For the longest time, the retail industry has depended on consumers to come to the store, choose what they want, and decide to make a purchase. But recent advances in technology have given consumers more power than ever before. Now consumers have the ability to look up almost any product before they are even in the store. With this kind of power, how do retailers attract consumers anymore?
With the advent of newer digital technologies, both stores and customers can now engage in online shopping for products or any other service or transaction that requires two sides to agree on a price. Customers get access to a wider variety of sellers to choose from (either renowned companies or individuals selling their own products), more choice in goods and services, and most importantly, better prices and convenience than they may otherwise receive in a physical store.
Digital shopping will be a major part of the future of retail, and some analysts believe that it will soon rival traditional brick-and-mortar establishments. Here are some figures that prove the point:
● In 2020, 18 percent of retail sales took place via ecommerce, with worldwide sales reaching well over $4 trillion.
● In 2021, sales are expected to approach $5 trillion, accounting for 21.8 percent of all retail sales.
● These massive numbers were driven by 2.14 billion digital buyers.
Despite this, the retail industry has to fight for its survival. Conversion rates are low. Only 2.86 percent of an average distributor site’s visitors actually buy something before leaving. Also, it’s not uncommon for customers to go shopping across multiple channels or screens. When they do so, they expect brands to offer a seamless, consistent experience every time.
Without software that empowers them to provide a remarkable level of service at their clients’ touchpoints across the digital world—from websites and campaigns through SMS, to chatbots and social media—retail and ecommerce providers struggle with getting an edge over competitors who might be able to offer more friendly and dynamic customer experiences simply by being present across more advanced technology platforms.
Improve Customer Journey at Every Stage
Conversational AI in retail can help with conversions. This technology isn’t just about being able to talk to customers on any channel or just basic customer service queries. It enables smart conversations that are highly targeted, measured, and optimized. With this technology in place, retailers have better conversion rates, tap into new revenue streams in retail through multichannel experiences, and solve the problems of sales in-person or online with seamless omnichannel experiences.
One of the biggest advantages of conversational AI solutions in retail is that it can help improve the entire customer journey:
• Discover: “What is the price of the denim jackets from XYZ company?”
• Transact: “I want to buy the denim jackets from XYZ company in Size S.”
• Track: “Can you tell me when my order for the denim jackets from XYZ company in Size S will arrive?”
• Support: “I purchased denim jackets from XYZ company in Size S. I want to exchange them for Size M.”
• Re-engage: “We have a special Independence Day offer for you on denim jackets from XYZ company in Size M!”
Shop, Get Order Updates, Get Delivery Updates, Pay Without Cash
A sound conversational messaging platform is built on the principles of connecting brands with their consumers in an interactive manner. It gives you experience with contactless shopping, conversational commerce, and smart messaging.
With conversational AI, merchants in different sectors can take advantage of the benefits of working with a conversational messaging platform. They can also avail the ability to leverage SMS messaging through WhatsApp and SMS. Customers can create their own personal offers, discounts, and deals along with custom branding to send promotions directly with your link so that you can send deals or reminders effortlessly. They can access hyperlocal or national delivery partners to receive quick shipments for items. Finally, merchants can seamlessly integrate contactless payment systems into their shopping functionality, which will create a seamless experience between online stores and physical stores alike.
Using AI in the retail industry is both easy and cost-effective. The process of adding digital experiences helps retailers grow their business faster. In this contactless state of affairs, the best way to digitize retail business, engage customers, and grow is with conversational commerce.
Conversational solutions empower retail stores to make their businesses fully digital in the new world. From marketing and commerce to support, retailers can now digitize every aspect of their operations without having to invest in building their own proprietary technologies.
The author, Beerud Sheth, is CEO of Gupshup.