Artificial intelligence (AI) enhances an online retailer’s ability to engage with customers, says Peter Thomas. The technology that is now redefining retail enables algorithms to make the same complex decisions a human could, sifting through the data, but much faster and at volume. It means the customer experience (CX) becomes more tailored and personalised; the customer journey more comfortable. When used well, the tech helps both retailer and consumer.
The technological advances we have seen in recent years have empowered customers to shape business strategy by challenging brands and retailers to transform the way they interact with their customers and target audiences.
Nowadays, customers expect brands to deliver flawless, engaging digital experiences at their convenience through all stages of the buying journey. They want immediate value and, if a brand can’t provide it, they are easily poached by those that can.
Client loyalty is a wavering, unstable commodity and, according to research, consumers admit they wouldn’t care if 94% of brands disappeared and 85% of them believe brands must play a bigger role in improving their quality of life.
Add to this mix new social media channels being launched all the time and brands competing for attention globally, it’s no wonder marketers are facing a serious challenge.
How do you co-ordinate effective and productive marketing campaigns that deliver clear, measurable ROI even with limited budgets, time and resources to work with?
Marketers need to stop being hesitant about embracing innovative technology, and capitalise on marketing specific artificial intelligence that can understand and predict human behaviour – there is no way around it if they want to stay ahead of the competition and not be left behind. They need to unload all their time-consuming, labour-intensive tasks and truly focus on strategy and creativity.
What are the main risks when implementing AI for marketers?
The biggest risk is non-adoption. Those who start adopting the technology early have significant advantages. Many early projects require patience and willingness to learn. However, the reality is that creating and managing campaigns and content with infinite layers and nuances for all audiences is simply impossible without the aid of smart technologies.
AI provides a great opportunity to acquire more knowledge about target audiences and provide unparalleled insight into what type of content can increase conversions and generate customer loyalty.
Content management. Yes, that old thing… One of the most time-consuming challenges for all marketers is keeping track of all the content generated both by the brand and its fans. With various teams using disparate solutions and disjointed processes across a business, this has become a titanic task.
Artificial intelligence can help track all this content, tag it and organise it in a matter of minutes, enabling marketers to create a seamless content process that is easily accessible to the entire organisation and, at the same time, ensure everyone is using approved brand guidelines.
The company can also save significant resources by resurfacing hidden content and accessing User Generated Content (UGC) that otherwise would be difficult to track.
Customer insight is another area. Currently, many marketing campaigns are launched with little to no personalisation or relating to customers’ needs and wants – not surprising considering they change so quickly. They end up being bombarded by huge amounts of information to the point where they become oblivious to it.
Many brands are still focusing on safe tactics like discounts and competitive offers. Others solely on the core features that make their products better than competitors’, while forgetting that, in many instances, customers don’t only buy based on logical considerations, but also on impulse, driven by emotion.
And then there are the brands that understand these nuances, understand their customers and become true powerhouses, even if they don’t have the best products on the market.
A good example is Apple – they have expensive products and they don’t promote discounts. Their products offer a strong user experience, but don’t necessarily have the highest quality technology on the market. Only recently, it was revealed that iPhones were being slowed down by Apple to make people buy new ones.
Still, they are a market leader and people are queuing for hours to get their hands on the latest products.
What Apple did differently from other brands was to create a compelling story and emotional connection around their brand. A story that resonated with a large audience. And now their products are not just tech accessories; they represent a social status, a way of living life and differentiating from the crowd.
Free the creativity – leverage AI to step closer to customers
And this is where artificial intelligence comes into play to enhance marketers’ performance and creativity. It generates new opportunities for storytelling and marketing, bringing marketers one step closer to the most important target for any successful communications professional – relevance and personalisation at scale.
Instead of shooting in the dark and throwing random messages at the market hoping some will stick, marketers can truly understand what values are important for their customers; what really triggers that purchase decision.
Seamless distribution also becomes a possibility.
Having the ‘right content’ is not enough any more, distribution is key, too. With artificial intelligence, marketers can seamlessly distribute their messages across any stage of the buying journey, at the right time, on the right channels, with a simple click of a button.
And this is how artificial intelligence makes marketing more human:
- Marketers can easily uncover the true human side of their users and appeal to their feelings and reasoning at the same time to increase conversion and garner loyalty
- Unburdened from all the boring, time-consuming manual tasks, marketers can truly concentrate on the more strategic, creative and innovative aspects of marketing
Don’t believe it until you see it? Case study proves the point:
By using an artificial intelligence-powered marketing solution, Rickshaw Travel was able to use relevant and credible content in their marketing campaign that resonated with a large digital audience. As a result, they saw their website engagement increase with more than 14,000 content views per month and drove an outstanding 38% increase in dwell times.
By providing the right content at the right time, Rickshaw Travel boosted their conversion rates by 22%.
The company achieved these impressive results by compiling more than 1,000 free-of-charge premium UGC items and updating travel destination pages up to 92 times per month.
And all it took was less than 45 minutes per month for content curation and publishing.
Artificial intelligence makes marketers superstars
Once marketers are not overwhelmed by tedious manual tasks, they can unleash their creativity and generate truly engaging, relevant stories that reach millions of people every day.
And because of the way true AI works, the more information it gets, the smarter it becomes. Its abilities to forecast and predict human behaviour will empower marketers to generate campaigns and customer interactions that are relevant end-to-end; from planning and creative messaging, to media targeting within the retail experience.
Imagine what you could achieve with your next campaign if you were able to optimise your messages on the fly and truly understand what triggers your customers’ purchase decisions.
Have an opinion on this article? Please join in the discussion: the GMA is a community of data driven marketers and YOUR opinion counts.
Please register below to unlock this article.
An email will be sent to you with your membership details.