Artificial intelligence enables Staples to automate ordering and customer service through its Easy Button. Staples Inc. is testing technology enabling business customers to order products by voice via its Easy Button. The office supplies retailer is applying machine learning technology to the button, allowing customers to press it to order or reorder a product by voice, or to ask common order-related questions, such as when an order will be delivered or the status of a return. The move is part of a big push by Staples Inc., No. 21 in the Internet Retailer 2016 B2B E-Commerce 300, to use machine learning to automate ordering and customer service, says Ryan Bartley, director of mobile for Staples. Machine learning refers to computer programs that teach themselves to grow and change when exposed to new data, without being programmed by an individual.
Now that machine learning has moved out of the hands of a select few and is accessible to a broader market and set of use cases; it's good to look at how different technology providers are leveraging it to improve and expand their products in the name of a better customer experience. How can you take advantage of machine learning and AI to improve your e-commerce experiences? Ryan R Donovan, SVP of Product Management at Sitecore, took me through some tactics Sitecore implements in its CMS and e-commerce solution. There are two key focuses for Sitecore's use of machine learning and AI: Donovan pointed out that Sitecore is focused on providing machine learning-based features that provide real value (as opposed to a great demo). And from a backend perspective, it can help with fraud detection, something that every company with an e-commerce model needs to monitor actively.