E-commerce companies are increasingly using artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and virtual reality (VR) to reduce expenditure on logistics as well as tackle issues related to fraudulent orders, according to a report by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
"Most e-commerce platforms are upping their investments in areas such as conversational commerce, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) and analytics technologies," the report stated.
With regard to AI specifically, the report said the technology was helping e-tailers attract more customers.
"AI-based voice-based shopping in vernacular languages enables deeper customer engagement and smoothens the transition from offline to online by overcoming the language barrier," it added.
Domestic e-tailer Flipkart, which is in the process of being acquired by US retail giant Walmart, currently uses analytics and AI to position products for consumers based on data collected from their purchasing behaviour.
Rival Amazon also presents similar options to its customers but for deals and discounts instead.
The report further stated that companies were also making use of analytics to track stock inside warehouses and separately to link it to the purchasing behaviour of consumers.
In an earlier interview with TechCircle, the India head of automation startup GreyOrange had spoken about how robotics was redefining the supply chain in the context of e-commerce by increasing efficiency and cutting down costs.
The PwC report also said that e-tailers were thinking of implementing blockchain-based solutions to monitor and detect fraudulent orders, which would also quicken payment settlement in transactions where multiple parties are involved.
"Almost all customer interaction for online retailers occurs via phone or email and involves banking information or personal data, e-commerce sites are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks," Sandeep Ladda, PwC India Partner, was quoted as saying by The Economic Times. “Given the recent episodes of data breaches and alleged misuse of customer information, the need for adopting appropriate security measures has escalated significantly.”
The country's policy think-tank Niti Aayog has also been mulling the use of blockchain in order to curb the sale of fake medicines in the country.