OK Bro’s so you may have heard a little or a lot about this new trend called “machine learning”. It sounds cool enough but what is it exactly and what technology companies are using this technology in e-commerce?
I looked up Machine Learning on Coursera (which is an unbelievable FREE resource) and found an amazing course:
Andrew’s overview of machine learning is a great one:
“Machine learning is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed. In the past decade, machine learning has given us self-driving cars, practical speech recognition, effective web search, and a vastly improved understanding of the human genome. Machine learning is so pervasive today that you probably use it dozens of times a day without knowing it. Many researchers also think it is the best way to make progress towards human-level AI.”
To put it simply, if you are using a program to run your e-commerce site that requires you, the user, to enter lots of inputs and parameters (i.e. if a customer stalls on checkout for x number of seconds, show “y” offer) the program is most likely not machine learning, but requires A/B testing. A/B testing is the way most e-commerce software works today. Shopping cart abandonment tools send an automatic email upon abandoned carts, placement of items on page and on landing page are done by testing response rates (by humans), on-site retargeting parameters are to be come up by the user, and there are countless programs that have events triggered by certain actions. These programs do not typically “get smarter” as time goes on. The user uses data collected to make educated decisions most often (in regards to changes to the site).
Machine learning uses a “set it and forget it” type of approach where the system gets smarter on its own as it collects more data. The larger e-commerce businesses (Amazon.com, Google, Netflix) are hiring data scientists at hundreds of thousands of dollars to create programs that will best hone in on the millions of transactions that occur on their sites and use things such as “suggested products” that best appeal to each user uniquely. Machine learning is commonly seen in advertising and retargeting where display banner ads are targeted based on behavior of user.
In e-commerce it is being increasingly used. ”One to One marketing”, as it is called, is a huge initiative traveling through digital marketing and eCommerce, where each experience is personalized for the user- sites are changing for each individual user to best transform to accomodate their interests so there is a higher likelihood of each person buying. Companies like Granify take it a step further and predict what a user will do before they do it and take action to create a buyer out of somebody that would have otherwise not bought. Make no doubt about it, machine learning will eventually have a much greater place in eCommerce. Previously these this was a technology only available to the largest companies. Now eCommerce technology companies are making this technology accessible for all sites. From when a person lands on the site to them buying, everything will be mapped out perfectly to create the perfect experience ending in a sale for the site. The future is now and machine learning is in the driver’s seat.
Bro’s, take notice!