Weekly News: AI in shopping, online communities, in-home delivery, m-paments

AI and e-commerce: a perfect storm for retail jobs

artificial intelligenceOnline retailers like Amazon are “crushing” brick-and-mortar department stores in terms of sales and these online retailers are replacing their retail salespeople with AI, robotics, and machine learning. In a virtual environment or a non-face-to-face context, people could not care less about who or what is on the other end of the line or responding to online queries. Among other advantages over humans in the online retail market, salesmachines can be programmed to use “Segment-of-One Marketing” to track and understand individual customer behavior, according to a research conducted by Dr. Keng Siau, chair and professor of business and information technology.

Read more at Missouri S&T


Why online communities are key to customer engagement

social motivationsAuthor and entrepreneur Nir Eyal identified four basic components of every “hook,” the experiences that form habits: social motivations, emotions, engagement, loyalty. What does this mean for retailers? There’s now “less of a focus on checking out and more of a focus on checking in. Shopping should be something that scratches the itch of boredom” and taps into our desire for entertainment, Eyal said. When retailers combine content and community, they can own that habit. Content and community are already combined outside of commerce sites — think Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram — and as a result, retailers are beholden to networks if they want to connect with consumers.

More details at Medium

How In-Home Package Delivery Could Save E-Commerce

August smart lockOne of the biggest barriers to people shopping online is that they worry about what happens if their package arrives when they’re not home. It could get stolen or rained on, they fear, or be sent back to the shipper if there are too many unanswered reminders. Maybe they’ll have to drive to a store to sign for it. August smart lock maker thought it was worth finding out if in-home delivery was possible. So it gave 76 of their lock owners a Nestcam and a keypad that lets someone punch in a code that opens the lock and asked them to start allowing such deliveries. All August wanted in return was to get the videos of the deliveries and some feedback. Over the course of the experiment, participants got a total of 250 deliveries.

More details at Fastcompany


The Body Shop launches mobile-first ecommerce platform

the-body-shopThe Body Shop has launched a mobile-first ecommerce platform as part of a three-year £10m transformation project that aims to see 20% of sales come from ecommerce. The site comes in response to the fact that 52% of the retailer’s online traffic is now via smartphones, and 11% via tablet computers. Global ecommerce sales grew by 19% in 2016 – twice as fast as the previous year. The new digital platform has initially launched in 11 countries, including the UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany, Brazil and Indonesia, and will be rolled out to over 20 more countries in 2017. The platform is also designed to make it easier for The Body Shop to communicate its wider activity online, allowing customers to engage with its ethical campaigns online.

Read more at Internet Retailer


Demand for m-payments must be matched by a comprehensive approach to security

Mobile only e-commerceThe continued proliferation of mobile payments can only be maintained if security considerations make up a key part of mobile payment implementation. This is according to enterprise app security specialist Promon. According to the survey, 65 per cent of the IT managers and C-level executives polled cited m-payments as being the most sought-after technology at their organisation. In the face of this sustained growth, it is crucial that businesses are mindful of the wider attack surface that this creates for cybercriminals, as well as the fact that user habits are still not up to scratch when it comes to responsible mobile device usage. A separate research has pointed out that 34 per cent of mobile users do not lock their devices, and of those who do, 62 per cent use an easily decipherable code, such as 1234.

Read more at Internet Retailing