May 10, 2024

From E-commerce to AI-commerce: exploring the future of Artificial Intelligence and online shopping

Innovative strategies and the impact of AI in digital commerce

We recently explored the evolutions of the e-commerce sector during our webinar with Davide Casaleggio, CEO of Casaleggio Associati, and our CEO and co-founder, Gianluca Maruzzella. In this session, we discussed the transformations brought by Artificial Intelligence in online commerce and the prospects of this industry
Below are the main insights, topics discussed, and some new perspectives on the future of the e-commerce industry.

The growth of e-commerce in Italy

E-commerce has experienced exponential growth in recent years. According to Casaleggio Associati's Ecommerce Italia 2024 report, in 2023, Italy alone's turnover exceeded 80 billion euros, an increase of 27 percent over the previous year, with the impact of inflation limited to 6.16 percent.
This growth testifies to Italians' increased propensity for online shopping and the development of a highly competitive and vibrant market. As a result, e-commerce must develop innovative strategies to adapt to the dynamics of a constantly evolving customer journey, make appropriate investments to stand out from the competition, and respond to changing consumer needs.

The future of E-commerce and AI: Towards AI-commerce

Today, we are facing a real turning point. The spread of Artificial Intelligence, driven by the arrival of innovations such as ChatGPT and GPT4, is radically transforming both business models and the daily interactions of consumers and businesses. 60 percent of Italian e-commerce companies say AI has already impacted or will impact their business models within the year (Ecommerce Italia 2024, Casaleggio Associati).
AI is redefining applications and expectations related to technology. In e-commerce, the possibilities offered by AI are vast, from virtual assistants for customer service to content creation to predictive analysis of market trends, just to name a few. 
An increasing number of companies are implementing AI solutions to accelerate business processes and calling into question the power relations in the distribution chain by putting at the center who can choose and manage the right AI solution for their e-commerce.

Virtual assistants, customer experience, and conversions

In today's retail environment, success is based on the ability to establish a genuine relationship of trust with consumers, who want to be understood and identify with the brand. Artificial Intelligence plays a crucial role in this process, enabling companies to get to know their customers in-depth and synchronize with their needs, establishing authentic relationships.
The integration of the latest generation of gifted virtual assistants, capable of interacting in a similar way to human beings, remarkably awake human beings, represents a technological advancement and a strategic development that allows them to empathize with customers, listen carefully to their needs, and provide appropriate responses to them.
These virtual assistants redefine how consumers engage by offering accurate and personalized dialogue. Their 24/7 real-time support immediately responds to every inquiry, minimizing friction and increasing conversions. In addition, constant interaction keeps customers engaged throughout the entire customer journey, reducing abandonment rates and improving conversion.
Using conversational AI, virtual assistants can transform consumer inquiries from simple problems to real opportunities. For example, by offering personalized product suggestions as early as the pre-sales stage, they provide essential benefits in terms of customer experience and improving sales themselves.
In addition, virtual assistants' automation capabilities enable them to efficiently handle the many routine tasks and requests that are traditionally redirected to staff, allowing human operators to focus on more strategic and complex tasks.

The future of E-commerce is AI

The combination of virtual assistants and e-commerce will continue to develop to offer increasingly advanced and innovative capabilities. Introducing voice assistants or voice bots, for example, enables more natural and conversational interactions with customers, making the shopping experience smoother and more efficient. Similarly, augmented reality can enrich the shopping experience with interactive and immersive interactions and a more realistic visualization of products, giving customers a more accurate view of the product before purchase.
Today, we live in an era of significant transformation, revolutionizing the traditional e-commerce business model. Future interactions will be even more proactive and develop under the banner of so-called AI agents, the new standard for building virtual assistants.
These agents, specializing in specific topics and supported by a knowledge base tailored to the company, can provide highly contextual answers tailored to specific user needs. For example, by combining insights from conversations with detailed information about a brand's products, they can suggest the product best suited to the individual user's needs. For the foreseeable future, we expect these agents to learn and anticipate consumer needs and preferences more effectively. They will interact with each other within the same site and also between different e-commerce sites to provide an integrated customer experience and act as actual personal shoppers.

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In the e-commerce industry, which is becoming more competitive and technology-driven every day, companies that adopt and integrate new technologies smartly into their business models will improve their customer experience and strengthen their position in the market. On the other hand, those who don't embrace innovation are likely to stay behind their competitors.


How are e-commerce companies managing consumer data privacy and security as they adopt more AI technologies?

E-commerce companies are increasingly utilizing AI technologies, which makes it crucial to ensure consumer data privacy and security. A vital aspect of responsible data management is the selection of AI solutions that prioritize privacy. Providers such as strongly emphasize user data protection, aligning with strict regulatory frameworks like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the upcoming EU AI Act. These regulations enforce high data processing and transparency standards, ensuring that companies adopt AI technologies that safeguard consumer privacy.

As AI technologies automate more tasks within the e-commerce industry, what are the potential impacts on employment?

AI efficiently handles simpler and repetitive tasks, freeing human employees to concentrate on more complex and strategic issues requiring human insight and decision-making. Although AI has the potential to streamline operations and reduce the demand for labor in certain areas, it also creates opportunities for employees to engage in higher-value work, thus enhancing their roles and making their contributions more impactful. However, this shift demands continuous training and adaptation. Despite this, AI can be used as a tool to augment human capabilities rather than replace them entirely.

What specific challenges do e-commerce companies face when integrating AI technologies?

E-commerce companies face challenges integrating AI technologies tailored to their unique business needs. It requires significant investment in financial and human resources, as high-level expertise is needed to create and maintain sophisticated AI systems. However, solutions like are designed to easily integrate with existing company systems, allowing seamless access to business documents and data. These solutions are engineered to reduce the dependency on highly specialized staff, thus lowering the barrier for e-commerce companies to adopt and benefit from AI technologies effectively.

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