Omni-channel retail: How AI can help you get ahead

Omni-channel retail: How AI can help you get ahead
The use of AI in the Mena region could be more beneficial.

Dubai - AI-driven retail strategies effectively and profitably meeting customer expectations and needs

By Stephane Paraiso
 Industry Insight

Published: Wed 23 May 2018, 6:26 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 May 2018, 8:28 PM

As we look towards the future, we can already see how artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to change the way we live and interact together as humans. What many of us don't consider is the amount of AI that is used in the background every time we make an online purchase.
Challenged with increasing competition and erratic omni-channel customer behaviours, bank, travel and retail players have truly started to embrace AI.
From the personalisation of the customer journey, through to the seamless provision of inventory from warehouse to door, AI-driven retail strategies are effectively and profitably meeting customer expectation and needs.
Indeed, an IB study has also found that 91 per cent of retail executives believe cognitive computing will play a disruptive role within the industry in the foreseeable future, with 83 per cent believing that AI will have a critical impact on the future of their businesses.
Global brands have already turned to AI and are successfully boosting their customer engagement rates, optimising and orchestrating over billions of interactions per month across their marketing channels to determine which patterns lead to engagement and ultimately qualified traffic.
L'Occitane, Manor and Thomas Cook used Tinyclues, a solution that relies on deep AI to identify future buyers for any promoted item, even without recent intent. Tinyclues helps the generation of incremental omni-channel revenue (up to 60 per cent sales increase per e-mail), through intelligent campaign targeting and planning.
Customer shopping behaviours in a physical store can be understood through visual observations and salespersons feedback, which is harder to achieve online and when visitors are essentially hidden behind a screen. Behind Google Analytics data lies a plethora of customer behaviours and paths that must be understood in order to make the right optimisation choices.
In the Mena region, the use of AI could be even more beneficial as customer behaviours are even more difficult to interpret considering the large expat community and diverse cultures. Instead, brands with high online and mobile traffic volume can now quickly adopt real-time UX optimisation based on behavioural and usage data.
Virgin Megastore Middle East used ContentSquare. The analysis covered all aspects of the customer experience. This has provided Virgin Megastore's e-commerce team with actionable insights and recommendations in order to optimise customer journeys and uplift conversion rates and average baskets.
The three main components to successfully embed AI into your business are technology, quality of your data and team readiness.
The rise of cloud-based solutions has democratised access to AI functionalities that can dramatically improve omni-channel customer engagement, at a much lower cost. Reaping the full benefits however requires dedicating a sufficient level of dedicated and skilled data operators, capable of taking the appropriate actions based on the provided insights.
The writer is managing director of Azur Digital. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.

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