Retail needs AI based individualized marketing

Written by Zoé Baillieux on Mar 26, 2019 5:16:46 PM

In order to fully understand customer expectations, the retail sector must adopt technologies based on AI and machine learning to better contextualize their messages.

Sometimes things are moving too fast: projects are often carried out in succession, children's activities schedules become unmanageable, and even taking the time to find a balanced meal at the supermarket seems like the challenge of the year.

To meet all these challenges of everyday life as consumers, many of us need more simplicity and proximity. Thanks to technological advances, individualized marketing is responding to this challenge as it makes it easier to find the products we consume regularly - or discover new products - when and where we choose.

Retailers are aware that any lasting relationship with their customers is based on trust- the confidence to find quality, reasonably-priced, stock-based items with customer service at their peak. But as consumers, we also want the distributor to understand us, and understand our needs and preferences. With the rise of individualized marketing based on advanced customer intelligence, this last piece of the puzzle becomes easier to obtain - only if, however, to the necessary basic work from the distributor.

Long-term loyalty and the value of each buyer's life cycle provide a 360-degree view of each customer. The more accurate the data, the more retailers can customize their marketing campaigns to support rebound strategies and new customer acquisition.

Only five years ago, most of the usable data came from point-of-sale systems, loyalty cards and data provided by third-party specialists. Today, retailers can go further by leveraging product, sales, merchandising, and supply chain data, as well as real-time data from in-store technologies such as beacons, wifi, and video.

Understanding how customers respond to a product, a store layout, or offers within a category - not just buying an item - allows marketers to be much more specific with their offerings and to create new products, and desired results that benefit all functions of the company. To go even further, retailers can even incorporate third-party data from other retailers (including their competitors), wholesalers and manufacturers, as well as historical industry data, to create an accurate view of each home.

While collecting data from multiple sources provides a more complete set, it becomes more difficult to synthesize data from different sources into an exploitable behavioral profile. Although the vast majority of retailers today interact with their customers via multiple channels, many still struggle to use data from one channel to take action on another. Thus, according to the latest industry studies, we note that only 60% of retailers target customers based on the products consulted online, depending on the exact location where they are, 40% based on their purchase history and only a third of retailers target customers in real time.

Exploit platforms based on AI and machine learning

This is where the rise of AI and machine learning become extremely useful for retailers and marketers. These systems can automate the development of unique customer profiles and implement smart tools to deliver relevant consumer offerings based on the data collected at each point of contact. AI-based systems have the power to recognize, contextualize and react in real-time to each data point across all channels, allowing marketers to focus on content optimization and developed offers.

With the increasing adoption of these technologies, retailers hope to significantly enhance their omnichannel individualization capabilities. According to their estimates, within two years, close to 90% will be able to target customers based on the products consulted online, depending on the exact location where they are, almost 70% based on their historical data and 80% in real time.

Integrate customization across channels

This improved targeting accuracy will be extremely important in maximizing the impact of each campaign and will also reduce the marketing "noise" that consumers have learned to ignore. However, as marketers use our buying behavior data more easily to target us, they will need to adopt a much more integrated omnichannel strategy.

The future of retail will be more personal than it has ever been, even more than the grocer in your neighborhood who knows your habits and knows that you always buy meat on Tuesday and that you prefer chocolate ice cream. Within the fully customized marketing environment and using artificial intelligence in which we are now evolving, your merchant will know when to put an offer at your disposal, if you prefer that this offer be sent to you digitally or printed on your bill, and would be able to predict if you intended to compare at one of its competitors. Today, all of this is made possible by a large number of available data sources and the ability of technology to structure and simplify this information for real evidence.

The era of mass promotion is a thing of the past and has given way to individualized marketing, which will tend to become ultra individualized. The retailers who make the strategic investments today are those who will be able to help each of us find and buy the items we are looking for, faster and easier than ever before.

Article taken from Straté - written by Arnaud Gauthier, Symphonie RETAILAI EMEA Chairman & Chief Customer Officer

Topics: Marketing individualisé, Retail, Interview d'expert

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