Brands toe the AI line for better consumer experience

For shoppers who have dreamt of having a personal assistant, AI simplifies the shopping process

Strategising marketing, advertising and sales efforts is no longer a Herculean task for brands and retailers, with many elevating consumer experiences with the help of artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data.

Since customers in today’s digital world demand hyper-personalised content and tailored experiences from their favourite brands, several e-tailers are perfecting their moves.

“Advanced AI capabilities, that we have only known through science-fiction movies, such as chatbots and virtual shopping assistants, are quite real now, and many online retailers are already using them to serve customers in a better, more interactive manner,” Sudeshna Datta, co-founder and Executive Vice-President, AbsolutData, an analytics firm, told BusinessLine.

While Alibaba is using AI to create personalised shopping experiences for its consumers, Amazon has introduced and perfected some of the key use-cases for AI, machine learning, and analytics in e-commerce marketing, in addition to developing innovative communication strategies.

Flipkart, too, has stepped on the gas, and is keen to utilise its e-commerce data on consumer behaviour that is has collated over the past 10 years. At Myntra, AI and personalisation are set to remain the company’s core tech focus.

Market segmentation

AI systems also enable a deeper level of segmentation, so brands can automatically create audiences for specific advertising and marketing campaigns. Digital consultancy SapientRazorfish recently partnered with Microsoft to help global cosmetics retailer Sephora integrate AI into its marketing systems.

With an aim to create more intelligent and personalised customer experiences and build more effective marketing campaigns, the digital firm could well hone its capabilities on some Indian retailers.

SapientRazorfish’s COSMOS platform uses Microsoft Azure and its Cortana Intelligence Suite to glean information about a customer’s purchasing history and profile information.

The retailer can then notify customers either by email, direct mail or SMS when their favourite products are in stock, or on sale, and even when customers are near one of their retail stores, thanks to AI.

It is not just what consumers like or dislike; various other factors, such as the consumer’s spending patterns and buying preferences, also play an important role in identifying what prospective customers want, how much and when.

Given the increasingly dynamic retail interactions, either at the store front or online, personalisation is turning out to be key for marketers to connect with the omni-channel shopper.

“By delving deep into the vast pool of consumer data, AI can identify trends and preferences which are just plain impossible for human retailers to find,” says Datta.

Your personal shopper

AI-powered tools tap into diverse data from multiple sources, she adds, to develop relevant content to attract consumers by catering to their stated and unstated needs.

For shoppers who have dreamt of having a personal shopper, AI simplifies the shopping process.

The benefits are not solitary, since the technology is contributing to higher sales and better customer experiences that improve retail brands as well as the bottom line.

“In AI, brands have a highly efficient and data-driven tool on hand to prepare a blueprint, one which will enhance order-handling, customer service and personalisation. Retailers, in turn, tend to reap rich dividends in the form of higher revenues, increased margins and growth in sales,” she adds.

Predicting the future

Demand forecasting is yet another tool increasingly being used by brands and retailers. Predicting the demand from consumers for each product is an essential aspect of devising a successful marketing and advertising campaign.

“AI makes this extremely simple by integrating with the seller’s inventory management system. AI-based solutions can forecast the demand for each product category and product, thereby minimising overstocking and out-of-stock situations.”