3 Ways AI is Disrupting E-Commerce

28 August, 2023

Marketplaces Caroline Lalla By ChannelAdvisor

AI is certainly in fashion. But what is it doing to add value to the fashion industry? Or any industry for that matter?

The answer is a lot.

CommerceHub Chief Product Officer Aarthi Ramamurthy recently shared insights on AI’s e-commerce impact in three retail publications. Want to keep up with the speed of the industry? Here are a few takeaways you can’t afford to miss. 

How to Use AI to Disrupt Fashion E-Commerce

AI can help drive profitable growth in several ways — and early adopters stand to benefit significantly. AI can help you:

Go to market faster.

Manually mapping and launching new products and catalogues to online channels can take weeks or even months, especially considering the tedious requirements of each channel. Plus, manual entry and data flow can increase human error, prolonging the process or putting performance at risk. 

AI predicts fields for you, eliminating the need for manual mapping or input. It can even analyse validation rules to help you ensure accuracy no matter what channel you launch on. As AI completes field after field automatically, you save significant time from data entry and fixing errors. What previously took months now takes just minutes with AI, helping you realise results faster than ever. 

Curate the perfect product catalogue.

One of the key ways AI is set to transform fashion and retail is by analysing patterns and trends to improve merchandising. What will be in style 12 months from now? AI assesses millions of purchases and consumer behaviour to predict future trends. This opens up a whole new set of possibilities for product design while reducing the risk of creating fashion flops.

It also has major implications for environmental conservation. Eliminating unwanted inventory means reducing waste, a major issue in the fashion industry. More than just increasing profits from high-demand items, AI can be a catalyst for a healthier corporate carbon footprint.

Optimise inventory management.

Not sure how much to stock? AI can help decide for you. Intelligent algorithms remove the guesswork of matching current trends to reduce or even eliminate excess inventory or out-of-stocks by predicting appropriate product volume based on past trends. These same algorithms can even alert you when it’s time to expand to new categories. As you add new suppliers, AI also can identify and solve inconsistencies like colour descriptions or sizing differences. 

This saves you valuable time by reducing administrative tasks. It also allows for data-based decision making instead of gut checks that hinder performance. Even consumers benefit from AI and automation with notifications that indicate when new products come online or favourite items are back in stock. 

The Truth About AI in Fashion

Are there downsides to AI in fashion e-commerce? Of course. Generative AI currently relies too heavily on large cohorts of training data and is too complex to implement for everyday inventory management. Still, it can play a complementary role in inventory management by providing valuable support and enhancement. AI systems can focus on generating data and insights, leaving strategy and providing customer value to human experts.

Using the same industry data to generate predictions can also result in unoriginal products across brands. In response, keep AI in check by using it to enhance — not replace — human creativity in designs and collections. 

Incorporate AI into Your E-Commerce Strategy

While AI is still in its infancy and certainly isn’t a magic bullet to gain a leg up, it holds enormous potential to help you go to market faster, reduce manual errors and (above all) delight customers. 

Want to make your online merchandising, inventory management and operational productivity smoother? Look for an e-commerce platform that uses algorithms, predictive intelligence and automation to do the heavy lifting for you. 

AI

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