Until recently the customer buying cycle has followed a traditional path from awareness to consideration to purchase, letting retailers and marketers build sales strategies around these moments. Now, with the boom of digital technology and their “always on” nature, we struggle to anticipate customer behavior.
The recent emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics and “deep learning” – the notion of machine learning combined with algorithms – is the industry’s digital answer to this digital conundrum. I personally don’t like the term “artificial intelligence,” or “AI,” as what we have in the industry is not really the AI of science fiction. But what we do have today is deep, machine learning and it’s transforming the way retailers and marketers understand, connect with and sell to today’s consumer.
IDC says the market for AI technology and solutions will experience a growth rate of 55 percent over the 2016-2020 period. Along with banking, healthcare and manufacturing, retail is one of the industries set to heavily invest in AI and deep learning technology. Combined, these four industries generated more than half of all AI revenues in 2015, with banking and retail each spending nearly $1.5 billion on the technology.
AI and predictive analytics are a marketer’s dream when it comes to personalization. Search results within retail websites today are very generic – if the same search is performed by two people sitting side by side, the results for both searches would be the same. However, “AI” technology will adjust these search results in a more personal way. They will be curated based on previous user clicks and purchases. With each subsequent click through, AI learns more about what the user is interested in and further curates results and future product suggestions.
For so long, retailers had the ability to predict and plan consumer behavior based on market data and previous behavior. Today, consumers are on their own buying trajectory, in charge of their own path. Retailers can no longer easily keep up with or predict accurate consumer buying behaviors. If used correctly and in the right capacity, AI can help retailers and marketers better anticipate customer search and buying behavior. It’s really an exciting time for both retailers and marketers. These sorts of AI and predictive analytical platforms, coupled with deep learning algorithms, can help marketers conduct business in real-time at the exact point of customer engagement while deriving insights and clues for future consumer actions.
Retailers and marketers need to meet increasingly complicated consumer expectations, and this is just one of the new paths forward in an increasingly complicated digital world.
To learn more about the Bamboo Rose platform and its automated solutions, read our Shoprite case study here.