Retailers Talk: How can retailers use AI for their brands?

More traffic, more customers, means more conversions for retailers- overall COVID -19 has been good to the eCommerce industry. But, with more customers comes a mammoth task. Retailers need to have a stellar product discovery and smooth as butter customer experience. This needs to be combined with an overall change in brand strategy to ensure customers are served as and how they want to be served. 

However for retailers, when you look at scale, this objective becomes insurmountable – requiring high staff hours and resources. Plus, it brings with it the unavoidable scope of human error. We live in a digital world, which allows each human error made by a brand to be magnified to an extent where the real value of the brand is lost. 

AI is how you solve this at scale, at a lesser expensive cost. Retailers, there you go!

Last week, we partnered with Retail Global to discuss the very same with some of the top retailers in Australia and New Zealand. We were also accompanied by Kookai, one of the Unbxd’s Top customers and the world’s top fashion label! The discussion flowed from various aspects of eCommerce and the relevance of AI on it, proving it to be really insightful for the huge audience.

You might want to check the Europe edition of our Retailers Talk blog here. 

Acquiring a new customer is a mammoth task and is, of course, a costly affair. Keeping that in mind, it’s essential that customers spend more in a single order and come back for repeats. Primarily speaking, the increase in AOV and frequency of orders need to be a critical metric that needs to be tracked and continuously improved. 

To make this a possibility, social media is a critical weapon in the arsenal of today’s eCommerce brands. It allows customers to see content created by the brand, generating awareness about the products available and increasing a sense of connectivity and engagement. Most importantly, brands are able to inspire loyalty among customers, enabling repeat orders from the same customer. Instagram and most recently,  Facebook groups have been really helpful for retailers in achieving this. 

A discussion about increasing brand loyalty, and hence AOV and CLTV cannot be accomplished without touching upon customer experience. As soon as a custom converts, it’s imperative that brands delight at every step of the customer journey to ensure that the customer becomes loyal to them. After all, retaining a customer is so much cheaper than acquiring a totally new customer.   

When we talk about creating seamless and delightful customer experiences, personalization cannot be excluded.  Personalization is essential, and for that to be a possibility, more and more data needs to be analyzed from customers. Data signals from the customer’s behavior on the store website as well as general internet behaviors need to be collected and analyzed to identify high-affinity groups. 

Merchandising is really useful in achieving this, but traditionally it has been a labor-intensive process with a lot of effort put in manually burying, pinning, boosting, and deleting products combined with overall inventory management. Manually writing ranking scripts and merchandising becomes impossible at scale. For this, AI has been taking the center stage of late and it helps in building relevant personalization with effective merchandising to make the process more time and labor efficient – basically automated and, more importantly, more user-centric.  

A better AI requires regular and intensive feeding in the form of user data. A 360-degree data view that tracks the whole customer journey from website visits, in-store visits, and checkouts to trace precise behavior patterns in the lead-up to a sale becomes key. This also enables the retailer to obtain a better picture of the customer journey. 

Retailers need to upgrade their CSM and ABM tools and move beyond website analytics and focus on product analytics. It’s not enough to know what the customer is doing on your website, but also you need to zoom into the product level. Why is one product outselling others? Why does a particular product have a high cart abandonment rate? Which price range products have the highest frequency of orders?

Engagement, measurement, and building closed-loop feedback with this data is essential and has become a crucial fast-tracked project for most retailers to permeate a seamless customer experience. 

With such a strong focus on AI, most retailers fear that it will hamper the human element that is central to effective merchandising. In the end, it boils down to the fact that retailers selling to customers are essentially humans dealing with humans. It’s all about the customer. The top-level strategy and core values of the brands need to stem from humans, leaving the AI to do what it does best – execution and compliance to processes.  

Tools should be not treated as a band-aid,  but should stem from a core decision. Tech should always work in enhancing CX not on creating it.  

Watch this On-Demand Webinar where Kookai talks about its experience with Unbxd’s AI-Powered product discovery solution in shaping up customer experiences. The webinar was organized by Retail Global.

Kookai was originally founded in 1983 and launched in Australia in 1992. Today with more than 200 stores across Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand – it is deploying Unbxd’s solution to power the on-site search and conversions.

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