In this new age of ecommerce, marketing means providing a seamless experience across channels, delighting customers with same-day deliveries, providing excellent customer service and recommendations, and sending real-time personalized messages your customers will thank you for.
But personalized commerce isn’t just about big data — it’s about the innovative ways to use that data. Retailers who are proactively working to give their customers the best experience possible are approaching marketing in a totally different manner.
Here are three ways to use artificial intelligence to make your marketing more customer-centric.
1. AI-powered visual search enhances the shopping experience
Visual search has been around for a long time, but with the advancements in artificial intelligence and the rise of mobile commerce, it’s now gaining acceptance with the retailers. The American department store Neiman Marcus uses a Snap. Find. Shop feature that allows customers to take pictures of anything they like and have the app display similar items from the store’s inventory. Neiman Marcus has been able to increase app usage and customer engagement since implementing visual search. Retail brands that are using visual search to improve the online shopping experience include Asos, John Lewis, Shoes.com, Nordstrom, and Urban Outfitters.
Neiman Marcus has deployed another cutting-edge tech, called Memory Mirror, to engage their customers. The technology allows shoppers to digitally compare outfits by capturing a 360-degree view of themselves in an outfit and letting them send those images to friends via email and social media. Memory Mirror is a virtual dressing room, the feature online shoppers miss the most when they skip in-store shopping.
2. AI chatbots are the next big shift in customer service
According to IBM, 65 percent of millennials prefer interacting with bots to talking to live agents, and as we all get more accustomed to it, this number will only go up across all population segments.
The rising popularity of mobile messaging apps and the need for 24/7 service has made chatbots a hit with the e-tailers. Brands are using chatbots for improving customer experience, to offer recommendations and services, and to automate the purchase process.
The most popular chatbot platforms include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Slack. Top brands like Uber, Burberry, and 1-800-Flowers have been successfully engaging and acquiring new customers with one-to-one chat experience using chatbots.
Chatbots have also turned out to be a big hit with the travel brands. Kayak, Skyscanner, and Expedia have launched bots of their own.
Fashion and beauty brands too are using chatbots to connect with their clients and create a more personalized experience. As per a BI report, “Cosmetic chain Sephora used its lifestyle bot on Kik to get users to complete a survey. The survey had a 40% completion rate, a considerably higher rate than similar campaigns on other platforms.”
Ecommerce is a very competitive landscape. The brands that will thrive in 2017 will be those that will harness the power of new technology to create a more personal experience for customers.
3. AI-powered deep learning offers rich customer insights
Online retailers are poised to master the art of selling by using AI. User data helps them understand customer intent and make intelligent predictions in real time. The machine learning (ML) algorithms are advanced enough to offer personalized recommendations based on varied customer dimensions like behavior, activities, profile data, and so on.
Retailers are also using AI to predict customer behavior. ML algorithms trained on huge data sets are powerful and intuitive enough to drive action out of the big data. AI has leveraged the marketer’s voracious appetite for deeper contextual insights like the best time to send marketing communications, the time when a customer is most likely to buy.
AI also empowers marketers in a multitude of ways, including deep product catalog insights, customer location data, and automatic inventory management, in order to deliver contextual marketing at the most opportune moment. With the advancements in technology, AI is constantly helping marketers connect with their customers in new and meaningful ways.
Nandini Rathi is the CMO of Betaout, a marketing automation and customer intelligence platform for ecommerce companies.