take a look at use cases for AI in ecommerce.

13 Ecommerce AI Use Cases For Scaling Operations

The promise of AI is massive for ecommerce brands wanting to simplify their processes and provide better shopping experiences for their customers.

1. Create better shopping experiences with AI personalization

Personalization is what the people want. 77% of shoppers want a more personalized customer experience, according to a 2021 report from Netcore.

This is even more pronounced for younger shoppers, with 74% of Gen Z shoppers saying personalized offers are more attractive compared with 67% of Millennials, 61% of Gen Xers, and 57% of Boomers.

personalized offers stats
According to Salesforce, personalization is quite popular, especially with the youth.

AI can help with that.

AI-driven insights enable ecommerce retailers to create unique customer experiences by collecting and examining customer data related to their behaviors and preferences. 

Machine learning and data analytics enable AI tools to analyze customer behavior to serve up product recommendations and special offers to shoppers via dynamic store content, email marketing, SMS marketing, push notifications, and more.

This level of customization increases retention and boosts conversion rates for businesses that successfully personalize their customers' experiences.

2. Provide product recommendations using AI-driven visual search

In the same realm as AI personalization is AI visual search product recommendations.

AI-driven visual search technology enables online retailers to analyze customer preferences based on images they interact with or upload, helping them provide more accurate product recommendations tailored specifically for individual consumers.

Here are some examples of how to use AI-driven visual search:

  • Fashion retailers can recommend clothing items that match or complement an uploaded image of an outfit.
  • Furniture stores can suggest products that fit well within a specific room setting based on pictures shoppers provide.
  • Beauty brands can offer personalized makeup suggestions according to skin tone and facial features captured in customers’ selfies.

By leveraging AI-powered visual search capabilities, you can create a more personalized shopping experience for your customers and, ultimately, increase sales. 

3. Improve customer support with AI-powered chatbots

Implementing AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants in the ecommerce industry has vastly improved customer service quality by providing 24/7 support through natural language processing (NLP).

ai chatbots illustration
Chatbots can do a lot to reduce your workload and improve customer engagement and experience.

These chatbots interpret voice or text interactions with your online customers and offer personalized offers based on individual needs or queries. 

Working from your brand’s documentation and site content, these chatbots can quickly understand intent and deliver the right answer, keeping customers engaged and happy.

This is a test that many non-AI chatbots miss with their decision trees—they can’t understand natural language and you can’t predict every customer query.

Here are three major reasons you should use AI-powered chatbots:

  • Respond faster: Customers no longer have to wait for business hours or lengthy email responses; they can receive immediate customer support anytime.
  • Deliver a better online shopping experience: By offering quick solutions tailored to each customer's needs, you create a positive impression that encourages repeat visits and loyalty towards your brand.
  • Cut costs: With a bot, you don’t need to hire additional staff dedicated solely to answering inquiries from online shoppers—automation saves both time and money in the long run.
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4. Optimize inventory management using predictive analytics

Predictive analytics, powered by AI algorithms and big data processing capabilities, allow ecommerce leaders to optimize inventory management by analyzing past ecommerce sales performance, customer purchase history, and external factors such as seasonal trends or economic indicators. 

By leveraging this wealth of information, AI-driven predictive analytics tools can accurately forecast future product demand patterns for specific items or entire categories within an ecommerce store. 

This type of data is a prerequisite for implementing just-in-time inventory management, which necessitates good predictive data to make the right purchasing decisions and keep inventory costs at a minimum.

Beyond providing valuable insights into potential customer behavior, AI-powered predictive analytics also help streamline the process of ordering new stock from suppliers. 

With real-time updates on current inventory levels and projected demand forecasts, ecommerce platforms can automatically generate purchase orders based on predefined thresholds set by the business owner.

This saves time and minimizes human error in manual calculations while reducing the risk associated with holding excess stock.

5. Increase the efficiency of your logistics operations 

As you already know, a key factor for the success of your business has efficient logistics operations to ensure customer satisfaction and timely deliveries.

Artificial intelligence can play a part here by conducting preventive maintenance checks on your tech infrastructure used during packing procedures to reduce potential downtime

Not only that, but AI-driven tools can utilize machine learning algorithms to identify potential bottlenecks or inefficiencies across the supply chain network.

This sort of operational efficiency is essential for keeping the shipping engine purring.

Ecommerce businesses can analyze data from multiple sources and optimize processes for improved decision-making using AI. 

By staying ahead of potential issues within your ecommerce supply chain network and ensuring that all equipment functions optimally with AI, you can maintain a competitive edge in today's fast-paced ecommerce market where customers expect speedy deliveries.

6. Generate first draft sales copy fast

Got a case of writer’s block? AI can get rid of blank page syndrome in a flash.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise by now that advanced algorithms used in AI writing tools can generate halfway decent sales copy within seconds, requiring minimal editing from human writers.

You can do it right now with ChatGPT or Claude for free. Before ChatGPT even arrived, AI writing tools had been around for a few years in a more primitive form.

And fortunately, since they’ve been out for a while, they’re starting to get better and better with each release, which is great news for your marketing campaigns.

What’s so helpful about these tools is that you can give them a prompt, and then they will generate multiple versions of text for you to choose from. 

You can just keep hitting generate and it’ll try try again.

For example, if you want to write Google Ad copy based on a keyword and some basic information about your brand, you can receive a dozen outputs, then use the ones you like or ask the tool to generate new ones. 

Or, you can create outlines and first drafts of blog posts to speed up your content marketing efforts (gotta get that search engine traffic).

Despite the power of this technology, it’s still important for humans to decide the best options, edit them, rewrite them, comb through them for inaccuracies, and put the final polish on.

7. Create and enhance images 

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

While high-quality images could cost thousands of dollars, with AI image tools, you can make endless kinds of images for free.

Or you can edit existing product images to have fresh and exciting backdrops.

canva generated image screenshot
Canva allows you to easily generate an image based on a few words, i.e., “happy shopper.”

And, if you want to make an ad or image that really grabs attention, consider looking into an AI tool to help.

Take, for example, the AI-generated image where the Pope seemingly traded his traditional attire for a big, white puffy jacket.

The image was a viral sensation because of how real it looked. (Not saying you should try to make an imposter brand influencer with AI!)

AI image tools enable you to:

  • Turn your rough ideas into finished graphics.
  • Generate multiple images in minutes, from mockups to the real deal.
  • Remove the background from an image and replace it with something else.
  • Create quality mages without models, green screens, or renting a studio.
  • Make it easy to build a library of product imagery so you never run out of fresh images.
  • And, ultimately, help you launch products faster.
Hot Tip

Hot Tip

Don’t try to get the AI to add text to your images. It rarely works and it often looks weird.

8. Rapidly design your next logo

Speaking of images, AI can help you with your brand’s next new logo.

Maybe you’re about to start a new brand or website. If you have a logo idea living in your head, just say the word, and AI will whip up something for you.

And if nothing comes to mind at all, no sweat. AI tools could prototype endless ideas for you. 

Here is a logo mockup from a Midjourney user who prompted it to make a logo with dark colors, monsters, and creepy elements. Obviously, it needs the expert eye of a designer to take it to the next level.
Hot Tip

Hot Tip

Use ChatGPT to create really great prompts for DALL-E or Midjourney instead of trying to come up with your own very involved prompt. It works incredibly well.

9. Reduce cart abandonment with targeted remarketing campaigns

The holy grail in ecommerce? A solution to reduce the number of abandoned shopping carts. 

To combat this issue effectively, you can leverage AI-driven remarketing campaigns that target users who have abandoned their carts with personalized ads and incentives to encourage them to return and complete the transaction. 

AI can be used for segmentation from vast customer data repositories, which can include what pages they’ve visited and what they’ve left in their carts.

By automatically flagging that, these potential customers can be added to your abandoned cart email sequence, using dynamically created content based on what remains in their cart.

10. Tailor content and advertising messages using AI-driven insights

On that note, you can also apply artificial intelligence in ecommerce to tailor content and advertising messages based on user preferences, browsing history, and purchase patterns. 

By leveraging machine learning technologies, ecommerce companies can analyze large datasets to identify trends, predict potential customer interests, and deliver more relevant marketing materials. 

For example, an online store might use AI algorithms to recommend products similar to those previously purchased or viewed by a shopper.

Some key benefits of using AI solutions for tailored content:

  • Increase engagement: Personalized content keeps users engaged longer as they find it more relevant to their needs.
  • Boost conversions: Relevant and personalized product recommendations increase shoppers' likelihood of purchasing.
  • Better ROI: Tailored advertising campaigns result in better customer interactions, higher click-through rates (CTR), and higher return on investment (ROI).

11. Automate cash reporting and forecasting

Okay, let’s say you’ve got AI making your sales, logistics, marketing, and customer experience better, and now you’re flush with cash.

Cash is the lifeblood of any ecommerce business, and properly managing ecommerce cash flow helps to ensure that its well circulated throughout your business.

You always want to have enough liquidity on hand in every area of the business that needs it so you can pay your vendors on time.

These days, bank APIs can work in tandem with ML in an AI-powered cash management platform to aggregate and standardize bank data from multiple bank accounts, saving you from manually doing this task.

This is especially helpful when you have several business units that have different bank accounts, banks, and currencies, and you want to know, in real time, how much cash you have. 

ML can also help you to organize cash inflows and outflows into specific groups using tags, enabling your finance team to search and filter transactions across key vendors and accounts.

This can help you quickly generate cash forecasts based on these tags. 

You can also use machine learning to establish a baseline forecast or run scenario planning and variance analysis. Scenario planning helps you prepare for different factors, like a sudden increase in the price of materials or a drop in demand. 

With variance analysis, you can compare forecasted cash flow to actual cash flow to see what caused the numbers to differ and help improve forecast accuracy in the future. 

Being able to quickly and more accurately forecast cash with ML/AI will help your ecommerce business better handle unexpected circumstances and confidently make the right snap decisions. 

12. Automatically reconcile invoices

AI holds substantial promise for automating the invoice reconciliation process—essential for matching invoices from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems with bank transactions.

This ensures your ecommerce business isn't paying for products or services not received.

By integrating AI, specifically Natural Language Processing (NLP), this task can be streamlined, reducing errors and saving time in your ecommerce accounting.

AI with NLP capabilities automatically scans invoices and bank statements, extracting essential data like payment amounts, dates, and vendor details for accuracy checks.

This automation not only minimizes human errors but also enhances the scalability of financial operations, allowing your team to handle greater volumes of transactions smoothly as your business grows. 

Beyond mere automation, AI provides predictive insights, using historical data to forecast potential payment discrepancies and allowing for preemptive action.

13. Price your wares competitively

AI is changing the game for ecommerce brands by introducing dynamic pricing. This powerful feature adjusts prices in real time based on what’s happening in the market and what customers are doing.

It works by having AI dig through loads of data like what competitors are charging, how much demand there is, and what customers have bought before.

This lets your store change prices quickly to match market shifts, helping you keep up sales and profit.

One of the standout benefits for merchants is the ability to personalize pricing strategies.

AI can tailor prices for individual customers based on their previous purchases and estimated price sensitivity. This customization not only boosts engagement but also increases conversion rates, especially during promotional periods.

AI doesn't just tweak prices for a few products; it scans your whole product line.

This means it can recommend when to cut prices or charge a bit more, keeping your stock balanced and moving.

Plus, adding AI pricing to your existing setup is usually pretty simple, so you can start seeing the benefits right away. This smooth integration means less hassle for you and more perks for your business.

Top AI Tools Every Ecommerce Team Should Consider

By now, you should have some concrete ideas for implementing AI in your ecommerce business.

Did you think I’d leave you hanging without naming tools you can use to do all of the above?

Here are some AI tools you can try to boost productivity and increase efficiency across every area of your ecommerce business.

AI chatbots and recommendation tools

Providing personalized customer experiences with relevant product recommendations and reducing the pressure on customer support agents with smart chatbots means your team can spend their time elsewhere to grow sales.

There are many tools for this, including:

  • Dialogflow: A conversational AI ecommerce chatbot by Google that picks up on patterns, navigating through complex conversations to improve conversion rates.
  • Chooch: AI vision tool for retail that helps drive higher revenue while creating a more enjoyable shopping experience for customers.
  • ViSENZE: A smart recommendation tool that uses machine learning to display products your customers will likely want to buy.
  • Google Cloud: Provides personalized recommendations based on the customer’s previous shopping experience and history.
  • Cleed.ai: An all-in-one tool for conversational commerce & personalization, plus visual search.

AI tools for smarter ecommerce operations

AI is being integrated into big players in strategic ways. They want to be the singular solution for ecommerce brands, so they’ve begun building AI into ecommerce business operations, so you don’t have to go elsewhere.

shopify magic ecommerce ai tool
Shopify Magic can be your store's little ecommerce assistant, from product descriptions and images to data analysis and store promos.
  • BigCommerce: Commerce-as-a-Service tool (CaaS) that enables you to create custom ecommerce solutions for your customers, powered by a modern platform with AI. 
  • Acumatica: A modern cloud ERP solution for ecommerce that incorporates AI and ML 
  • Salesforce Commerce Cloud: AI-powered checkout flows, payment accelerators, real-time inventory visibility, advanced allocation logic, and order lifecycle management 
  • Shopify Magic and Sidekick: The biggest name in ecommerce, Shopify has obviously integrated AI into their product offering, with an AI assistant to help with rote tasks throughout your store and generative AI to create copy quickly.

AI tools for writing ecommerce copy 

The functionality that has gotten all the press since ChatGPT dropped is content creation. Often the thing that slows folks down when building their ecommerce brand is the creative production aspect.

With AI content tools, brands can create product descriptions, blog posts, social posts, ad copy, and more really fast. These tools can get you to a great point (after which you should definitely give it a human edit).

copy ai ecommerce ai tool
Copy.ai is one of many tools to help you create content and copy quickly for your store.
  • Content at Scale: Enables you to write long-form, SEO blog posts based on a keyword, video, or podcast episode.
  • Jasper & Copy.ai: Help you write short-form copy for product descriptions, ads, social media posts, emails, etc.
  • Grammarly: AI-driven editor that instantly catches grammatical errors in your text and helps you match a tone of voice, available as a Chrome extension, desktop app, and SaaS app.
  • Wordtune: Use this tool to spice up any sentence and clarify your message.

AI graphic design tools

Without good visuals, ecommerce stores are unshoppable. Yet, it takes work to get all the images you need for your store. These AI tools can help get you more visuals more quickly.

canva magic design ecommerce ai tool
Canva is ramping up their AI capabilities to help you create design assets fast.
  • Canva AI Image Generator: a DIY graphic design tool that allows you to generate images from words.
  • Ocus: Easily improve and edit user-generated content.
  • Neural Love: A free AI image generator that resizes and remodels images to fit your needs.
  • Scribble Diffusion: Turn your doodles into pictures.
  • Midjourney: Generate images from natural language descriptions (via a Discord server).
  • Descript: Create captivating video content for your store.

AI tools for ecommerce pricing & financial management 

The right pricing strategy is only as good as its maintenance. Product pricing changes constantly based on a variety of factors, so you need to stay on top of it.

Beyond that, how you manage your cash will determine how well you can scale your brand.

Luckily, AI can be your little pricing buddy and financial manager at the same time. Check out these valuable tools for keeping you in cash.

prisync pricing optimization ecommerce ai tool
Prisync is one of the most popular tools for pricing optimization.
  • Prisync: A Shopify dynamic pricing app that helps you monitor your competitors’ price moves from a single dashboard and import all your products with a single click.
  • Trovata: An automated cash management platform that enables you to use AI and ML to manage cash and all of its complexities with ease

AI productivity tools

What the latest generative AI boom has proven is that AI has become a generalist tool. This is a blessing and a curse—it can do a lot, but figuring out what you want it to do can be stressful.

chatgpt marketing plan ecommerce ai tool
You can chat through marketing launch strategies for your ecommerce store, as I did here for a pickle brand I made up.

If you want to go a bit more blue sky with your AI tool, you can use one of these:

  • ChatGPT or Gemini or Claude: The ultimate AI assistant and generative AI tool.
  • Merlin: An extension of Chat GPT that allows you to use it anywhere on the web.
  • Notion: An AI to-do list where you can also manage content and collaborate.
  • Typly: Think T9 on steroids, an AI keyboard that helps you to answer all your messages with a single click.

How to Implement AI in Ecommerce

Finally, when it comes to AI in ecommerce, there are infinite ways you can get started.

But please, don’t bite off more than you can chew! Change takes time, and you’ll need to iron out the kinks, so start small and work your way up. 

I suggest identifying your biggest pain point and working from there. Ask yourself some questions first.

  • What rote tasks do you hate doing?
  • What processes take up most of your time?
  • What aspects of your business do you never have enough time for?
  • Looking at these pain points, what are you able to automate with AI?

For example, if social media marketing is an afterthought for you, you might want to try using an AI tool to help you generate posts.

Or, if you’ve been doing data entry via spreadsheet and your eyes are getting bloodshot, maybe you need to automate that.

SWOT analysis ecommerce AI
AI and Canva helped me come up with this SWOT analysis for ecommerce AI!

Here are some steps you can follow to implement your first AI process:

  1. Do a SWOT analysis for AI in your organization.
  2. Pick a process to enable AI first.
  3. Trial one tool at a time and see which one you like best for that use case.
  4. Once you’ve determined which tool to use, if you need permission to purchase, make a case based on time savings and the potential ROI to your manager.
  5. Roll out incrementally.
  6. Take note of how the implementation process is going to improve over time. 
  7. Identify new ways to expand your use of AI.

Make Ecommerce AI Work For You

By leveraging AI technology for ecommerce, businesses can optimize their operations and maximize returns while simultaneously providing superior customer experiences, driving higher rates of customer loyalty. 

AI can unlock fresh chances for your business to capture more demand and generate more revenue while giving customers a superior experience.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to using AI for ecommerce, so start exploring today.

Want to stay in the know on all the best ecommerce tech? Don’t forget to subscribe to The Ecomm Manager newsletter!

Ecommerce AI FAQs

There are always questions that don’t fit neatly into a blog post, so here we are with a final FAQ section to dig further into a few things.

How does AI personalization differ from traditional personalization techniques?

AI personalization leverages complex machine learning algorithms that analyze vast amounts of data—like past purchases, browsing behavior, and search history—to predict what customers might like next.

Unlike traditional methods, which rely on more static data or superficial insights, AI can dynamically adjust recommendations in real-time as it learns more about each user.

This means that every interaction on the site refines the customer’s profile, leading to more accurate and tailored shopping experiences that drive engagement and sales.

Can AI customer support handle complex customer complaints, or is it limited to basic queries?

AI chatbots have evolved significantly, now capable of managing more than just simple queries.

Today’s sophisticated AI systems use natural language processing to understand and respond to a range of customer emotions and queries, including complex issues like product troubleshooting or order disputes.

While they are increasingly effective, there’s often a handoff to human agents for highly intricate or sensitive matters, ensuring that the customer service experience remains smooth and efficient.

What are the implications of AI-driven price optimization for market competition?

AI-driven price optimization allows companies to set prices dynamically based on market demand, competitor pricing, and consumer behavior, often in real-time.

This can lead to aggressive pricing strategies where businesses constantly undercut competitors, potentially squeezing out smaller players who can’t invest in similar technologies. Think Amazon here.

However, it also pushes companies towards more innovation and efficiency in their operations, ultimately benefiting savvy consumers looking for the best deals.

How is AI used to enhance the sustainability of ecommerce operations?

AI enhances sustainability in ecommerce by optimizing inventory and reducing waste through more accurate demand forecasting.

It also improves logistics, planning more efficient delivery routes that lower carbon emissions.

Furthermore, AI-driven systems can help businesses manage returns more efficiently—a significant waste factor in ecommerce—by predicting and mitigating return rates before they happen, ensuring a greener operational footprint.

Kalei White
By Kalei White

Kalei White is a content marketer and bunny mom in San Diego. She’s helped global B2B ecommerce companies build authoritative brands and generate demand resulting in massive growth. Today, she runs content at Trovata, an AI-powered fintech platform.