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How AI helps boost retailers’ digital sales initiatives

The use of AI in marketing ensures greater efficiency in increasing productivity and boosting campaigns.

With the retail industry undergoing digital transformation and integrating technological innovations into its services and products, retailers have now been prioritising customer satisfaction whilst also ensuring efficiency in business operations, be it in increasing productivity or boosting campaigns.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the entire sales funnel has proved to be effective, especially in increasing brand awareness and customer purchases amidst the industry’s fast pace. At the same time, this trend has presented the marketing technology (martech) landscape with various opportunities and challenges.

For Appier, an AI SaaS company whose products and services are backboned by AI engine solutions, they are able to map the web and unify their data across the whole marketing funnel and increase the volume of transactions and enhance the audit intelligence.

The company unravelled just how AI plays a part in marketing in the recently concluded virtual roundtable called “Game-changing: Transforming the marketing landscape with AI.”

 Appier Sales Director Apple Chu noted that whilst AI has allowed for smoother transactions and more efficient processes, it has also led to bigger and more complex data. This occurrence has also paved the way for the discovery of multi-variables and multi-factor relationships with data; and the handling of very high dimensional and large data sets.

“To optimise towards a clear and identifiable goal, that is the beauty of AI because it will help you to achieve this and the key factors,” Chu said.

She highlighted that despite the data technology, organisations’ mindsets need to be more mature as the data transition from offline to online has led to a rapid increase in data structuring. At the same time, organisations’ attitudes towards AI adoption will further improve and improving computer power can realise more real-time calculations and more AI applications as more industries go digital.

The intersection of AI and market trends

Chu also discussed some market trends and how AI is utilised to improve various modeling applications. For personalised marketing, Chu noted that marketers previously may set some rules and recommend to different personas of the people. In the future, however, more personalisation will be needed even in the same person because of different behaviours, micro interests, amongst others.

“In the future, we will use machines instead of human operations to predict and recommend for the customers, for your own operations,” she said.

However, personalised marketing also poses some challenges including limited data, whereAI relies on data to train the model. Chu observed that companies might not have the needed data right away, so they would have to quickly understand their customer needs.

Data sparsity would also increase in this type of visualisation marketing as the overlap between the product and users decreases. “Data sparsity is an issue, and there are quite a lot of recommendation models in the AI field. You need to think about which model you're using for your different business goals,” Chu added.

Meanwhile, the sales director described that in user behaviour protection, most of the customers’ needs are identified through their historical data.

Using AI can lead to the conduct of real-time data analysis and more predictions as the technology and its algorithms are now the ones that do it. The process can now be done more automatically.

Chu emphasised that to do this better is to make better assumptions, the right hypothesis can lead to the right answer to your business goals and business needs. She added that whilst there is a limitation about the data volume, data would be easier to collect in the future.

“This AI talent gap can be solved by automated machine learning and also the neural network structure search technology,” she said.

Looking into martech application with Chow Sang Sang

The virtual roundtable also highlighted how Hong Kong’s luxury jewelry brand, Chow Sang Sang, is using Appier’s technologies to meet their business goals. .

Head of E-commerce Fai Leung described that the brand uses Appier technologies to meet two of its business goals: delivering its message to relevant customers and tracking the conversion.

Whilst Chow Sang Sang does not disappoint in terms of its product range and quality for the customers, they find an issue with how they will communicate their message to their customers and help them select the perfect product without being overwhelmed by the number of products available to them.

He described the stark difference with offline and face to face interactions, wherein a sales rep is available to guide and talk to customers through the selection process. They can observe the motion or sentiments of the customers to know what they think and what to say to them.

. “You cannot really see your customer. Sure, there's some visualisation tools you can monitor, but you can’t really target individuals who cannot know what they’re thinking, and what's your push?” Leung said.

He added that these business problems are the reason why they collaborated with Appier and maximised its AI technology offerings. Appier’s AI services help Chow Sang Sang find the matching users for their different products.

“We rely a lot on AI to take out our patient's perspective, to note their interest. And this is not a single dimension. We also trust their process occasions like suspicions, the recency, and also the product they browse, and pace, and also devices used,” Leung said.

Targeting the right message at the right time

Leung also emphasised that using the AI technology is effective in meeting their goals, but for the customers, the messaging has to be really targeted at the right timing to the right persons, and that AI will help brands figure out who the message should be given in order to achieve a high conversion rate.

“E-commerce is a self-help platform, we do not have a sales entity, so the AI will very likely surface a purchase test process to help us to do that determination, the observation and also the most appropriate action,” he said.

As retailers are occupied with improving their products and services, Leung encourages the use of AI in addressing this issue as it would make it easier for companies to engage with their consumers. .

Chu also mentioned that outcomes from using AI are now being utilised by retailers to improve their marketing strategies. She observed that nowadays, marketers have plenty of data and real-time user behaviours on their websites or apps and that the digital footprints have led to the need for marketing strategies to adapt to the whole changes in the digital landscape.

“AI helps with omnichannel communication in real-time at the decision making and execution, and improving personalised communication through AI to increase conversions and revenues. [AI] also helps to strategically use the advertising budgets or the omnichannel basic budgets to only those who need them,” Chu said.

She added that engaging with the right content at the right moment with the aid of AI would help drive more purchases.

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