Technology has revamped shopping. The days of buying exclusively from local brick-and-mortar stores are long past, replaced by online marketplaces and personalized product suggestions. Customers’ expectations are higher than ever, which means brands require sharper insight into consumer preferences.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has a big role to play in this competitive business landscape. AI technology can make life easier for internal teams while helping retail, e-commerce and CPG businesses better grasp and respond to customer desires.
Shrewd Salesforce users are making the most of these AI applications:
Emails are automatically sent at the times when customers are most likely to open. This helps increase emails read and overall customer engagement with the brand.
Machine learning predicts each contact’s chance of engaging with email and push notifications. Each customer or prospect is assigned an engagement score, giving marketing teams visibility into their most loyal and responsive audience.
The number of messages sent has to be just right; too few and the brand could lose awareness, too many and recipients might become irritated. AI calculates the Goldilocks amount of contact for each customer.
Natural language processing offers insights into email subject lines. Using these insights, marketers can craft attention-grabbing subject lines with higher open rates.
When marketers send emails, artificial intelligence accounts for each customer’s past behavior and preferences, tailoring the email content to match. This practice increases the relevance of communications and betters CX.
Customers can receive product and service recommendations based on their revealed preferences and browsing history. Just as tech giants Netflix and Amazon make “next-best” recommendations, these emails serve the same purpose.
AI can tweak the display of website pages to appeal to the unique individual browsing. Personalization means customers receive product offers and discounts specific to their desires.
Now that we’ve reviewed some core artificial intelligence capabilities, let’s delve into applications across specific types of sellers.
Both traditional retail and eCommerce companies strive to target the right customers and engender brand loyalty in their audience.
Find customers. Clever marketers review the existing customer base and create lookalike audiences. For example, a brand might zero in on the top 10% of spenders and target matching lookalike audiences across Facebook and Google.
Build loyalty. Once acquired, customers need to be engaged. AI helps accomplish these goals with personalization. For example, Einstein Recommendations makes it possible to send automated product recommendations. Emails can be tailored to individuals’ website browsing habits thanks to a combination of Interaction Studio and Marketing Cloud (currently known as MC Personalization and MC Engagement). Even the website browsing experience can be personalized through machine learning recipes in Interaction Studio. These efforts are essential since 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.
eCommerce platforms are distinguished by their web presence. The data flowing through the website presents a perfect opportunity to gain customer insight, even when those site visitors are anonymous. Salesforce Interaction Studio carefully tracks anonymous visitors, recording their browsing and purchases. Then, when these individuals identify themselves to the brand, their past data is automatically matched, creating robust customer profiles that lend to personalized attention.
Online order data can be fed into Salesforce CDP for segmentation, fed into Marketing Cloud to build machine-learning-driven confirmation emails or into Interaction Studio to become personalized journeys. The better eCommerce brands understand their customers, the more they can tailor their offerings to delight.
Brick-and-mortar retailers can also benefit from AI assistance. Order information from physical points of sale can be fed into CDP to drive segmentation. Sharper segmentation combined with the aforementioned core AI tools gives companies a competitive advantage, allowing them to tailor offerings to customer expectations.
Some retailers also sell their products through other retailers (we refer to these companies as CPG). Just because their customers are other businesses instead of end users doesn’t mean they don’t gain from advanced AI.
The most apt example is verification. Verifying that products are where they should be within each retail location is a must. CPG reps carrying a smartphone can take photos as they go, which are then automatically catalogued by AI technology in a single database. Of course, having all the relevant data in one place streamlines operations.
Modern brands rarely fit neatly into just one category: retail, e-commerce or CPG. So companies can mix and match the above strategies to suit them best.
Good AI provides sharper insight into customer needs and more granular personalization. These benefits stand out considering 63% of consumers will stop buying from brands that use poor personalization tactics. Happily, Salesforce users have a smooth entry into AI tools. And the right partner makes getting started even easier.