Wherever you get your news, you are likely to read or hear something about the role sales-enhancing technology will play this holiday season. There’s much at stake for this year’s retailers with spending projected to break a record and possibly top the 1 trillion-dollar mark.
Whether it’s the way Target will be using augmented reality to help families visualize the Christmas trees they will be choosing for their homes, how Walmart will be enabling shoppers to scan the toy catalog using their mobile devices to rapidly locate items, or Best Buy’s use of push messaging to give shoppers real-time discount alerts – technology will be a shopping enabler this holiday season.
According to Retail System’s Research, retail winners are looking for machine learning and artificial intelligence to help them:
“Improve their ability to adjust to deviations from sales forecasts
Optimize prices and markdowns to boost sell through
Better incorporate customer segmentation & preferences into the planning process
Have a consistent, accurate and detailed demand forecasting platform
Tailor assortments to customer preferences
Integrate planning with cross-functional teams
Shift to a holistic pricing, assortment and promotion decision-making process”
In an article titled, Tips to Drive Mobile Sales, Michael Becker (digital manager at Emarsys) offers a bevy of tips for retailers seeking to leverage AI and other digital tools effectively. He summarizes the end game by noting:
“The biggest challenge during the Holidays is delivering dazzling, individualized messages at the perfect time, to each of your users.
Retailers that understand how to drive app downloads, then engage with customers based on in-app behavioral data (with timely, personalized push notifications and SMS messages) can set themselves apart and potentially drive crazy revenue this upcoming Holiday season.”
Artificial intelligence that enables tailored messaging and product offerings will play big this holiday season, but so too will human intelligence that guides truly personal interactions.
In my book, The Airbnb Way, I talk about how technology can produce personalization, but how it can’t deliver personal care. Here’s an excerpt:
Leaders at Airbnb readily created, tested, and deployed advanced technologies and intuitive design to foster service speed, ease of use, reliability, personalization, and trust on their digital platform…Machine learning or Artificial Intelligence (AI) are deployed in every reservation made on the platform to assure personalization and security. Those technologies help surface the best options for each user as that guest searches for listings. AI also helps prevent fraud and assists hosts to optimize pricing…Technology can provide personalized information but not personal care. For care to be personal, it must be delivered by a person in a way that is tailored to another person. While human needs can be broadly anticipated (people will be hungry, tired, and will predictably forget items), personal care involves customizing service to the specific needs of the individual you are serving at any given moment.
I would love to hear how you are blending the best of technologies like artificial intelligence (as it relates to service speed, ease of use, reliability, and personalization) along with the personal care delivered by your team members (human intelligence). Simply reach out to me through our technology here and I will speak with YOU personally. Here’s to technology-aided, human-powered holiday success!
Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.
Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli
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