Businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. And this will only become a more important focus as we continue to navigate the complex and volatile COVID-stricken commercial climate.
Fortunately, ecommerce is thriving. Unlike physical retail, which has been significantly impacted by pandemic restrictions, online sales are up.
During the 2020 festive season, which is typically the busiest shopping period each year, UK online sales were up by 44.8% with almost half (47.8%) of all retail sales taking place through the remote means.BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor
With a permanent digital shift on the horizon, or at least one that will see businesses adopting an omnichannel approach in order to benefit from the best of both worlds, more will look towards ways to streamline what may be unfamiliar practices for new digital business, as well as to lessen the larger workload.
AI is already offering solutions for these pain points. Through its data collection opportunities and automation options, there is the ability to reduce administrative tasks and wasted resources, saving businesses time and money and creating a better customer experience as a result.
But in 2021, there is case to take this one step further. Now that we are aware of the benefits of AI and can be certain that it is here to stay, businesses should see much less risk involved with an integrated approach.
By using the technology and data available to build better buying profiles, firms can truly utilise AI’s power and capability to their advantage.
Better Understanding Of Your Customers
AI is known for its ability to collect data in order to demonstrate and predict customer and market trends through analysing shopping behaviours, as well and influences in both the micro and macro environments.
The result is a holistic picture of your market that can then go on to inform business decisions. But as it advances, the quality and use of the data it is able to collect and analyse has moved on in leaps and bounds.
Today, and going forward, data and insights can be used to generate a detailed and accurate understanding of each individual customer, rather than general consumer segments. For instance, through the collection and acceptance of cookie data when a customer visits your website, you can begin to build their profiles, including product interests and browsing preferences.
With this information stored safely in your records, you can tailor content when they revisit a page to create a more personal and favourable experience. And if agreed in your policy, you can even use this information to tailor targeted ads and communications.
Now, there are differing views on the ethics of this practice. Although, with tightening regulations and compliance measures, data collection control does remain in consumers’ hands. For those that do accept, it is the retailer’s responsibility, and in their best interests, that they use it sensibly.
Typically, a consumer will want their browsing preferences to be remembered. It makes for a more convenient shopping experience and saves them time in resetting and re-filtering options. In fact:
90% of consumers are willing to share personal behaviour information with brands for an easier experience. So, a brand that is able to do this will be looked at much more favourably, encouraging revisits and repeat purchases.Forrester and RetailMeNot
What they don’t want, however, is for brands to abuse the knowledge they hold by spamming them with endless communications and retargeted ads. In fact, these may actually damage the reputation of the brand, rather than offer it any favours.
But the data you collect can help you predict that too. You can uncover which type of ads are responded to best by each customer, and even detail the time it was responded to, in what form, on what device or channel, for how long, and whether it did in fact encourage a click through or conversion.
This information is invaluable for building buying profiles. With it, you can create more successful campaigns and offerings as you are giving your customers exactly what they want.
And while in the past, individual profiles tended to be grouped together into segments by similarities, the automation abilities of AI integrated systems mean every individual consumer can be given a personal and tailored experience.
The success and sales results speak for themselves. Personalised content already receives better engagement rates than more general alternatives:
Personalised emails can achieve up to a 55% increase in open rates.Deloitte
91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations.Accenture Pulse Survey
Now, just think of how much more successful these activities can be if we take targeting a step further and inform our decisions with the information we have collected through AI advancements, in order to create detailed and accurate buying profiles.
Personally, I believe it’s an opportunity that cannot be missed.