How AI Is Revolutionizing the Retail Customer Experience
AI is taking over many industries and the retail customer experience is no exception — learn how this technology continues to change business models.
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Artificial intelligence is here and is already having an impact in many industries. According to IDC, global spending on artificial intelligence systems is forecast to reach €31 billion in 2019, a 44% increase from 2018 spending. For any business that hasn't started its AI journey, it's time to look into the opportunities it provides.
This is because AI is revolutionizing every industry and sector, including the retail customer experience. Still, a lot of people are still not aware of the effects of AI or do not understand the scope of its applications. From helping customers find items through visual search to customizing their entertainment experience through chatbots, AI is revolutionizing the retail industry in a number of ways.
Companies are also increasingly pouring huge amounts of money into AI to stay on top of their game. Artificial Intelligence is becoming the starting point for retailers due to the efficiency it brings to operations by replacing human beings. Humans are prone to mistakes, but AI can help eliminate the inefficiencies that humans put into operation. It can minimize the need to do repetitive tasks by automating the process and improving performance.
Here we present the different ways in which artificial intelligence is already affecting the Customer Experience (CX) in millions of consumers.
AI's Role in Customer Experience
Personalized Shopping Experience
Personalization is an integral part of the customer experience, and companies are looking for ways to individualize all stages of their customer journey. However, there is frustration among consumers who have to search for a long time to find useful and tailored content. As a solution, AI can help create and update content personalized to specific customers. It can spot common phrases and words related to specific issues in support tickets and ultimately make content optimization recommendations.
Artificial Intelligence can assist retail companies in better accumulating and organizing their customers' big data. Using this data, AI can reach conclusions and create a more tailored shopping experience for users. When you have users' data, you know what they like — this helps create a more engaging experience for customers based on their interests and tastes. Additionally, retailers can predict a product's performance in the market by learning from the past, helping them make better strategic decisions.
Targeted Marketing Campaigns
Using Artificial Intelligence algorithms, retailers can carry out targeted marketing campaigns. By creating customer-specific ads based on their region, preferences, and shopping habits, conversion rates can skyrocket. Targeted marketing improves customer loyalty and retention, improving their ads experience. It also assists in retaining customers since a lot of business future profits are generated from returning customers.
Virtual Dressing Rooms
Virtual test rooms can be a reality with AI. Trying on different dresses can be overwhelming and time-consuming at the same time. Also, it is not possible to test all the options you have. An interactive digital dressing room recognizes the product the moment you enter the cabin allowing you to try on different sizes, colors, and styles. You do your fittings in front of the mirror, which adapts each product to your criteria. If the outfit does not suit you, you can try another one by simply pressing the digital mirror screen.
With these virtual cabins, you no longer need to spend three-quarters of an hour undressing and then getting dressed again before finding the outfit that you like and suits you: a considerable saving of time, a guarantee of hygiene, and above all, a recreational experience. Buyers can also experiment with their equipment using a touch interface. Additionally, this technology also helps cosmetics companies who can benefit immensely since a customer can see what a product would look like on them without actually applying it.
Chatbots are a great example of how robots are improving customer service in the store. The bot helps customers find an item they are looking for and provides other information about the product. Using AI-enabled chat agents, a customer can request the products they need to locate via voice or through touch panels. Not only this, but smart speakers are becoming ubiquitous. As per a report by Business Insider Intelligence, smart speakers have achieved 50% penetration in the US, becoming one of the fastest-growing consumer technologies.
Voice assistants like Google Assistant and Apple Siri are already changing retail customer experiences for the better, but they could soon be used for even more. Recently, Google announced Google Duplex with an incredibly realistic demo of their AI, making reservations for a user. Google Duplex can literally talk to a human being and can make a phone call and speak to the representative on the other end of the line to schedule appointments, place orders, or make reservations.
With the help of AI, customers receive personalized recommendations based on their known preferences and purchase history. This helps shoppers find the needle in the haystack — the items they're looking for among the millions of products available. It also helps the retailer to secure a sale while providing a better consumer experience.
Predicting and Matching Customer Expectations
Another real opportunity for artificial intelligence to improve consumer experience is by predicting customer behavior in real-time. For a little over a year, AI has been a game-changer when it comes to marketing strategies. However, algorithms now offer retailers the possibility of establishing purchasing attitudes for each of their consumers and thus predicting their future desires so as to suggest to each the product most suited to their current expectations.
Moreover, predictive analysis in real-time not only allows merchants to engage customers by offering them a new adapted service but also to retain them and optimize the various marketing channels allowing their requests to be processed efficiently. In retail, customer behavior data is a key element, and when coupled with a customer's purchase history, it allows retailers to know which product will fully satisfy a customer and which are those for which a consumer is likely to be tempted.
So Where Are We Heading?
Never before have data and early insights into consumer trends been so important. The information that can be gathered in real-time from customer data during and after the purchase enables organizations to make relevant operational decisions about their customer experience.
AI allows retailers to improve the experience of their customers in ways that were impossible before. It is fast becoming surprisingly advanced, and once an inspiration for science fiction movies and novels, AI has been transformed into everyday reality.
However, at its root, AI is just software like many others, why is why conducting regular tests and feeding varied data into it is crucial for success. Hence, for brands looking to implement AI into their process and make it a part of their CX strategy, it is necessary to conduct multiple testing before the AI is finally released to customers.
AI is already interacting with the public in many ways, but it still remains an unknown concept for many end-users. Any AI functionality that doesn't improve the customer experience or live up to high consumer standards runs the risk of companies being behind on their goal. That is why businesses must ensure the correct experience when working with AI by testing it from the beginning.
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