Artificial Intelligence in Retail: Enhance Business Operations and Customer Experience

The retail industry has seen a surge in technological advances over the last decade. After being influenced by the e-commerce revolution, the retail sector has been instrumental in adopting and innovating new technologies into the market. With the onset of new technologies like IoT, mobile, and AI, most retail giants have realized the potential to exploit these technologies to transform their retail operation and customer experience.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has transformed how companies do business and proven to be worth the investment. Companies are increasingly finding more use cases to leverage AI in their business strategies, including customer experience management.

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However, such companies have already seen quantifiable improvements in customer experience, including an increase in customer lifetime value and reduced churn rates. You, too can improve customer experience with AI-powered tools and here are a few ways how:

24/7 Customer Support with Chatbots and Virtual Assistants:

When it comes to customer service, the ro(bots) have taken over. A study surveyed 1000+ business leaders from different countries and found that customer service is the top area of AI implementation in companies compared to other departments. Another study by Servion Global Solutions has estimated that by 2025, as many as 95% of all customer interactions will be supported by AI solutions.

However, many companies have already automated their customer support operations with Chatbots, which are AI-powered virtual tools that simulate human interactions with customers. Chatbots help businesses increase productivity and customer satisfaction by facilitating self-service. As per the Harvard Business Review study, as many as 81% of customers prefer self-service options due to the convenience of finding the answers they need online at any time, without needing to contact customer service reps during business hours.

Meanwhile, another AI-powered technology that has changed customer experience is virtual assistants. We have been habituated with a few virtual assistants developed by the world’s biggest tech companies, including Google Assistant, Siri by Apple, Alexa by Amazon, and Cortana by Microsoft as well.

To ensure great customer support, businesses integrate virtual assistants with their mobile applications, social media pages and websites to interact with customers, answer questions, and complete tasks. Virtual assistants can also help businesses achieve higher profitability by identifying and acting on cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.

Predictive Personalization of Customer Experience:

With the help of AI and machine learning algorithms, it’s quite easy to anticipate individual customer needs and generate genuine recommendations based on their previous behaviour and patterns. We have already been experiencing such things in our everyday lives:

  • Online Shopping:  Predictive analytic allows businesses to assess their inventory of each shopper, suggest the right items accordingly. However, Amazon is one of the pioneers of online shopping platforms that successfully executed AI to enhance their customers’ shopping experience more personalized and much improved. 
  • Social Media and Streaming Services:  Instagram and Twitter suggest contents based on the user’s preferences, likes and viewing history. Meanwhile, Netflix recommends TV shows and movies based on their user’s most-watched genres. On the other hand, Spotify suggests music concerts and performances based on their user’s streaming history. 

Real-Time Analytics for Continuous Optimization of CX Strategy: 

With the help of AI-enabled analytics, businesses can exactly collate and organize large amounts of customer data left behind at different touchpoints. Moreover, these data automatically analyzes with accurate speech/text analytics and natural language processing (NPL) tools to uncover sentiment, gain a better understanding of customers behaviour, including likes and dislikes, curate the proper messaging, and convey it at the right time too.

​Final Thoughts:

As industries are being competitive, businesses should keep up with the latest trends and innovations to optimize their operations. The possibilities are endless with what AI, and machine learning technologies can do for a business.

AI and machine learning tools have become an utmost tool to deliver exceptional experiences, drive revenue growth, and decrease operational costs.

 

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Ashik Ul Haque is a journalist, digital entrepreneur, IT analyst, e-Business strategist, author, and researcher. He pursued a master's degree in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) from the Islamic University, Kushtia, Bangladesh. He is the founder and CEO of VirtuStaffs, a leading IT/ITES service provider. Besides professional attachment, he loves traveling, volunteering, research, and social networking.
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