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Autonomous Commerce: The Smart AI Future of B2B Online Commerce

Written by Tobias Giese

The most important facts in 20 seconds
  • Autonomous Commerce supports shoppers and retailers with artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.
  • Self-managing commerce experiences simplify the customer journey and help with crucial merchant decisions.
  • B2B businesses reap numerous benefits: e.g., improving the customer experience, creating a clear competitive advantage, automating key processes, and driving business growth.
  • Big data processing, data quality and AI expertise of employees are vital requirements to take off into Autonomous Commerce successfully.

Whether in industry publications or among insiders, Autonomous Commerce is currently seen as one of the most spectacular trends in B2B e-commerce. And understandably: Autonomous Commerce is the logical next step in the progression of current developments and innovative technologies in online business. At its core, the idea is to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation to provide maximum help to buyers and sellers. The goal is to make a self-managing shopping experience that simplifies how customers buy things and helps sellers make important decisions. Think of Autonomous Commerce like self-driving cars: automated processes handle routine tasks for sellers and buyers, needing very little human involvement. For example, new products get sorted into categories automatically. This approach brings lots of advantages for big global companies doing B2B business. The most important perk? With Autonomous Commerce, businesses can sell more without needing to hire more staff.

Autonomous commerce opens up new business potential for b2b companies



Let's take the example of a company that makes 3D printers and sells them online to other businesses. Instead of just having a regular online store, the company offers a special digital website for customers. This website gives customers personalized information, prices, and easy ways to do things themselves. Here, customers can create a digital version of their printers. If one of these printers has a problem and stops working, the customer service team is automatically told about it. The needed replacement parts or things that have worn out are also automatically ordered. This happens because sensors have detected a problem or the computer analysis predicted that parts would need to be changed. This situation shows us: By using AI to connect all the systems that customers and the company use, Autonomous Commerce has a lot of potential for B2B companies. This helps them take their online business to a higher level. Some benefits include:

  • Making Customers Happier: With Autonomous Commerce, companies can make shopping online smoother and more personal for customers. They use smart technology to understand what customers like and suggest products they might want to buy. They also offer special deals that match what each customer likes.

  • Getting Ahead of the Competition: By using Autonomous Commerce, companies can be better than their competitors. They can give faster and more efficient services. This helps them win and keep customers in a tough market.

  • Doing Things Automatically: Using Autonomous Commerce, companies can make things like keeping track of products, processing orders, and sending them out happen by themselves. This saves time and money.

  • Growing the Business: With Autonomous Commerce, companies can grow and expand their business. They can use technology to do important tasks automatically and use smart computer systems to help them make decisions. This lets them focus on creating new things and making their business even bigger.

Breaking down data barriers, getting employees involved: how to start


Before companies can really get going with Autonomous Commerce, they need to do a few things first. One important step is to connect different computer systems so they can gather and study lots of data from different places. This helps the smart computer programs (AI) learn better. It's also really important that the data is good quality so the computer programs can do their best work. Sometimes, this means making sure that data isn't stuck in separate places, so it can be looked at, understood, and used well.

But, at the end of the day, humans are still really important for making AI and Autonomous Commerce work well. Nobody knows customers and products better than the people who talk to customers. This special knowledge that people have can't be replaced by computers. So, it's a good idea to teach employees about how AI works early on. This way, they can understand and make the best use of the data and results that come from Autonomous Commerce.

For more helpful information about AI and making business work better online, watch the talk by Intershops Communications, diconium, and IFH Köln about Autonomous Commerce on YouTube (available only in German).



Tobias Giese

Executive VP Customer Lifecycle bei Intershop

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