E-shoppers embrace smart apps
Intelligent software helps customize product recommendations and sales
predict what consumers want, the system generates recommendations for not only products they have shown an interest in but related products and other information.
“Alibaba’s Brain can home in on a consumer’s predilections for certain products, price ranges, brands, product specifications and other key parameters,” said Zhao Binqiang, an algorithm expert at Alibaba who now leads the firm’s digital marketing unit.
The software works in tandem with Alibaba’s vast social media networks. Algorithms allow the system to determine correlations between content consumption and purchasing behavior.
For example, if a mother has purchased diapers via Alibaba’s Taobao site, she is likely to receive maternity and child-care related content from Weitao, a micro-blogging service for brands, or from Taobao Headlines, a sister newsfeed. Via such online destinations, she might receive sponsored content on products such as infant formula or supplements.
Alibaba also introduced an AI-powered electronic assistant or chatbot called Ali Xiaomi (Ali Assistant) to handle up to 95 percent of general inquiries ranging from refunds to complaints.
According to Alibaba, the chatbot, when provided with a text or voice description or even a photo, can even help users find products, returning a list of recommendations that they could filter by brand, color and other characteristics.
A Goldman Sachs report earlier this year said, “Big data, cloud services and the coming of age of machine learning technology should continue to deliver a personalized shopping experience to consumers and targeted marketing solutions to brands and merchants.”
A fish-eye view of customers experiencing ‘New Retail’ hall of Tmall in Hangzhou in October.