Richard Branson became the first entrepreneur to launch himself into space on a rocket he funded. This was a customer journey made for one! The attention and affection shown for Virgin Galactic was a boost to the earned media score for Virgin. The service was amazing and the halo effect for the brand will be strong and lasting. Although you may not be blasting your customers into space, all customer journeys are aiming for the same effect.
Before the days of eCommerce, it was up to your tailor to remember your size and what details you liked in your clothes and tell you how wonderful you looked in the clothes. A myriad of experiences and details large and small made the “tailor-made” journey but when shopping for clothes moved to large department stores and then online, this journey mostly disappeared.
As shopping online has become a competitive sport, each customer is looking for more and more unique products, experiences and a desire for an “exclusive feel”. No vertical is exempt from this pressure. Huggies, the diaper company rewards parents with tips and education when they purchase online, Patagonia has created an entirely new website and business to encourage sustainability, and Tesla allows customers to construct virtual cars online. These innovations are all driven by creativity in merchandizing and the hard work of engineering teams. But more excitement is being unveiled as brands begin to harness the power of AI and machine learning.
One early entrant into the tech space was Whole Foods. Their conversational marketing, a consumer retention technique primarily uses chatbots. They have even deployed a Facebook Messenger-based bot that can respond to messages as short as a single emoji. This is not a unique case, by 2023 Fall, retail is forecast to account for more than 70% of chatbot conversations. The chatbot is able to allow customer journeys to be a little bit smoother than otherwise.
One newer AI tool that is gaining adherents is Visual AI. Customers interact with their world in an increasingly visual way. In fact, over 50% of consumers say visual information is more important in comparison to text when searching online. By taking a picture of something you are interested in purchasing and having an AI match that immediately to a product offered by a merchant (even if it is not an exact match), can increase customer loyalty by some measures up to 70% more. The improved user experience is perhaps the most important technological improvement that your site can offer to make the customer journey smoother, more interesting, and faster.
One overlooked use of machine learning is in data analytics for your journeys. Machine learning tools can draw inferences in real-time customer service, allow for dynamic pricing, personalized offers and improved interaction with customers. Personalized offers can be gleaned from data to provide what a customer is likely to want – machine learning techniques with predictive analytics give your CX that extra boost. Product recommendations used to be limited to whatever was selling, the idea of pushing on an open door to sell more. But pushing a hot selling item is hardly a recipe for rising profitability.
Machine learning can boost your earnings not by selling more of the hot selling item, but by selling more the personal item. Technology that works with your site and infer from customer interactions the type of products they might like and use that to deliver a hot deal or smart item at the right time. A consultative tech company can take what you deem important, such as sustainability, texture, color, and deconstruct these elements to find garments that match the cohorts of customers who share a unique set of brand values.
Through data, your brand will be able to make more informed business decisions in order to retain your customer base by letting your customers feel that you understand them and what they like as well. By providing the exclusive items that are just right for your customers, they will continuously return and make purchases on your platform…and Delvify can definitely help with that!