AI is revolutionising customer service across all industries, but few are feeling its impact as strongly as retail.
Global spending on AI is expected to reach £120 billion this year, up 27% from 2022, and retail is helping lead the way. Between 2022 and 2026, retail is expected to make the second-largest investment in AI, trailing only the banking industry, according to IDC.
With AI, retail brands can deliver the type of highly personalised interactions customers expect and deliver faster, better customer support. The results? Improved customer satisfaction, stronger loyalty, and revenue growth.
Here are five ways AI can benefit retailers when it comes to customer experience (CX) and their bottom lines.
1. More personalised CX
You have access to so much data about your customers: when they like to shop, their preferred channels, their purchase histories and browsing patterns. Use AI to comb through all that data quickly, make sense of it, and craft personalised product recommendations tailored to your shoppers.
With AI, you can create a customised shopping experience that makes customers feel like you truly understand them and what they’re looking for – and you can proactively make product recommendations, discover upsell opportunities, and further drive sales.
Retailers should also tap into AI’s sentiment analysis capabilities. Use AI to analyse customer sentiments and feedback, through text or voice interactions, so you can better gauge customer satisfaction, identify potential pain points and proactively address obstacles in the customer journey.
2. Better fraud detection and added security
Retail can be ripe for fraud around returns, self-checkout, and other areas; and retailers with an e-commerce presence face the added threat of being defrauded by bogus accounts. With its immense data capabilities, AI can detect abnormalities in your transaction data to help you stay ahead of suspicious activity.
With AI helping to keep a constant eye on your data, your customer information will be more protected and secure, enabling you to combat fraud and provide a better customer experience.
3. Customer support at scale, 24/7
Many retailers are using AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants to handle customer inquiries and provide instant, around-the-clock responses about common issues such as order status and return policies. When menial, repetitive tasks are handled by AI, it frees up associates to focus on more complicated interactions that require a human touch.
AI also gives brands the ability to respond to customer inquiries in multiple languages, ensuring consumers across the globe can effectively communicate with your customer support team.
4. Voice assistants powered by AI
Customers want their shopping experiences to be as quick and easy as possible, and voice assistants can help. These tools let customers use voice commands to check product availability, place orders, or get personalised recommendations.
There also are new AI programs that let brands use voice assistant technology to answer customer calls and have a two-way conversation with a virtual assistant.
5. Immersive shopping experiences
Augmented reality experiences are gaining popularity. In the not-too-distant future, consumers will easily be able to meet up with friends in the metaverse and peruse virtual storefronts.
By marrying AI and augmented reality technology, retailers can explore new ways to let customers virtually “try on” products, see how a product will look on their body or in their home, or get step-by-step help assembling a product.
Integrate AI into your CX priorities
AI presents many exciting opportunities for retailers, but it’s important not to implement new technology just for technology’s sake. CX should always be at the center of your strategy, with the right AI tools and solutions helping to simplify and enhance the customer journey where it makes sense.
An experienced partner can help you identify the best ways to embrace AI at your brand – and bring together the people, tools, and strategy you need to elevate your customer experience through AI.