How AI and Machine Learning Will Change Retail Customer Service in 2018

Before diving in, let’s define artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning since they are sometimes used interchangeably.

  • Machine learning: an application of AI based around the idea that machines should have access to data and learn from it
  • Artificial Intelligence: machines able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider smart

Shoppers are armed with technology the moment they begin shopping- whether they’re on your ecommerce site or using your app on their smartphone to guide their shopping trip. AI harnesses that technology in a way that retailers can use to their advantage.

AI and machine learning arm retailers with the capability to help retailers provide a better experience for the consumer by personalizing each interaction in a way that human employees cannot match. People prefer and have come to expect a personalized experience from retailers. In fact, 85% of marketers report success with personalization. Retail marketers who personalize the consumer experience see increases in revenue, engagement, and conversions.

AI can anticipate a shopper’s needs and serve them with an enhanced, personalized experience based on a number of factors including history, location, demographics, preferences, context, or a combination of those factors.

What’s more impressive is that through machine learning, AI can mitigate customer service issues before they occur. Through machine learning, AI bots can monitor and learn what actions indicate distress on web and app activity. Then they can react real-time and proactively guide the user to a resolution. Such a swift and helpful reaction positively impacts a retailer’s bottom line through lower cart abandonment rates.

Beyond that, AI and machine learning has several advantages. Unlike human beings, AI customer service bots provide customer service in an unbiased way and are always on the clock. This technology also frees up customer service representatives to handle more important or advanced tasks..

The use of AI is growing largely because of the gradual shift of spending power to millennials. This group of consumers tends to opt for self-service when available. In fact, in a study discovered that 64% of millennials prefer self-service. The popularity of self-service within this demographic group is attributed to the fact that they can remain in control of online purchasing and other habits.

If you haven’t researched or tried AI for customer service, you’re gradually becoming the minority. By 2020 85% of all customer interactions will be handles sans a human. Today there are over 34,000 chat bots on Facebook alone and that number is only going to continue to climb.

Getting started with machine learning and AI isn’t as complicated as you may think. There are several services out there that can help you build an affordable and effective solution for your retail customer service without you having write a single line of code. Just make sure you conduct sufficient research into finding what works best for your business. With the right technology backed by quality content, AI and machine learning are going to help you take your customer service to the next level in 2018.