AI: a game changer in e-commerce sector

June 27, 2024 - 08:03
The e-commerce industry in Việt Nam, which has seen significant growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, is expected to receive another push from the appliances of artificial intelligence (AI).
Trần Hải Linh, founder of Sendo. — VNS Photo Ly Ly Cao

HÀ NỘI — The e-commerce industry in Việt Nam, which has seen significant growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, is expected to receive another push from the appliances of artificial intelligence (AI). Advanced technology is seen as a game changer in this fast-changing sector. Việt Nam News' reporter Ly Ly Cao spoke to Trần Hải Linh, founder of Sendo, to gain insight into the matter.  

What do you think about the development of our e-commerce sector? 

The e-commerce industry in Việt Nam has made remarkable progress after more than a decade of development. It has now become an integral part of life for residents in major urban areas. 

It's safe to say that there isn't a day that goes by without some form of e-commerce transaction taking place. These transactions go beyond clothing, household items and appliances, they even include food purchases. We can also consider transactions made through banking apps and e-wallets as part of e-commerce. Thus, e-commerce has undeniably become an essential aspect of daily life.

I can confidently say that e-commerce in Việt Nam has undergone significant growth and can now be considered mature compared to its state over ten years ago. 

Initially, two main obstacles hindered the progress of e-commerce. The first challenge was establishing trust among users, while the second issue revolved around cash payments. However, over the past decade, both of these hurdles have been effectively addressed. 

An online shopper looking at the website of Sendo. — VNS Photo Ly Ly Cao

What is your assessment of AI?

AI is not a new topic, as it has been studied for decades. In many industries in Việt Nam, including the e-commerce sector, machine learning and big data applications have been in use for years.

At Sendo, we have applied machine learning and big data technologies in various services, such as online search, recommendation systems and product suggestions for customers - and we have been doing this for many years. We have built a team of data scientists over the past 7-8 years to work on these efforts. 

The entire Vietnamese e-commerce landscape, as well as the technology industry as a whole, has been investing in the field of AI for a relatively long time.

However, with the recent explosion in the widespread adoption of generative AI, specifically ChatGPT, there is now a strong societal interest in this industry. 

With the emergence of generative AI, we are seeing that many tasks that previously required human labour can now be partly handled by machines. 

Given the rapid pace of development, it is likely that an increasing number of tasks, even those with higher levels of complexity, can be solved more quickly and effectively using AI.

How has AI affected the e-commerce industry?

I can provide a very specific example of how AI has had a powerful impact on the e-commerce landscape in Việt Nam.

Ten years ago, when we were just starting this industry, all the sellers were domestic. However, now many foreign sellers are using AI to translate product information. 

This is not just the store name and product, but all the detailed information, data, and consumer reactions are being translated from the local language into Vietnamese. This has played an important role in reducing the barrier of borderless commerce.

This example shows how AI has changed the e-commerce game, creating significant pressure on both domestic and foreign sellers.

How do businesses in the industry manage and take advantage of AI?

AI is essentially a technology, much like any other. Its impact will depend greatly on how it is used by people. I see that many Vietnamese businesses are also very interested in exploring AI and finding the best ways to utilise it.

Additionally, all technologies require human control and must operate within the legal framework established by the government.

In recent years, the government has had very timely and appropriate policies to strongly promote the application of technology in the economy, as well as to mitigate any negative impacts on the economy and consumers. — VNS