What if e-commerce retailers could use technology to replicate the role of the in-store sales associate, providing people at home with the type of personal attention that really drives sales?
Technology vendors are working feverishly to make that a reality. Using artificial intelligence and voice assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, online retailers are beginning to imagine a world where shoppers can ask their voice companions for recommendations on product fit or gift suggestions in specific price ranges. There may even be a time, not too far in the future, when shoppers can get personal feedback during try-ons inside their own closets, thanks to “smart” mirrors and other virtual reality technology.
Walmart, Walgreens, and Sephora are all using artificial intelligence technology to improve the retail experience. While the majority of use cases for AI in retail have focused on enhancing the shopping experience for customers, forward-thinking analytics firms are innovating and developing new uses for their existing AI technology.
The analytics firm Fractal Analytics is pushing forward in the retail space with its own solution that relies on AI to forecast the cost of retail store remodels, as well as determine the ROI from large-scale renovation projects. Although Fractal works solely with Fortune 500 companies, the solutions it is developing could be adopted more broadly throughout the retail space.
In Gartner’s 2019 CIO Survey, which included more than 3,000 CIOs from 89 countries, AI technology was ranked as the technology most likely to be disruptive. Despite their enthusiasm for AI, CIOs showed a lack of certainty over the best way to implement the technology and get their newest marketing strategies off the ground.
That uncertainty has the potential to negatively impact brands’ bottom lines, and it’s an issue that industry insiders like Cerebri AI co-founder Jean Belanger are working to combat.
Native ad firm AdYouLike is staking its reputation on the assumption that the ads you like may not look like ads. That bet appears to be paying off, as a report from the firm shows the native ad industry set to grow to $400 billion by 2025, a 372% jump from the projected size of the market in 2020.
Brick-and-mortar retailers are looking for an edge in their fight against the e-commerce behemoths, and as the battle rages on, it’s looking like artificial intelligence might be the answer.
Under broad scrutiny, AI stands for “that thing we do with computer data manipulation that is somehow more complicated than layering algorithms on to data structures. But neither do we agree that the current state of AI represents actual computer or machine learning.
“We optimize the entire customer lifecycle journey,” says Artsai’s CRO Erik Lundberg. ” We may help someone acquire a new customer on Facebook, then reengage user on programmatic or RTB [real-time bidding], and then help drive the user to make a purchase inside the marketer’s mobile app or landing page.”
A new survey sheds light on how major brands are investing in artificial intelligence and what decision-makers in the retail and e-commerce industries should be doing to better harness the technology.
The type of ultra-personal service that was once offered by waiters at mom-and-pop diners is now being duplicated by highly-sophisticated computer algorithms, as many of the country’s largest restaurant chains start investing more in artificial intelligence technology.