The Ecommerce momentum is becoming unstoppable as brands are cashing in on a number of factors such as spike in mobile applications, a new generation of high-spending shoppers, and the availability of faster internet speeds to enable them to offer their customers a shopping experience whenever and wherever they choose.
In addition, an omnichannel approach has clearly shaped the retail industry in 2019, a sector largely driving ecommerce sales in the region.
Going omnichannel is tempting for many retailers who have not yet embarked on their digital transformation journey. However, implementing an omnichannel strategy isn’t only about being present on all channels and platforms available. It is about providing a seamless and unified brand experience to customers across channels to enable them to connect with a brand and simplify their shopping experience.
A google report further proves this is the right approach after the study found that 85 percent of shoppers start their shopping journey on one device, like a laptop for example, and end it on another, say a smartphone, or even a physical store.
While technology is the key enabler for brands wanting to enhance their omnichannel strategy, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another crucial component that is driving its success. But AI is only a tool and not a standalone solution, so organisations need to understand that while it can be immensely beneficial in providing customer insights, it cannot compensate for a modest or nonexistent omnichannel strategy. In short, AI needs to be a supporting element of a wider omnichannel strategy and not being implemented for the sake of being a hot technology.
When organisations take this approach, the power of AI can truly be unleashed to boost sales and customer engagement. Let’s take a look at how AI can be applied online as well in brick-and-mortar stores.
- Unlocking data potential: Imagine the amount of data brands have access to via multiple platforms. AI can help brands to process this data to identify consumer spending patterns, buying preferences, customer demographics, personal preferences, and so on.
- Personalisation: The best way AI can help brands is with the power of personalisation. It allows brands to communicate with their target audience at the right time, with the right product, the right offer and message, through the right channel. Brands are able to achieve higher response rates, increased customer loyalty, and lower marketing costs
- Image Search: AI allows consumers to search for products based on images they’ve come across. Shoppers simply take a picture and get matched to similar items on ecommerce websites. A good example is Pinterest who are leveraging this technology by allowing its users to select any item from any photograph online and then throws up similar items through an image recognition software.
- Enhancing customer service: Chatbots are a popular and invaluable way for brands to offer 24/7 customer service support on their ecommerce websites. They simulate human-like conversations with customers and can execute tasks, automate order processing, and can also provide accurate answers to customers about product details, quantities and shipping terms.
- Generating customer insights Instore: AI deployed in physical store helps capture, and correlate in store customer behaviour data and shopping preferences with digital channels like social, email, and mobile app. These insights can be passed onto the sales associates for cross-selling, up-selling and strengthening the customer engagement directly on the sales floor.
The use of AI becomes even more powerful when combined across all channels. Organisations that realise its potential will not only drive sales and improve efficiency across platforms, but will also build a strong and loyal clientele in the long-run.