The Gist

  • Immersive experiences. AI-driven VR like Clinique's Virtual Lab boosts sales through immersive shopping.
  • Image enhancement. AI optimizes product images online, lowering returns and upholding photography standards.
  • Marketing automation. AI marketing tools like chatbots maximize ROI via hyper-personalization and operational efficiency.

Enterprises are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionize the ecommerce landscape by creating immersive virtual reality experiences, refining online imagery, tailoring marketing campaigns and automating a plethora of marketing functions. This strategic adoption of AI aims to enhance customer engagement, streamline operations and ultimately drive growth in the increasingly competitive world of ecommerce.

AI for Ecommerce Virtual Reality

In a recent endeavor to boost ecommerce sales with AI, beauty brand Clinique launched The Clinique Lab in late March. This cutting-edge platform employs a 3D environment to recreate the experience of visiting a Clinique Counter at Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's and other similar bricks-and-mortar stores.

Using technology from metaverse/virtual reality provider Journee, The Clinique Lab, enables users to develop a custom avatar, then use half a dozen different virtual environments — including product storytelling, gamification, personalized engagement with Clinique consultants and on-site shopping.

“Unlike our retail stores, the Clinique Virtual Lab is an open world with no physical borders, offering endless possibilities in terms of design and storytelling,” said Charmi Panchal, Clinique executive director of global ecommerce. “We wanted to take our Clinique brand to a new dimension on a platform that encourages experimentation and creative freedom.”

Thomas Johann Lorenz, Journee co-founder and CEO, said he expects the AI to help Clinique set new standards in ecommerce using the virtual reality technology.

Related Article: Transforming Ecommerce With Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

AI to Enhance Images

Though not a virtual reality environment, AI is also very helpful for editing images that ecommerce companies use in their online displays, said Michael Dreas, 1WorldSync Studios director.

“Our customers have very specific needs for their imagery in that it must accurately represent their products, as poor product imagery is the leading cause of returns of items purchased online,” Dreas explained. “For example, a bottle of soy sauce must be the exact bottle shape, label and liquid color with the same exact data as the physical product. I believe AI does a great job at creating approximations of great imagery, but how accurately it can create specific physical objects is still a major question. Current AI technology may have been trained on existing imagery, but there are exacting standards that must be met with commercial photography, and there isn’t room for error or creative license.”

AI Frees People for Sales

Emery Visto's Implement, a Minnesota farming supply company, is using AI-powered chatbots from InwithAI to answer basic customer questions, rather than tying up personnel for that chore, said company owner Shane Visto. “I like that InwithAI can help promote our monthly in store sales promotions as well as giving customers basic information about our business.” InwithAI can also save time at the sales counter by addressing certain questions, while also presenting us with an alternative avenue for establishing an online sales footprint, he said. 

In the competitive retail environment, it’s necessary to use all of the available technology to meet customer needs to make sales, Visto added.

Chatbots represent a potent tool for engaging customers, and their use can be harnessed to elevate experiences and boost brand awareness, said David Markus, InWith president and chief technology officer. “AI technology is growing and could transform the way celebrities and brands engage with the general public, which is further evidence that AI is changing the game.”

Learning Opportunities

Related Article: AI in Ecommerce: True One-on-One Personalization Is Coming

AI for Marketing Campaigns

KimChi Chic Beauty has relied on AI to set up marketing campaigns to drive additional revenue, said Lauren Torres, social media and PR manager. “We have such a small team, AI really helps us save time by getting these campaigns set up. We miss opportunities to increase revenue simply because we don’t have the bandwidth.”

The company has used the Attentive automated campaign feature to schedule campaigns for holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day and Father’s Day. The newly introduced Attentive AI platform is expected to help further with image generation and copy assistance for SMS and email, as well as automatically creating multichannel campaigns.

AI technology is completely changing the way brands interact with their customers, enabling hyper-personalization and automation in a matter of seconds for higher ROI, said Brian Long, Attentive CEO.

AI in B2B

B2B marketers are embracing AI based on positive early results, according to Forrester. “B2B marketers use a variety of applications with AI capabilities to optimize buyer and customer interactions and to drive precision, scale and efficiency in the design and execution of internal tasks and workflows.”

Two-thirds of organizations utilize AI to facilitate marketing processes and activities, and 70% of these organizations intend to moderately or significantly expand their use of AI in marketing processes and activities.

Forrester also found that AI adoption is having a positive impact on most businesses: 60% of respondents in a Forrester survey said AI was having a positive impact on their marketing and business objectives, while 28% said the effect was neutral. Perhaps as telling was that no one told the research firm that AI was having a negative impact.

Final Thoughts on AI in Ecommerce

While artificial intelligence has been in existence for quite some time, its ongoing evolution presents vast opportunities for companies seeking innovative ways to leverage its capabilities. As AI technology matures, businesses are exploring new avenues to automate manual tasks, allowing them to focus on the strategic aspects of ecommerce, rather than getting entangled in the minutiae of messaging, marketing and other essential elements. This shift toward AI-driven solutions promises to optimize efficiency, enhance customer experiences and ultimately propel ecommerce businesses toward new heights of success.