AI is transforming the retail industry in a way that’s deeply personal and adaptive for each customer, enabling retailers to know what customers needs are before they even know themselves.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is doing what loyalty programs have failed to do – it’s building customer loyalty by understanding shoppers’ individual needs, price-elasticity, time and channel preference.
Although online shopping continues to rise up, showing consistent growth in retail, the way we use e-commerce is still a little archaic. Think about all the boxes that need to be filled, the filters and options to input and some of the processes that aren’t very intuitive. It’s very different to the in-store process, where you can touch and feel merchandise and engage with a store person and have a conversation about your specific needs, like: “Does this come in yellow?” or “Is this meant to be loose fit or a snug fitted overcoat?” They’ll help you find what you’re looking for or the answers straight away.
It doesn’t quite happen the same way online. AI is about to change this though, with its ability to understand unstructured data very quickly, which is referred to as “natural language” processing. This type of marketing is expected to grow to US $13.4 billion in three years time, according to research firm Markets and Markets.
Natural language processing is the main component of personal AI shopping assistants. Take Mona, for instance. Developed by former Amazon.com employees, the more you interact with Mona, the more she learns about your likes and dislikes, your preferences and the more intuitive she becomes for your next shopping experience.
AI was the most prominent message at last week’s Shoptalk event in Las Vegas, which was rammed down attendees’ throats hard, as the most important transformation coming to the retail environment.
eBay’s president and CEO Devin Wenig told the audience that if you don’t have an artificial intelligence strategy, you are going to die. The benefits of artificial intelligence have been on display during presentations and across the Shoptalk showroom floor. Rebecca Minkoff’s co-founder Uri Minkoff showed how, using Amazon’s Alexa AI product, he was able to get business insights immediately by asking a few questions, showing AI’s application as a management tool.
Google demonstrated the abilities of Google Assistant, using voice to find a specific type of shoes in the local area and get directions to the store sent to the Google Home app on the user’s phone.
According to research from Gartner, 85% of all customer transactions will be managed by a non-human in just one year’s time. It’s predicted to happen very quickly, so its advisable to get moving on your AI strategy… or be toast!
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