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How artificial intelligence is shaping online retail in 2017

Originally posted on

In just a few years, Artificial intelligence (AI) has successfully maneuvered itself into the daily vernacular of people worldwide. It takes countless shapes and forms, and has altered the way that we view the world and technological possibilities.

There's no way of telling just how much development will take place in the next decade. But, one of the places in which AI has been truly impressive has been the world of online retail. We've seen a huge surge of companies using AI to increase their bottom line while providing enriched customer experience. It’s been a win-win situation that continues to gain momentum.

Shifting philosophies

As if AI hasn't already altered the way we perceive technology, through the unprecedented advancement of its learning algorithms, it's also changing conventional (and relatively mundane) activities. For instance, grocery store checkout lines may soon be a thing of the past, if Amazon has its way. These sorts of ideas will change the way we perceive online retail. Though they delayed the opening of stores due to technical issues, the conversation about artificial intelligence, and how it will change our everyday shopping experiences, has begun.

New functionality

The truth is that AI was a concept not so long ago limited to robotics, and it was often discussed with negative, shadowy connotations. Today, it has proven its worth in countless ways. Netflix and Pandora, for instance, use algorithms so deep they can provide customers with suggestions based on just a limited number of selections made on their platforms.

Outside of that, there are even more thought-provoking, innovative uses of AI. Take companies on the retail side of things.Intelligence Node, a big data retail analytics business, has created the largest global retail product index that tracks real-time price and catalog movements of top retailers. Then, by utilizing newly created AI algorithms to power a fashion search engine and real-time trending feeds, users can stay up to date with the latest in fashion.

Searching by image

As we've seen with the Google search engine, deep algorithms that give us more relevant results based on our search terms have changed how we use the internet. Thanks to services like Webyclip, the search by image function is reaching unprecedented levels of contextual understanding. By employing AI algorithms, image searches are able to take any given image and pull up a plethora of relevant and useful information through a database of billions of other photos. This way, consumers can be recommended to products they would have otherwise not known existed without the use of descriptive keywords that a basic search would not pull up.

Although artificial intelligence has not evolved quite yet to, say, "I, Robot" levels (probably for the better), it's still making pretty impressive leaps in 2017. AI is almost a household word; it's certainly already a highly sought after tool for the business world. There are no doubts that it will continue evolving and especially in the realm of online retail.

Where and when AI can be used in the online retail space are constantly developing, as Amazon Go has shown us. The places and industries in which we can employ deep algorithms are seemingly limitless. Searching by image has also gained traction, and is becoming more popular every day. Overall, AI has shown that it can be used in ways that science-fiction imagined just a few years ago. It is exciting to imagine what will come next.


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