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Augmented Reality, Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence: Keeping Up with e-Commerce Trends

Due to the rapid growth of e-commerce — hastened by the increase in online shopping as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — it is unsurprising that the market has become extremely saturated, with many businesses hoping to profit off the industry’s potential. As competition becomes more aggressive, so too are marketing strategies. In this ever-evolving sector, it is important for businesses to stay on top with the latest technology to help promote their brands.

Here’s an overview of the latest trends in e-commerce.

To accommodate consumers’ reluctance to visit brick and mortar stores, some businesses have found a creative way to circumvent these issues with the use of augmented reality. AR is a form of technology that can superimpose computer-generated images to appear as if they exist in the real world.

From allowing customers to see how a piece of furniture might look in their home with Ikea Place, to showing how a certain article of clothing might fit in Macy’s augmented fitting rooms, AR gives customers the option to test and try products from the safety of their homes which is sure to enrich browsing experiences and attract new customers.

Additionally, artificial intelligence (AI) is constantly collecting and analyzing data in order to make predictions. This data is often collected through internet cookies that save and track information on website visitors for future use. Though they have existed for nearly three decades, they remain a useful and relevant way to produce an individualized shopping experience for customers, and more data that can be retargeted by businesses.

For smaller e-commerce businesses, it is not reasonable, or financially feasible, to have someone providing customer support 24/7. This is where chatbots can be helpful; through identification of keywords, chatbots can give instantaneous assistance to customers with simple questions, conserving employee manpower and time.

Here are a few examples of successful use of chatbots. Sephora’s reservation assistant bot lets customers schedule appointments through Facebook messenger; that is a task that previously needed a human receptionist and that now can be completed with a few quick text exchanges with an automated bot. Lyft has also employed the use of bots in their service, creating one that lets users know the current location of their driver, as well as the license plate and make of their car. These automated messages sent by the bot save the driver communication time, and lets them get to their customers quicker.

Thanks to the rapid growth of e-commerce, the overall industry and the technological tools surrounding it are likely to continue to evolve at a similar pace. Despite this, it is important to keep up with trends, and avoid falling behind.

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