Personalized retail experience is key to intent-based purchases. Source: Shutterstock

Personalized retail experience is key to intent-based purchases. Source: Shutterstock

AI helps retailers crack the code on marketing and customer engagement

FOR RETAILERS, it is extremely important to create effective business strategies that boost sales, maintain brand relevance, and establish dominance in the market.

Especially in a digital-first world where data is increasingly valued and real-time processes are more important than ever before, to meet the ever-evolving market demands and to satisfy expectations.

Naturally, artificial intelligence (AI) serves as the perfect solution for its native ability to process loads of historical data, learn and create connections and patterns, provide meaningful insights, and create new, improved business strategies.

Adidas, Pacers Sports and Entertainment, and The RealReal are among brands that have taken the initiative to explore AI and most importantly, found success with it.

The brands’ leaders recently shared their experiences and journey with AI during a panel discussion where each had highlighted how AI can be tailored to deliver desired outcomes.

They were not only able to reach the target audience and automate product recommendations, but also re-engage with dormant ‘subscribed’ customers to stimulate purchase intent.

Adidas IT Director Eduard Spitz highlighted how AI has automated and expanded the mapping of customer journey combinations, resulting in a personalized shopping experience and intent-driven purchases.

He further elaborated that the mapping helps paint a better picture of how customers are engaging with the brand across various marketing channels, thus powering insights on how to better launch and manage Adidas’ next campaigns.

Additionally, AI analyzes the brand’s database and allows Adidas to gain a 360-view of its 300 million consumers to boost marketing activities as well as to predict the probability of their next purchase.

“We are calculating for every consumer in our database more than 10,000 attributes with AI models […] then we fetch them and put them into our 360-view so they’re usable in marketing,” explained Spitz.

The RealReal Marketing Director Sara Brooks said that AI studies the past success of marketing expertise and finds ways to provide tailored recommendations for customers.

With an automation strategy in mind, Brooks explained that companies need to start with a small test case where the risk is lower but sizeable enough to see the impact.

Companies must then set KPIs, construct tangible hypotheses, and craft appropriate processes — tracking the results and allowing AI to promote measurability.

From there, choosing a marketing and engagement segment to invest in for a similar impact is key to AI’s continuous and scalable deployment.

She also addressed the fact that the journey with AI must be oriented with the results, “You need to say ‘Here’s the vision for what we were able to accomplish’, such as customer journey mapping, rather than saying ‘Here’s a tool we can use’.”

On the other hand, Pacer Sports and Entertainment Director of Customer Engagement Alana Galardo said AI stimulates re-engagement opportunities with dormant newsletter subscribers.

These subscribers are small at scale but big enough to see AI’s effectiveness when there is a 20 percent increase in engagement due to the change of voice in the newsletters, the offers being leveraged, and the use of sweepstakes.

Galardo also made the point that AI established a trusting relationship between customers and the brand by saying, “People expect you’re going to take their data and use it to make their experiences better.

“We’re trying to be a brand that builds trust in what you’re doing digitally, whatever your product is, and what critical steps you have to hit.”

Other retailers must wake up to the profitable advances AI can offer and start charting out AI deployment strategies to increase marketing success.