We always say that Artificial Intelligence is pervasive and connects many aspects of our daily life.
It's a feature that can be easily associated with another element that we meet every day: the retail field. It might seem quite weird. Probably we don't fully realise it by walking in the street. However, yes, the retail field is deeply bound to Artificial Intelligence in many ways. We're not talking only about the online part, but also about real experience.
Usually, we consider the retail field as something widespread in our daily lives. The retail field is a very physical and material world, we might say. This is not always true: experience marketing is a part of retail, of course, but also are email marketing and database analysis.
Retail is probably the first and most common kind of store we know since we were children. We go to buy the milk, the bread, then chewing-gums. After that, we go shopping, and we walk for a couple of hours among our favourite shops - or e-commerce websites. It’s projected that 83% of goods purchased globally in 2022 will still be bought in-store according to Euromonitor International.
So, physical shopping is still going pretty well, and our experience isn't changed a lot during the last 20-25 years, right? More or less. When you go shopping, you interact, talk and discuss with the staff, try on a few dresses, pay. Maybe you leave your data to receive a fidelity card. If you prefer online shopping, you can order your products - clothes, vegetables or groceries - at home, and that's it. But marketing automation - and AI - is something that will dramatically modify the reality we know nowadays.
Better to say, it's already done it.
Marketing automation is the best way to keep in touch with our clients, even after they're out from our shop or if they shopped on our online store. Advertising is perfect for acquiring new customers and prospects. Marketing Automation is ideal if you want to keep your client close and make them feel special.
Thanks to Marketing Automation you can "form meaningful connections with each customer through personalised marketing campaigns, unique promotions, timely reminders and more. Who wouldn't want to receive only messages they are personally interested in, over their favourite mode of communication?"
The main thing you can do with marketing automation is to build a more tight relationship with your customers. It can increase productivity, downsize marketing outgoing and intercept exciting prospects. But how does it work? Here we are some actions you can take thanks to Marketing Automation:
Create an active community, thanks to personalisation. If you have a shop, you can create a belonging feeling by taking care of your customers. For example, if some of your clients buy a particular type of product (a wool sweater, crime books, yellow gold jewellery), you send them a personalised newsletter. The content could be something about how to best get from their purchase, some upselling product suggestions, and so on. The aim is keeping in touch.
Another way for keeping up the engagement is sending a fidelity card. When your customers first came into your shop, you can ask for their email in change for an immediate or future promise of discounts. A welcome mail along with, let's say, a coupon, it could be an excellent way for building a new long last loyal relationship.
Customer care. By using Marketing Automation, a retail shop can track every single customer touchpoint to improve customer experience. Automated customer care activities include: making products suggestions, managing different customer care channels, activating loyalty cards.
All the above marketing automation activities can leverage Artificial Intelligence for Retailer new kind of strategies.
Let's see how AI can be helpful for retailers and customer engagement.
Marketing Automation is a powerful and useful tool, but "Artificial intelligence has the potential to completely transform the traditional retail experience and take it to the next level with personalisation, automation and increased efficiency."
And that's true!
AI is capable of filling in the gap between physical and digital channel, and it can be an energy boost to make clients more loyal and happy. If Marketing Automation can make processes more comfortable and quicker, AI can go further, by making everything more accessible, faster, and smarter. AI can be used in the retail field in many different ways, useful for the final customer and retailers, too. Having AI-based software allows to improve the customer journey and customer satisfaction, and to simplify retailer's to-do-list. "Utilising artificial intelligence can free up time for business owners by completing daily tasks, which allows them to dedicate more time to advancing their overall business strategy. Besides, AI can even gather detailed customer patterns and preferences, which make for more informed business decisions in the long run."
Of course, AI doesn't serve for mechanical automation only. One of its more powerful features it the capacity to collect, analyse and make useful a massive amount of data. Both from the shop or the customers, it can "gather detailed customer patterns and preferences, which make for more informed business decisions in the long run. When customer and sales data is processed through these algorithms, the AI model discovers actionable information about a business and its customers and inventory". It can play a significant role in consumer's experience in-store and their satisfaction, thanks to the way it can store data.
Let's find out some examples:
Locate items and find your way through a store. Some stores are quite challenging to visit, maybe because of their spaces or because it's not completely clear where every item is. Lowes found out how to solve it by using a robot. It can ask the customers what they need, thanks to simple questions, and provides the correct indication to users. The AI, called LoweBot, is also capable of monitoring inventory, so the store receives constant updates about products availability, supply chain needs, and so on.
Find the perfect match. Sephora has created Color IQ. It's an AI-based feature that scans a customer's face to provide personalised recommendations for foundation and concealer shades. There is also a lipstick colour version of the same feature, called Lip IQ.
Groceries and more. Amazon already uses an AI-based system to recommend products, based on the navigation history of the account owner and similar ones. Let's say that you buy a self-help book and you're interested in meditation. Then, a lot of people buy a self-help book and a meditation cushion. Well, in this case, Amazon may suggest you buy a cushion as well.
Artificial Intelligence can incredibly help retail, and we are sure that revolution is just at the early stage. Are you ready? Have you already tried AI-based add on to your usual activity?
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