How To Win With AI In Ecommerce + Not Go Broke First

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From AI-powered chatbots to personalized recommendations, there isn’t much about ecommerce and online sales that an algorithm can’t help with. 

Meanwhile, even if AI tools were once a luxury feature for big brands with even bigger budgets, that’s no longer the case. 

Today, there are many low-cost AI tools that even the smallest brands can add to their ecommerce sites to boost success. 

At What Cost Is AI In Ecommerce Changing the Game?

Running an ecommerce site today looks a lot different than it did just a few years ago. Here are a few ways AI is reshaping the ecommerce landscape.

Personalized shopping experiences

Turning visitors into customers is a challenge faced by all up-and-coming ecommerce sites. One way to turn lookers into buyers is to add personalization to the customer experience on your website.

You know that feeling when you make one Google search about something and suddenly that thing seems to pop up everywhere you go online. That’s AI at work, and the algorithms behind it amplify when they have personalized data to analyze. 

Similarly, whenever you shop online, you leave a digital footprint. Past purchases, personal preferences, and buying patterns are just a few of the data buckets where your information lives. Ecommerce sites use AI algorithms to compile and analyze this data to generate personalized recommendations for you.

This is how companies can deliver product recommendations that are specific to you. Sometimes they send you an email or an SMS later on, and sometimes you see real-time recommendations as you continue to browse the site. 

These tactics boost the likelihood that you’ll make another purchase. After all, you’re seeing things you’ve already shown interest in. The battle to capture your attention is already won. All that’s left is to click the Add to Cart button and finalize your transaction.

Target, for example, is a company that does a good job of using customer information to share similar items.

Target's Recommended for You page

Nearly all major retailers, including Target, incorporate this AI-driven technology into their sites—and smaller sites are able to do so, too. For instance, many of the best ecommerce platforms offer AI-powered functionality that makes it very easy to add a recommendation engine to your site.

Dynamic pricing

If you’ve ever purchased an airplane ticket, you know what dynamic pricing looks like in the wild. Depending on when you buy, you can feel like you got a great deal or paid too much. This can be exhilarating and frustrating, and you can thank AI algorithms for it.

These algorithms are constantly analyzing market conditions, demand, competitor pricing, and customer behavior to deliver real-time pricing that is adjusted for those factors.

Ecommerce retailers apply the same strategy. For example, if you keep an item in your Amazon cart long enough, you’ll eventually get a notification that the price for that item has increased or decreased.

As such, dynamic pricing benefits retailers because it allows them to adjust pricing as needed to optimize profits and remain competitive in a crowded marketplace. There’s also a psychological component to it for the buyer—because you feel like you’re getting a better deal when you see the price drop.

Enhanced customer service

Customer service is one of the biggest factors that can drive an ecommerce site’s success (or failure). Spend a few minutes browsing any review site like TrustPilot or Yelp, and you’ll quickly notice that poor customer service is one of the biggest customer complaints.

One way to boost your ecommerce site’s customer service experience is with AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants. These tools can be trained to provide instant responses to common questions, help with product searches, and even walk a customer through the purchasing process. 

Pura, a smart fragrance company, is a good example of a small ecommerce company that uses this technology.

Pura "What can we help you with?" page

Visitors who browse Pura’s website can get help with orders, account questions, and product issues with one click from the homepage. Meanwhile, customers are redirected to a live agent if the automated technology cannot resolve the issue. 

The biggest benefit of these AI-powered tools is that they are available 24/7, meaning customers can often resolve issues or get questions answered independently outside of regular business hours. Tools like this also reduce the workload for your customer service agents.

Keep in mind that chatbots and virtual assistants are still not a replacement for your live customer support team, but they can be a great asset that frees up your team members for other more pressing responsibilities. 

How much do these AI solutions cost?

Some solutions are custom-built for big ecommerce platforms with fat wallets devoted to AI technology. While the exact numbers are not known, large-scale proprietary solutions can cost anywhere from tens of thousands to millions to deploy, monitor, and maintain.

Off-the-shelf AI solutions cost much less, of course—and you can still expect to spend hundreds or thousands each month to add some of these services to your ecommerce site. While this might not be a hurdle for established ecommerce brands, those just starting out might find it a struggle.

The good news is that many free and low-cost AI tools are available to help ecommerce businesses with lower budgets leverage the power of AI and stay competitive.

5 Low-Cost or Free AI Tools for Ecommerce


ChatGPT is one of the most popular and well-known generative AI tools on the market today. Created by Open AI, ChatGPT lets users type questions and requests in natural language before receiving AI-generated text, image, and video responses. 

Ecommerce sites can use ChatGPT to write product descriptions and even website text. If you run an ecommerce site with hundreds of different products, this can be a huge timesaver.

One caveat is that the final copy may still need human editing to remove awkward words and poor sentence structure. AI is a great tool for quickly generating large amounts of text, but it still requires a human touch to prevent every product description from having the words “robust,” “seamless,” and “comprehensive.”

ChatGPT plans and pricing

There are free and paid versions of ChatGPT. As you’d expect, the free version has limited functionality. However, it is more than adequate for generating product descriptions.

IBM Watsonx Assistant

IBM Watsonx Assistant is part of the larger Watson AI system created by IBM. Watsonx Assistant is a pre-built application with AI-powered voice agent and chatbot frameworks that you can customize and incorporate into your ecommerce site.

Ecommerce sites that use these tools are looking to enhance the customer service experience and provide 24/7 assistance across all of their selling channels.

IBM Watsonx Assistant plans and pricing

IBM Watsonx Assistant is free with its Lite package. This is a great option for low-volume ecommerce sites with fewer than 1,000 users per month. The Plus package is still affordable for higher volume sites at $140 per month.


Lumen5 is an AI-powered video creation platform that helps anyone, regardless of skill level, create engaging and professional-looking videos. The company promises that its software makes creating videos easier than putting together a slide deck. 

Since video is one of the best ways to attract site visitors and convert them into customers, a tool like Lumen5 puts video content within reach for even the smallest ecommerce site.

There’s a free version of Lumen5 called Community. It lets you create up to five videos per month and comes with two free minutes of AI voiceover. Keep in mind that all free videos will have the Lumen5 watermark in them. 

Lumen5 plans and pricing

There are also paid plans that let you omit the watermark and give you more AI voiceover time each month. You’ll also gain access to more than 50 million stock photos and videos, and you can create videos in a higher resolution.


Photoroom is an AI photo editor that lets you create images from your desktop and mobile device. It allows you to remove backgrounds, replace them with AI-generated images, and batch-process hundreds of images in just a few seconds.

Creating product images is one of the most labor-intensive tasks for any ecommerce site that sells products. At the same time, you want the photos on your site to be impeccable because these images directly influence sales.

Photoroom offers a free plan that includes background removal, a retouching tool, and templates.

Photoroom plans and pricing

Photoroom Pro gives you even more photo-editing power, with generative AI backgrounds, an AI image generator, batch mode, and more. Photoroom Pro costs $89.99 per year, which is quite affordable for even the smallest ecommerce budget.


Algolia is an AI-powered tool that supercharges search functionality on an ecommerce website. It promises search results in a few milliseconds, making the customer experience faster and better. 

Fast site performance is essential for any successful ecommerce website, and customer searches are a huge part of that. Even a few milliseconds can mean the difference between a site visitor staying or leaving the site.

Ecommerce sites with fewer than 10,000 search requests per month can use the free version of Algolia.

Algolia plans and pricing

If your site goes beyond 10,000 searches, you can choose the Grow plan and pay as you go. The Premium and Elevate plans are the way to go for bigger sites with far more monthly search requests. Pricing for these plans is available on request.

Let Other Companies Invest In AI for Ecommerce

It’s a safe bet that AI will continue to influence ecommerce in the coming years. Still, as an ecommerce retailer, you don’t have to invest big portions of your budget to take part in the AI wave. Instead, you can leave the heavy investments and the associated risks to the bigger players.

In fact, there’s already a lot of great work being done by companies you might know and trust to bring AI tools to the larger ecommerce market. Here are two of the most popular:

Shopify Magic

This suite of AI tools is designed to help ecommerce merchants on the Shopify platform get a leg up on their competition. Shopify Magic’s tools integrate directly into the Shopify platform so that users can automate and optimize things like the following:

  • Content—Quickly create product descriptions, website copy, images, and blog posts.
  • Customer service—Implement chatbots and automated responses to provide 24/7 help for customers and free up your human agents for other complex tasks.
  • Personalized experience—Offer product recommendations based on customer behavior, past purchases, and preferences.
  • Inventory management—Optimize inventory based on real-time sales and purchasing patterns to avoid running out or having too much.
  • Marketing automation—Streamline email campaigns, social media calendars, and ads with automated content creation and audience targeting based on actual data.

Wix Ascend

Similar to Shopify Magic, Wix Ascend offers AI-driven functionality to help ecommerce sites on the Wix platform optimize their performance. Wix Ascend helps in these key areas:

  • SEO—The Wix SEO Wiz walks users through the process of optimizing their ecommerce website for search engines. The user inputs site and business goals and Wiz generates SEO plans to meet these goals.
  • Chatbots—Free up human agent time and resources by incorporating chatbots to answer common questions and offer 24/7 customer support.
  • Social Media—Build full social media campaigns quickly with automated content creation and suggestions for optimal posting times based on user engagement data.
  • Email Marketing—Automate and personalize your emails based on user behavior and preferences. This boosts engagement and amplifies conversion rates.
  • Workflow Automation—Set up automated workflows that are triggered by customer actions such as abandoned cart reminders and post-purchase review requests.

Most popular ecommerce platforms, including BigCommerce and Squarespace, offer AI-powered tools to help ecommerce sites stay competitive. By leveraging your chosen platform’s resources, you can surely benefit from AI technology without burdening your company with the costs of developing the technology on your own.

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