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How AI can unlock the true potential of small EMDE traders

Discover how AI technology is revolutionizing the trading landscape for small EMDE traders. Uncover the game-changing potential of artificial intelligence in optimizing strategies and driving success.

E-Commerce has dramatically improved the lives of many in the West. Thanks to advances in technology, traders can now buy and sell goods far more quickly, efficiently and securely than ever before.

But not everyone has been able to benefit from these new technological capabilities. Millions of businesses in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) have been locked out of E-Commerce, often because they don’t speak the same language as the finance or technology provider offering that solution. Or, in other cases, adoption of the technology has been far too slow to be effective.

This puts them at an immediate disadvantage, given that the global E-Commerce market is expected to peak at $3.65 trillion in 2023, according to Statista. That means that as companies in developed countries continue to prosper, those in EMDEs will only fall further behind.

So how can their future prospects be improved? The answer is through the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

How AI can unlock Open Commerce’s potential?

AI comes in many different forms. But essentially there are two types that can improve the fortunes of EDME traders: generative and conversational AI.

Generative AI

Almost everyone has heard of ChatGPT and its capabilities. Along with Google Bard, Midjourney and many others, this form of generative AI is designed to create new and unique content.

Another type of the technology is behavioural AI. It works by quickly analysing a customer’s browsing and buying history as well as other key behavioural information. That data is then used to generate targeted images, campaigns and offers in real-time that both match their interests and improves their overall shopping experience. If done successfully, the end result is greater sales.

Behavioural and generative AI have huge potential, with Juniper Research forecasting that retail sales from chatbot-based interactions will reach $112 billion by the end of 2023 alone. As the technology continues to be developed and evolve, so, increasingly, it will be used in an even wider range of applications that will stand to benefit both the business and the end customer.

Conversational AI

The most powerful form of AI is that which engages in conversation with the customer. Conversational AI uses natural language processing both to understand and process human language. But perhaps, more usefully, it can also analyse the meaning of text and speech, and respond accordingly.

This can help traders who have previously been excluded from E-Commerce because they don’t speak the same language as the markets they want to reach, by providing them with an instant and accurate translation. For example, in Nigeria alone, there are more than 500 languages spoken, which means that, if the business owner or manager doesn’t speak other languages than their own, they can’t buy or sell outside of their community. By using conversational AI, however, a trader who speaks, say Hausa, can now do business with another trader who speaks a completely different dialect or language, not only within Nigeria, but anywhere in the world, from the UK to China.

However, conversational AI is most commonly used for online searches. By entering what they are looking for in the search bar on the company’s website, if correctly programmed, a prospective customer can find almost anything they want in just a matter of seconds. Based on what it has been asked and the data it has been trained on, the AI interprets these search queries and, accordingly, provides responses.

This can make the customer journey both quicker and easier, resulting in better engagement and satisfaction. From a business’s perspective, as well as improving conversion rates, it can also increase productivity and operational efficiency, eliminate human error and reduce costs.

How far can AI go in E-Commerce?

The potential for AI is almost limitless. Conversational AI could be used for automated negotiation, for example. In the future, businesses could potentially use a sales bot to manage and carry out all their transactions. This will enable the customer to build up a proper relationship with the company and negotiate terms and special offers, without having to interact with a human. In addition to improving service and sales, it will also reduce expenses and drive greater efficiencies.

AI has already proven its worth in many parts of society, improving outcomes for millions of people. But it’s for small businesses in the developing world where it holds the most value. By being used to level up E-Commerce across the board, it can unlock their growth potential, as well as to close the gap to the large online retailers such as Amazon.

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