As Customer Experience (CX) grows higher on the priority agenda for retailers, the digital advantage created by AI adoption cannot be underestimated. AI-led CX strategies help in proactively anticipating customer needs and fostering long-term loyalty. According to Grand View Research, in the U.S. alone, the CX market is looking at a CAGR of 18.1 percent between now and 2030.
AskSid.ai, our newly acquired retail digital assistant, approaches CX from a vertical standpoint, bringing with it a deep understanding of retail domain ontology, thereby allowing businesses to help consumers at every step of their shopping journey, from pre-purchase to post-purchase, driving sales and conversions.
The benefits of an integrated vertical AI solution include automation of the entire CX workflow, from identifying customer intent and needs, to gaining insights on how they operate as decision-makers, to positioning the right products at the right moment. These are factors that not only lead to improved customer experience but also higher sales and conversions.
Here are four ways in which retail businesses can foster CX transformation using AI:
1. Leveraging meaningful customer data: Customer data is possibly one of the most prized possessions of a retail business. Interestingly, retailers are sitting on mountains of unstructured customer data, hardly realizing the potential it holds. The IDC had predicted that unstructured data would form 80 percent of all data by the year 2025. This makes having an automated and self-learning AI system that continually processes and assimilates customer data to unlock different needs across touchpoints non-negotiable for data-intensive industries like retail.
2. Prioritizing AI-led data analytics: Data analytics helps connect the dots and move from a siloed customer data view to one that is more comprehensive. By applying data analytical models to every single customer interaction, brands can access actionable insights that create a unified view of a customer’s needs. In conjunction with evolving customer trends, shopping patterns, and relevant market data, retail brands can arrive at a proactive way to approach personalization. Businesses would also be able to better understand customer journeys, eliminate hurdles in the customer journey, and ensure a seamless flow from consideration to purchase, across channels.
3. Investing in Natural Language models that are domain-centric: Natural Language libraries that are vertically integrated are built on a strong foundation of the industry in question and its nuances. Natural Language models allow businesses to tailor conversations based on specific needs, know when to promote sales or new launches, reduce delays in providing resolutions, and improve the accuracy of search results. Natural Language models are also the foundation of self-serve CX, allowing customers to seek out high-quality support in a frictionless and timely manner.
4. Deploying digital assistants at every customer touchpoint across pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase: According to Accenture, 91percent of consumers state that they prefer shopping with brands that provide recommendations that are relevant to them. Digital assistants leverage retail AI models to sift through comprehensive customer data in seconds to predict their next move, when they are likely to make a purchase, and what type of marketing campaigns typically convert.
It is therefore not surprising that Forrester’s research states that the top 5percent of brands on their U.S. 2021 Customer Experience Index scored so high because of pivoting to a CX-based approach at the height of the pandemic to deliver on various customer needs effectively.
Building scalable and extraordinary customer experiences is now a reality with the investment in smart conversational AI solutions that drive personalization at every step of the buying journey.
A digital-first approach that looks at CX issues from a vertical perspective, with technological backing of AI models and algorithms whose primary focus is on personalization, will lead to cohesive shopping experiences.
Beerud Sheth is the CEO and Co-founder of Gupshup, the global leader in conversational engagement.