Retail consumer behavior is changing. While this was significant in the early decades, this trend has become more prevalent in the post-COVID arena. Pushing the world to a complete halt, consumers were forced to rely on online options to carry out their everyday work, including grocery shopping, working, and more. This has made brick-and-mortar stores switch to online platforms in order to satisfy the demands of current customers.
While the retail industry undergoes a digital transformation, AI is reinventing the landscape further. With inherent technologies like computer vision, custom promotions in real-time, and even managing inventory, AI has augmented the benefits of AI for retailers.
Let’s talk about some of the benefits that AI delivers for your online retail stores.
1. Make Shopping Cost-effective for Your Customers with Voice Commands
Not very long ago, shoppers would browse the search engines to look for various websites that offered the products they wish to buy. Based on that, they created a comparison table and made buying decisions. Regardless a big pool of the global population would still work this way; it’s time to change the trend.
AI-powered voice assistants have taken the entire eCommerce search arena by the storm. Today, shopping online is as easy as calling out to your phone, “Alexa, buy me a new pair of shoes.”, and it’s done.
Voice assistants will compare the products available across all the eCommerce stores, lists them according to price, and display the results on your screen. Not only does it help your customers shop cost-effectively, but it also boosts customer loyalty for you.
2. Boost Customer Satisfaction by Offering Better Services
Customer satisfaction is one of the most important aspects today. With the potential to make or break your business, it can significantly change the way you strategize. Imagine if a customer is looking for brown leather shoes. Despite checking all the products in your retail store, they cannot find the one they are looking for.
As soon as they try to close the tab, an AI-powered chatbot opens up and prompts the customers to enter the specifications of products they are looking for. The customer shares the features he wants, and the chatbot displays the possible options. In minutes, the order is completed, and payment is made. While it makes the shopping experience more seamless, there is a lot in there for you too:
- Better revenue
- Customer delight
- Loyal customer
You can also offer your customers round-the-clock assistance and enable them to sort their queries anytime they wish to, from anywhere in the world.
3. Tap into Opportunities with Personalized Recommendations
Understanding your buyer’s behavior can be daunting, but if done right, you can strategize better and thrive in the competitive arena. This is precisely where AI-enabled analytics play a pivotal role. These insights deliver essential details for you to study and personalize the buyer’s journey.
Studies show that these systems that track the buyer’s activities help you by delivering:
- 10-16x conversions
- Increased average order value by 20%
- Multiple channels to interact with customers with a detailed assessment of channels where you can find the consumers in the right frame of mind
- Personalize your strategy
- Nurture first-time customers by tailoring the experience they need
- Identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities
- Reduced card abandonment
If you track your buyer’s behavior, you build a more reliable buyer persona and create better marketing strategies. This also goes a long way to ensure customer loyalty as well as leverage mouth-to-mouth marketing.
4. Help Customers Find Products in a Few Clicks with Visual Search
According to Gartner’s predictions, the brands who have redesigned their applications to support visual and voice search by 2021 will increase their revenue by 30%.
Apparently, visual searches prove to be effective and change how customers interact with your retail store. Rather than running long search queries, visual searches can identify the products they need and help them reach them by simply uploading the images of that product.
Customers today love pictures more than ever. There are over 600 million Pinterest searches every month, and 62% of millennials demand visual search integration as their mode of digital shopping.
Visual search is not just a could-have but must-have functionality if you want to stay ahead on the competition curve. It helps your products rank among the customers’ favorites and boosts your revenue.
ASOS’s search tool, Style Match, is a cutting-edge example that lets you click the pictures and upload the same to discover the products from the catalog. The tool is capable of matching your suitable products against 85,000 alternatives from 850 brands. Their strategy is tailored to help customers reach their desired products in the quickest possible time.
5. Maintain Review Authenticity with AI-based Tools
Fake reviews have the potential to make or break your business. It has been proven that 88% of the customers trust online reviews while making purchase decisions, and a single bad review can bring your company’s bottom line to a downfall. Popular eCommerce stores like Amazon deploy AI/ML-based systems to track customer’s buying behavior and purchasing history to boost verified customer purchase reviews.
In this way, only authentic and genuine reviews display on the website.
6. Enhance Shopping Experience with Combination of In-store and Online Shopping
Combining in-store experience with cutting-edge digital shopping features can put your business on top of the industry.
An example is Amazon’s game-changer chain of stores, “Amazon Go.” Justifying its tagline, “Jost go out shopping,” Amazon Go is a grocery network that frees you from long queues and shops for home essentials in minutes.
Once you download the Amazon Go application, you can simply enter the store, pick the required products and leave the store. Technology can detect the items you’ve picked from shelves and tracks the same using a virtual cart that operates on AI, sensor fusion, and deep learning. When you leave the store, your Amazon account is charged, and a receipt is mailed to you.
7. Boost Operational Productivity and Efficiency with Automation
AI and automation are not anymore just about robots. Using this trending technology with suitable algorithms, AI helps you bring automation to your retail stores that support your business processes to augment growth, accuracy, and popularity.
Imagine a scenario where a buyer needs to change specific order for the fourth time. Manual resources might do the needful, but repetitive task and frustration might negatively impact their productivity. However, an automated system would not have the same response even if it has to do something for n number of times.
8. Strategize Better with Sales Forecasting
Imagine an alternate reality where marketing efforts and investments are only assessed based on potential customers making the purchases. As the budget will only target the customers who are more likely to buy, the conversion rates would soar.
Additionally, it would eliminate the investments in undesired aspects and make the system more efficient. This scenario is more significant in the ticketing industry. This scenario is more significant in the ticketing industry.
Future of Retail is AI-powered
Studies have shown that:
- Global retail spending in AI is predicted to reach $35.8 billion by the end of 2021.
- Retail is poised to emerge as a leader in global AI spending with a forecasted $5.9 billion invested in automated customer service agents, shopping advisers, and product recommendation platforms.
- Automated customer service in retail will invite the most significant investment of $4.5 billion in 2021.
- Retailers will invest $2.7 billion in sales process recommendations and automation.
- To ensure secure shopping for their customers, retail businesses are predicted to invest $2.7 billion in automated threat intelligence and prevention.
- More than $2 billion will be invested in the areas like automated prevention maintenance, diagnosis and treatment analysis, fraud detection and investigation, process optimization, and recommendation engines.
Retailers need to respond to changing customer demands and market trends like never before to stay relevant and competitive. Digital transformation in retail is no more just about taking your store online but about connecting things, garnering data, and drive insights to build a better future. For retailers, AI eliminates inefficiencies and leads to personalized customer experiences, growth opportunities, rapid innovation, and intelligent operations. Retailers delaying investments in this realm will eventually lag and lose their grip.