Pinterest Transforms E-Commerce with Artificial Intelligence (And What That Means for Your Small Business)


For reasons beyond myself – I was an impressionable youth when the movie came out and Haley Joel Osmond was a cutie – ‘Artificial Intelligence’ conjures images of rows upon rows of steely robots waiting for their masters.

But leave it to Siri to crush my adolescent dream, that beatboxing know-it-all. Industry leader Adobe’s Digital Trend Report said that 33 percent of consumers with smartphones or tablets had used such a digital assistant within the past 30 days.

There aren’t many areas of your life that AI doesn’t touch. And now, your business is one of them.

In November, Pinterest released a shockingly accurate digital shopping tool that lets you zoom-in and shop products in those beautiful lifestyle images you collect. Are you hosting a cocktail party this weekend and want that shaker you pinned on your lunch break? Do you like the Eames-inspired chair in the corner of Nicole Richie’s living room tour? Let us find where you can buy it.

According to Forrester, 50% of potential sales are lost because your customer can’t find what they’re looking for. So it’s no surprise that in response, industry experts predict that $2 billion of e-commerce sales will be carried out by mobile digital agents.

Some brands have even come out with their own personal shopping AI. The North Face is a leader in the space, having developed an app that acts as a product guru, expertly leading the consumer around their merchandise. In the first 60 days of usage, 50, 000 customers tried it, adding an average of two minutes to their time on the site.

Making a personal shopping integration like Pinterest obviously takes a lot of resources, so unless you have four hundred developers working out of your home office, it’s going to be tough.

“For a few years now, the really giant brands have been able to use machine learning and big data to improve their business. What’s exciting about today is that companies are bringing more of this power to small businesses in an easy-to-use format, and levelling the playing field” explains Johnathan Nightingale, Hubba’s own Chief Product Officer and AI expert.

AI can improve your workflow as a small business and smooth out how you run your operation, whether you’re a company of one or fifty.

Here’s a roundup of tools you can use to help you get the upper-hand:

  • Prism turns your store’s cameras into learning tools. With the help of their software, you can not only remotely monitor your business for security, but track your customer’s in-store behavior. How many people walked down the third aisle? Which picked up a product from your counter display? This program can help you analyze what your customer wants using real-time data.
  • Website template powerhouse Wix has employed the “world’s first technology platform that combines website design […] with AI to enable complete websites to be created in a matter of minutes” said Avishai Abrahami, co-founder and CEO of the company. AI develops a first draft of your website based on your answers to a simple questionnaire that asks questions like what category your business falls into, and what your basic design preferences are.
  • There are a number of applications that eliminate some of the more tedious work from your To-Do List. NetSuite is a business management tool that carries out many of your daily responsibilities using artificial intelligence. To name a few, Netsuite tracks inventory, manages accounts and the flow of your money, and helps automate customer service.