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Recently, it came to my attention that there are still human beings behind my favourite e-commerce sites. Imagine my surprise. It stands to reason that AI could handle every aspect of e-commerce. When will it? That depends on how quickly AI advances, and it depends on one other very important factor: Will AI be able to do emotionally rich customer service jobs?

Human customer service doesn’t seem like it’s really a part of e-commerce, but it is. When it comes to online shopping hacks, e-commerce coupon site RetailMeNot recommends calling a customer service person and asking them for discounts. In other words, haggle with them.

Additionally, “Although some shopping websites automatically find the lowest prices for you, it never hurts to ask a customer service rep to lower an online price by a couple of bucks.” RetailMeNot points out that human intervention in the online shopping process is good business because it cultivates return customers for the retailer. It’s also great for the customer who wants to save money.

How long before chatbots replace those human customer service agents? The top e-commerce firms use chatbots to respond to customer inquiries, but the idea of haggling with a chatbot doesn’t make a lot of …

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