When most people think of AI in retail, they think of cashier-less stores, but that's not where you can get the most value from AI.
From commerce to customer support, more customer touchpoints are moving to digital channels. IDG estimates that 44 percent of companies now deploy a digital-first customer experience, and more will follow.
Customers expect top-notch experiences, whether they’re shopping in a brick-and-mortar store or from their mobile phones. How can retailers harness technology to deliver the best customer experience across all their channels?
Here are the top tech trends retailers should be paying attention to:
- Headless Commerce
- Digital Adoption Tools
When most people think of AI in retail, they think of cashier-less stores, but that’s not where you can get the most value from AI. Using artificial intelligence to cut back on staffing only helps your costs. It doesn’t drive more sales. Using AI to create a better customer experience can lead to better sales. AI can be used to deliver personalized experiences for customers. If you’ve spent any time shopping online, you’ve probably fallen victim to the “recommended for you” section of your favorite stores. Personalized recommendations are just one way AI can boost your customer experience.
Accenture found that 3 out of 4 consumers say they’re more likely to buy from companies that know their name and purchase history and make product recommendations based on their preferences. To deliver that experience, you’ll need a digital commerce system that can use AI algorithms to analyze a customer’s search and purchase history to make product recommendations.
AI can also be used to analyze your website and mobile apps to optimize your sites for higher conversions.
To take full advantage of AI, you’ll also want to consider deploying a headless commerce system. In a headless system, the backend and front end of your eCommerce system operate separately. This means you can change the look of your website or mobile app without changing the core program that runs the backend.
A headless commerce system helps create a better omnichannel customer experience by allowing you to display content and process transactions across multiple channels. For example, you might need to show a product description, price, and available inventory on your website, inside your app, and on digital signage in your physical stores. A headless system allows you to create product content in one place and display it in multiple formats.
A headless system also allows you to integrate multiple systems on the backend. A product page may pull the pricing and availability from one system and reference the customer’s purchase history and preferences from your CRM to make recommendations.
Chatbots are another trend gaining popularity among retailers and consumers. Gartner predicts nearly 25% of all customer service operations will use virtual assistants like chatbots by this year. That’s up from only 2% just three years ago.
Chatbots improve your customer experience by allowing people to resolve issues quickly and on their time. More consumers are expecting self-service and fast responses to be the norm for retailers. An Edelman Digital survey found that more than half of today’s consumers expect a response within an hour, including on weekends.
Chatbots allow retailers to deliver responses quickly. You can even use AI to automate answers to your most frequently asked questions.
Digital Adoption Platforms
As you introduce more digital tools like chatbots to your customer experience, it’s essential to consider how you’ll onboard your users. A digital adoption platform is a great way to guide users through new features in your digital channels.
These platforms work on top of your existing systems and offer step-by-step on-screen guidance to show users where to click and what to do next. Users can quickly get overwhelmed and abandon a process if they don’t know what to do. A digital adoption platform helps them navigate your website or app. Some common workflows where a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) could benefit your customers include:
- Checking the status of an order
- Starting a return
- Updating payment information
- Changing your password.
Digital-First Customer Experiences
These are just a few of the trends retailers should be aware of as the push to deliver better digital customer experiences increases. These trends all share a common theme of uniting your customer experience and your customer data across all your channels. Whatever new technology you adopt, be sure you can use it to deliver personalized experiences and fast responses so you can stand out from your competition.
Originally published on Indianretailer.com