Posts

The Three Ways AI Is Impacting Customers And Retailers This Holiday Season

This post is part of a series sponsored by IBM about Five Ways Marketers Can Win the Holidays

Artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting the way consumers are shopping for the holidays. It is also driving how companies are operating in order to deepen customer relationships. According to Lauren Kindzierski, VP at HGS, “Forward-thinking companies are already using a combination of bots and brains to deliver next-generation customer experiences and optimize operations.”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Cognitive and machine learning is powering behaviour in three critical ways for customers and retailers this holiday season.

  1. How customers find gifts? Customers are looking for ease and convenience when holiday shopping. They want an experience that is personalized to their needs. The expectation is that each stage of the journey will be seamless. Voice is driving the beginning stage of their journey. According to Accenture, a majority of consumers are already using or would like to use a number of technologies that are powered by AI. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed indicated that they were using or wanted to use Google Home, compared to 71 percent for Amazon’s Alexa. Similarly, voice-search enabled digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana and are becoming the go-to search mode for mobile. This trend is here to stay beyond the holidays. ComScore says that by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches.
  2. Where and how customers buy? AI can help companies manage data and allow them to be predictive of customer behaviour. By leveraging information about weather, location, and preferences, it can help to create an optimal shopping experience. For retailers, AI can improve supply chain management. It can provide insights in to managing inventory levels and streamlining shipping management. The result is the right items are available and can be shipped to customers in a timely fashion.
  3. How companies manage customer service? During the holidays there is an increased need for seasonal staff to handle customer service issues. For companies, AI is playing a key role in handling many of the basic requests. IVR’s and chatbots powered by AI are handling tasks such as updates on orders, sharing return policies and answering FAQ’s. According to Narvar, customers are not noticing the difference. Their research found that 38% of consumers didn’t know whether a live chat or messenger app was a human being or AI. Only 10% knew it was not human. Gartner predicts that by 2020, the customer will manage 85% of its relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human source.

To find out more about the five ways marketers can win the holidays, check out this series by IBM covering: 1 – Bridge Digital & Physical Experiences, 2 – Predict the Future to Improve Your Impact, 3 – Market in the Moments that Matter, 4 – Discover the Best Path to Purchase, and 5 – Get Alerted to High-Impact Situations.

What Technological Advances Have Taught Us

The rate of innovation is ever increasing. What would seem like a giant leap fifty years ago appears more like a small step today. Second, these innovations are changing the average consumer. Going from the world where connected technology was mostly a dream to such ubiquity where more humans have mobile phones than access to working toilets is nothing short of impressive.

Read more

Making A Good First Impression

When it comes to your customers, it’s important to realize that building a relationship with them begins immediately.  When you meet someone face to face, you have about seven seconds to make an impression. Seven seconds! The truth is, your website probably doesn’t have much longer than seven seconds to keep the attention of your customers and your potential customers. Everything from the color palette you choose to the font you use speaks volumes of who you are as a company–and what you stand for.

Read more

Amazing Technological Advances Part V

This is the final installment of amazing technological advances over the last sixty years. As you can see, our society (and the world) has come a very long way in just a short time. I, for one, am very excited to see what kind of tech advances will come to us down the road.

2004 – 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg launches thefacebook.com in his dorm room as a Harvard sophomore.

2005 – YouTube is founded by former PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. The idea was born at a dinner party in San Francisco the year before, inspired by two key events that year: Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl and a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Read more

How to Manage Customer Relationships on Social Media

Don’t get caught up in thinking that customer relationship management is just for those big box store brands. As it stands, managing the relationship you have with customers can make or break your business. If you’re a business owner, an entrepreneur, or something in between, I’m willing to bet that you’re wanting your business to succeed–and customer relationship management is key. Sure you can invest in expensive CRM software, but remember that all the software in the word can’t take the place of YOU.

Read more

Amazing Technological Advances Part IV

The series continues! There have been some amazing technological advances over the last sixty years. Today, we take a look at some of the biggest tech advances since 1995.

1995 – Google begins as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Both are Ph.D. students at Stanford University.

1999 – Kevin Ashton coins the term “the Internet of Things” (IoT) while working at Auto-ID Labs.Oracle executive Marc Benioff invites three friends to his San Francisco apartment. His business idea gets a lukewarm response. Cofounder Dave Moellenhoff doesn’t sugarcoat it, “You’re an idiot. That’s the stupidest thing. This is never going to work.” The group presses forward and launches Salesforce, one of the first enterprise cloud software services in the world. The company pioneered the concept of delivering enterprise applications via a simple website.

Read more

Customer Service: Improving Your Online Reputation

It’s no secret that customers appreciate good service. Naturally, in order to get them through your doors, you first have to market to them. There are the traditional channels, of course– television, online, and even printed ads may do the trick. Of course, the latest trend is marketing a business doesn’t rely much on marketing that we the business owners create–it relies on customers who have given us a chance to impress them.

Read more

Amazing Technological Advances Part III

Today offers us a lot of technology. Of course, before today’s tech existed, there were an awful lot of technological advances that had to be made. Here are some of the more prominent ones from the last forty years.

1983 – Motorola releases its first commercial mobile phone, known as the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. The handset offered 30 minutes of talk-time, six hours standby, and could store 30 phone numbers. It cost nearly $4,000.10

1989 – Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN, invents the World Wide Web. The Web was originally conceived and developed to meet the demand for automatic information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world. The first website at CERN – was dedicated to the World Wide Web project itself and was hosted on Berners-Lee’s NeXT computer. The website described the basic features of the Web; how to access other people’s documents and how to set up your own server.

Read more

Good Customer Service Doesn’t Always Depend on Data Models

On the backside of marketing and customer service, you probably come across a lot of data and models. Maybe that is why when it comes to offering good customer service; we can often get caught up in what the numbers say we should do. That’s because we feel that if someone has taken the time to measure what qualifies “good customer service” or a “good experience” we should listen to him or her.

Read more

Amazing Technological Advances Since the 60’s Part II

With all of the technology available today, it’s hard to remember a time existed before tech was widely available. In Part II of my technological advances series, we dive even deeper into that tech that drove us toward today.

Read more