Businesses now look to communicate with their clients via more than one channel. The integration of AI into this strategy is expected to yield major improvements in both the satisfaction of end-users and how well companies manage their activities.
1. Omni-channel – the optimal approach to customer engagement
Technology has transformed the interaction between brands and their consumers. A study published in Harvard Business Review revealed that 73% of customers engage in multiple channels. The “omnichannel customers” are well-fed with brands’ updates to make informed decisions and become hungrier for the next best things. As a result, sales service is urged to be delivered on various channels to stand out and avoid obsolescence.
An Omnichannel strategy means a dynamic sales approach that engages with clients and delivers excellent customer care from various touchpoints. The most important feature of such a strategy lies in the consistent experience customers receive whether they are purchasing on their mobile phone, laptop, or even at a brick-mortar shop.
Meanwhile, AI’s ability to learn from data and make decisions made it widely applied in the retailing industry. In the coming time, AI will become even more skillful in defining key traits of customers and providing better data analytics support. Therefore, it will become the underlying driver of omnichannel excellence.
2. A seamless, hyper-personalized shopping experience for clients
With the help of AI, all phases of the shopping experience will feature a whole new level of personalization. From product discovery to payment and post-purchase customer service, AI ensures a seamless journey that fulfills their needs and requests.
Future AI will also see further refinement in recognizing patterns and discovering personal preferences from unstructured data, such as locations or viewed images and videos. Accordingly, it will quickly generate relevant suggestions in prioritized search results or digital ad displays.
Such customized recommendations will trigger customers’ needs to purchase, leading to a potentially higher conversion rate. For example, a Russian e-commerce platform named Lamoda has employed an AI-based recommendation engine. It offers products according to the weather in the user’s location. If there is heavy snow or cold weather in an area, the clients will see more heavy coats or boots.
For brick-and-mortar stores, AI promotes a unique in-store experience that is convenient, fast, and gradually decreasing human involvement. They are replacing human interaction with conversational interfaces such as virtual chatbots or live agents. Macy’s, an American department store chain, has introduced an app called “Macy’s on Call”. It allows customers to inquire a chatbot about whether an item is in stock and where they can pick it.
In the future, AI will be able to predict customers’ preferred options without asking them directly. To illustrate, Uniqlo plans to install AI-powered kiosks in several stores that can measure customers’ reactions to different clothing items and make suggestions accordingly.
3. Insights that help companies predict trends and effectively manage their strategy
Companies need to make dynamic and rapid adjustments to maximize the ability to fulfill their customers’ needs. This is especially important when functioning on different channels, which can be challenging to manage uniformly.
AI can provide enormous assistance in this regard, as it enables real-time performance tracking, data analysis, hence providing valuable insights that call for corresponding actions and changes. In the long run, it may even facilitate solid predictive analytic algorithms that help businesses understand customers and tailor their approaches.
One example is how it assists companies in adjusting the selling price. Currently, seasonal trends and tendencies are the basis for those decisions. However, with AI-driven predictive analytics, businesses can decide when to start pushing or decreasing prices based on sophisticated data gathered like competitor prices, inventory levels, target customers’ income, etc.
With the rising need to maximize the efficiency of their omnichannel strategies and ensure customer retention, businesses should consider integrating AI into their infrastructure. AI stands as a powerful tool to facilitate the long-term development of omnichannel retailing.