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How Mobile Taobao uses AI to increase sales conversion

Nayela Deeba | June 21, 2017
Merchants on the platform can also use live-streaming and short videos, as well as Weitao to engage with customers.


Alibaba's mobile shopping app, Mobile Taobao, has powered its platform with big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to boost sales and increase consumer engagement.

The company revealed that AI is being used to generate accurate product recommendation for its customers, based on their shopping history.

"We can analyse [customers'] attributes, characteristics, past purchase history, purchasing behaviour and perceived purchasing intention [to help us] make recommendations more relevant and targeted," explained Jiang Fan, app manager, Mobile Taobao.

The company also uses AI to design banner advertisement for merchants, making sure each ad is targeted to consumers according to their profiles. The AI is also able to track click-through rates, and replace less effective ads with more engaging ones in real-time.

To further optimise user experience, Mobile Taobao is leveraging other AI-powered tools such as a customer service chatbot and shopping assistant too.


The rise of guided shopping

Besides that, the mobile app allows brands to tell their stories via live-streaming and short-form videos, instead of merely posting pictures of their product.

Such methods are well-received by the 468 million Chinese shoppers that use the app monthly, with users spending an average of 18 minutes a day watching live-streamed video on the app and half of them clicking on the flagship store while watching videos, said Fan.

He explained that live-streaming content is in demand because it allows consumers to interact with celebrity influencers and get their recommendations in real time. "If search was the primary route to purchase in the past, today guided purchase is becoming more and more important," he said.

As for short-form videos, there are currently 500,000 of them on Taobao. Fan predicts that in five years' time, most products on the platform will be presented in a short-video ad/story.

To keep users engaged, the app also features Weitao, a micro-blogging service.  Brand media partners and cyber celebrities can use the service to interact with shoppers through a question-and-answer format forum.  So far, more than 5,000 brands, media outlets and cyber celebrities using the service to reach shoppers.


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