From the very beginning, businesses have always aimed to deliver the finest customer experience. Conversations between brands and consumers got more personal with time and modern technologies provided them the much-needed platform to connect and communicate. So much so that brands now know you like the back of their hand. Businesses worldwide have been leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) in retail to offer a personalized experience to consumers. They are now talking to you through AI-powered chatbots.
As consumers continue to juggle priorities at home and work amidst the pandemic, their expectations have gone through the roof. Time is precious and they are willing to indulge provided you anticipate their needs and fulfill them in the most efficient manner. As Kate Leggett, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research recently wrote, “Customers expect more from customer service organizations. They expect you to value their time, to make engagement easy, and to deliver answers and resolutions in a highly personal manner and in the context of their actions and journeys.”
Clearly, AI and automation have become customer service fundamentals of the modern age. Chatbot conversations, automated answers, customization are all driving factors. The AI-powered BMW factory in Germany stands testimony to the growing popularity of AI in the retail industry. The company has leveraged it well not only to ensure flawless perfection in its production processes but to also achieve 100% reliability for the cars that roll out from this particular setup.
Veritone’s The State of Artificial Intelligence in 2020 report predicts groundbreaking advances in machine learning and AI and expects 75% of commercial enterprise applications to use AI by 2021.
If you wish to level up your game in 2021, it’s time you transform customer experience with AI and chatbots. Here’s a quick sneak peek into the world of AI and chatbots and how it will transform retail in 2021.
1. Personalization with AI
AI has made it possible for retailers to predict the shopping behavior of consumers. They know what they like and exactly what’s on their mind. From wishlists to recommended products on Amazon and movies on Netflix to music on Spotify, they follow their digital footprints all the time. And that’s not all; they are now curating personalized content too. So now consumers are more pampered with promotional messages and customized deals targeted directly to them.
2. Data-driven predictions and insights
AI is bridging the gap between humans and machines like never before. Predictive models are being deployed to improve efficiency – be it to reduce energy consumption based on usage or avoid machine breakdowns by reminding consumers of car maintenance. AI gives a perspective on things ensuring growth in savings, performance, and efficiency.
3. A smarter world
As per Statistica, the number of digital voice assistants will touch 8.4 billion units by 2024 underlining their immense scope. Almost 60,000 smart devices support Alexa and the United States alone has more than 110 million virtual assistant users thanks to the increasing use of smartphones and other smart devices. Virtually everything from homes to vehicles is now connected and in turn, monitored. Voice-based searches are now part of our daily life and our best bet for digital searches on the go. Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa have raised the benchmark for voice-based applications that are breaking new ground in different sectors including retail, banking, fashion, IT, eCommerce, and healthcare. In fact, voice interface is expected to be a driving factor for the retail sector in 2021 and beyond as most retail applications will have voice assistant capabilities to enhance experience and engagement.
4. Enhanced customer support
Chatbots will ensure that customers do not suffer even in non-working hours. While driving business revenues, they bring down operational costs and offer complete peace of mind to consumers. Juniper Research expects the number of successful retail chatbot interactions globally to go from 2.6 billion in 2019 to a whopping 22 billion by 2023.
5. Greater conversions through conversational commerce
Walk-in customers that were now forced to be at home due to the pandemic made contactless conversational commerce a runaway hit. Customers that used self-service as the first point of contact with a retailer were now eagerly lapping product catalogs through WhatsApp and Facebook, and other platforms. Omnichannel presence has now become the key for greater customer satisfaction and ‘my shopping my way’ has become the new mantra. Consumers now want to talk to their brands and have engaging conversations.
The LivePerson’s 2020 Consumer Preferences for Conversational Commerce report said 85% of global consumers are getting on to messaging brands and 75% were ready to spend more on brands that came up with the messaging option. Explained Robert LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson, in the press release, “The evidence is clear: AI-powered messaging experiences are more in demand than ever before. Consumers around the world are clamoring for them, and they’ll even spend more money with brands that give them what they want. Brands that embrace conversational AI and infuse it with human qualities like empathy, love, and understanding will outperform their competitors and reach the cutting edge of customer service, marketing, and sales.”
Challenges of AI adoption in Retail
The potential of AI and chatbots however remains largely untapped despite its popularity. As per a 2018 U.S. Census Bureau survey, only 2.8% of companies in the U.S used machine learning indicating the achingly slow speed of technology adoption. Of course, things have changed radically now due to the pandemic. According to an exclusive study by Isobar based on inputs from 1350 global CMOs, 64% of them had completely or moderately changed their CX strategy to respond to changing needs in the Covid-19 crisis. While the focus remains on eliminating friction and pain points, building differentiation has become extremely important.
Successful AI adoption needs an understanding of what AI can and cannot do. AI will no doubt require skills that enterprises may lack as of now. Besides, there is the anxiety of adopting something new and the nagging fear of the unknown. Enterprises need to take into account both tangible and intangible benefits to determine the return on investment. No doubt AI will eliminate jobs but it will create many more jobs too. Gartner terms AI as a net-positive job motivator that will create 2.3 million jobs while eliminating 1.8 million jobs.
It is important to collate quality data that can help identify patterns, prevent errors, and lead to more positive outcomes. Data and skill deficit are in fact major hurdles to the successful adoption of AI. But with a little training and planning, AI adoption will prove to be a perfect investment.
Take the technological leap with Trigent
As consumers move from bricks to clicks, we urge you to embark on a journey of digital transformation with us. AI is the disruption modern organizations are gladly embracing to improve their bottom lines. At Trigent, we’ve packed tons of experience and value into easy-to-use intuitive solutions that can be easily deployed in your enterprise.
We will help you tide over implementation challenges and equip you with AI know-how. We will assess your needs and help you choose the right type of chatbot for your business. We will also help you create your own roadmap to ensure better business outcomes and a delightful customer experience.
Allow us to be your partners in progress. Call us today.