How AI can unlock customer loyalty

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been disrupting the world’s of finance, healthcare and IT to name a few. Those able to harness the power of AI are reaping the benefits of their data and helping businesses drive efficiencies; however, uptake amongst retailers has so far been limited in comparison.

Microsoft’s recent report, finding that UK retailers are lagging behind other industries when it comes to integrating AI into their operations, reminds us of the opportunity for innovation. With the customer experience being so crucial to brands, it’s seems only logical that marketers would leverage AI to create truly unique customer experiences, increase engagement and bolster business outcomes. So what are some of the obstacles preventing businesses from doing this?

Developing understanding around the benefits of AI for retailers

By understanding the customer journey in more depth, the value AI can bring for businesses becomes more clear. Black Friday is a recent example of a global shopping peak that can shed some light on this.

As shoppers consider the bargains available to them, this spike in activity brings with it a wealth of insight into their online shopping habits, if analysed correctly. For example, whilst consumers are hyper engaged in the run up to Black Friday, this doesn’t guarantee a purchase will be made.

According to Monetate’s recent 2018 analysis of ecommerce activity during Black Friday, derived from more than 290 million UK touchpoints across desktop, mobile, and tablets, 10.4% more shoppers are abandoning their carts year over year in the UK. Despite overall consumer interest being higher than 2017 (with average page views soaring by more than a quarter year over year), shoppers are clearly holding out for a better bargain. Getting consumers to commit to a purchase, and securing their loyalty, is clearly harder than ever.

That is, unless brands and retailers are able to learn from this information, and use it to fuel future personalisation strategies.

Artificial intelligence can deliver on this promise for retailers and brands

Creating robust profiles of normal shopping behaviour, AI can help draw shoppers back by tailoring their experiences to reflect their preferences and recent online activity, rather than just one-time gift-buying habits. Think of AI as the provider of context, enabling brands to see the bigger picture and think more strategically when it comes to shopping peaks.

Everything you need is right here

A lot of the tools brands need to better understand the habits of their customers, is  right under their noses. Attracting thousands, if not millions of visitors to their sites every month, they sit on a bank of data, beaming with insights.

If they know that a customer is viewing a product multiple times a day, and on their mobile, it opens an opportunity to make recommendations that could translate into new activity, and to ensure they’re providing the best experience for their chosen platform. Access to information, and the ability to understand what data means on a personal level, empowers retailers and only serves to improve the customer experience.

It could mean the difference between a customer leaving or returning, after all

Personalisation platforms can help both marketers and retailers personalise via product recommendation capabilities. Using AI and machine learning, the platforms individualise product recommendations and evaluate hundreds of visitor data points. Real-time artificial intelligence weeds out the most fruitful data, allowing brands to action this as and when they see fit.

The fact is, brands and retailers will lose out to their competitors if they don’t wisen up to the need for more personalised customer experiences, and AI’s ability to deliver this. Whilst Black Friday make be a key way of driving consumers to your site or store, relying on these peak shopping occasions won’t ensure them sticking around when the frenzy is over.

By Simon Farthing, director of global strategy and insights at Monetate

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