UPDATED BY
Brennan Whitfield | Jul 21, 2022

The robots are taking over — your local shopping district. As of 2022, PwC reports that 76 percent of business leaders have implemented widespread or limited adoption of artificial intelligence into their company operations, and this number only appears to continue growing, based on market estimates.

AI in E-Commerce & Retail

Artificial intelligence is transforming e-commerce and retail industries through purchasing recommendations, voice-enabled shopping assistants, personalized shopping experiences, robotic warehouse pickers, facial recognition payment methods, anti-counterfeit tools and more.

AI is enhancing experiences for both customers and businesses, especially in the areas of retail and e-commerce. Technology like chatbots — the non-human customer service beings trained to engage in human-like exchanges online — are just the start.

Well-established AI voice recognition programs like Amazon’s Alexa are being integrated with other devices like Amazon’s Fire TV. AI algorithms help companies analyze massive amounts of data culled from consumers’ online behavior to provide “predictive sales” insights that are used in part to make sure warehouses are strategically well-stocked.

AI in Retail & AI in E-Commerce Examples

  • Amazon
  • Valyant AI
  • Scalefast
  • inVia Robotics
  • Trendalytics
  • Clarifai
  • IBM
  • Zeta Global

Those warehouses, by the way, might use robots for sorting, packaging and other manual tasks so human workers can focus on other aspects of the business. Then there are recommendation engines that analyze past searches to suggest related products and services, AI-powered visual recognition programs that help prevent counterfeiting and AI copywriters that churn out SEO content for websites. The list goes on.

Check out these 17 ways in which artificial intelligence is reinvigorating retail and e-commerce.

 

17 Examples of AI in Retail and E-Commerce to Know

Location: New York, New York

Clarifai’s AI-powered image and video recognition helps classify images and filter out unwanted visual content. For other data that might evade AI’s radar, human moderators can be added to the mix for an extra degree of accuracy. 

Clarifai’s technology is used across six different industries, and is backed by investors such as NVIDIA and the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute.

 

Location: Armonk, New York

IBM’s Watson uses AI to help retail companies create more personalized purchasing experiences using real-time data that more accurately reflects a customer’s current buying status.   

Retail businesses such as Frito-Lay, Home Depot and others use IBM’s AI technology to streamline supply chain operations and make shopping unique to each customer.

 

Location: San Jose, California

eBay uses AI to provide customer advice and recommendations, improve shipping and delivery times, pricing, buyer-seller trust and more. Recently AI-powered functions include Find It On eBay and Image Search as well as eBay ShopBot, a personal shopping assistant on Facebook Messenger.

As of 2019, the online marketplace claimed that, with the help of AI, it can identify 40 percent of online credit card fraud with “high precision.”

 

Location: San Mateo, California

In 2019, Anaplan acquired Mintigo and its Predictive Marketing Platform technology. Combining analytics and big data, Mintigo’s Predictive Marketing platform helps retailers keep current customers and find new ones. Employing real-time scouring of websites, social media and other places, the company collects insights that serve as data for its predictive models that help merchants improve their e-commerce operations through optimized marketing. 

Anaplan’s predictive insights have been used for sales and supply chain targeting by companies such as Adobe, Autodesk and Wright Medical Group.

 

Location: Los Angeles, California

DRINKS provides an online platform for e-commerce retailers to add wine products to their website or app. Using its AI-based Wine as a Service API, retailers can market personal or networked wine, access consumer data insights and ship to 42 states across the country.

The company is partnered with various U.S. retailers such as Kroger, Instacart and Sam’s Club.

 

Location: Los Angeles, California

Using AI, Emotive allows e-commerce brands to send interactive conversational ads, text messages, SMS payments and customer services to consumers. The company’s Emotive Platform is where users can customize their marketing messages and track related engagement analytics. 

Emotive is used by over 1,000 brands, and reports that its conversational avenue yields at least a 10 percent conversion rate and a return on investment averaging 27 times the original value.

 

Location: New York, New York 

Hungryroot is a food recipe and delivery service providing a myriad of vegan, gluten-free and other dietary meal options to choose from. Based on user activity and input, its platform uses AI to create personalized recommendations and rotating recipe selections to include for the next delivery. 

Hungryroot’s AI algorithm not only helps with personalization, but also helps optimize food distribution and reduce waste based on user choices.

 

Location: Boston, Massachusetts  

Teikametrics helps retailers navigate advertising in the e-commerce marketplace with its online management services. Flywheel 2.0, its AI-based Marketplace Optimization Platform, allows retailers to create and manage advertisement campaigns, automate search engine optimization growth as well as track insight and inventory data.

The company has contributed to advertising efforts for brands such as Amazon, Walmart and more.

 

How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming E-commerce | Video: Paolo Messina on Business, Science and Technology

 

Location: Seattle, Washington

Amazon uses AI to help customers voice shop and get purchasing recommendations, among other services. Amazon’s AI technology is also used for facial recognition, estimating home prices, visual search, autonomous driving and more. 

Amazon customers can now make voice-activated payments via Amazon Echo and its integrated AI assistant Alexa. Additionally, the company’s checkout-free grocery store, Amazon Go, uses AI to distinguish the items being chosen as well as track and estimate customer behavior. It has active locations in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.

 

Location: Denver, Colorado

Valyant AI develops face-to-face AI for customer service that strives for naturalistic interaction between human and machine. The company’s customized voice-based assistants can be integrated into call-ahead phone systems, restaurant drive-throughs and mobile apps. Using optional facial recognition, they can even remember who you are and what you last ordered.

 

Location: Los Angeles, California

Scalefast uses AI to analyze combined behavioral and e-commerce data to improve direct-to-consumer e-commerce by creating an intuitive, personalized shopping experience from device to device. 

Scalefast continually enhances its e-commerce platform by integrating advanced technology from partners AWS and Adyen.

 

Location: Westlake Village, California

Claiming the world’s first “robotics-as-a-service” platform, inVia Robotics makes advanced AI-powered “picker” robots for supply chain and e-commerce distribution center automation. The robots can work alongside humans without disrupting operations, ideally yielding higher productivity and lower labor costs.

In 2022, inVia Robotics teamed up with e-commerce fulfillment company Fulfyld to begin automating their warehouse operations.

 

Location: New York, New York

Trendalytics is a product intelligence platform that culls and analyzes retail industry data from social media, online product surfaces, consumer shopping patterns and other areas to provide retailers with actionable insights they can use to increase sales, profit margins, brand awareness and more. 

Trendalytics clients include luxury brands, mass retailers, department stores and leading e-commerce sites.

 

Location: New York, New York

Zeta Global employs AI technology to provide “Person-Based Marketing” via its cloud in different ways through the use of data and analytics. Individual-level data is combined with marketing automation and AI to identify potential customers and personalize experiences. Additionally, billions of unique profiles are integrated with AI to help marketers with customer relations and increase ROI.

 

Location: Burlingame, California

Fellow AI makes an AI-powered customer service robot called Navvi for retail environments. Used for product information and location, among other things, it’s equipped with three data capture cameras, speech recognition and verbal response capabilities. 

Home improvement retail chain Lowes uses Fellow robots (“LoweBots”) in some locations to help customers and monitor inventory in real-time.

 

Location: Chicago, Illinois

3PM uses AI to protect its clients and their customers from online counterfeiting on marketplace websites. It does so by using machine learning algorithms that are often able to tell fakes from the real thing while becoming more intelligent — and, therefore, effective — in the process.

3PM’s AI product, ReconBob, leverages Google Cloud Platform services to weed out inaccuracies in seller ratings on Amazon, eBay and Walmart sites.

 

Location: Hangzhou, China

Alibaba uses AI for everything from augmented reality mirrors and facial recognition payment to interactive in-store mobile phone games. It even developed an AI copywriting product that uses deep learning models and natural language and reportedly churns out as many as 20,000 lines of content per second.

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