Generative AI can be the ultimate gift to businesses and customers this holiday season. While nothing can completely do away with the holiday chaos, it is still possible to pull off the perfect holiday season by reducing some of the stress associated with a memorable AI-driven customer experience.
Transforming holiday shopping and engagement with generative AI
According to a holiday retail survey by Deloitte, retail executives anticipated sales to increase every year, and 66% predicted at least single-digit growth in online shopping traffic every year during the holiday seasons. While the holidays certainly bring a level of chaos, it is possible for retailers to thrive during this hectic time of the year with the help of AI-powered tools.
As customers shop for the holidays, there’s also a slew of other areas where AI can help those making plans for big holiday parties, booking flights for family gatherings or vacations, or making dinner reservations.
During the holidays, businesses need to be heavily prepared for high-volume orders and transactions, more than any other time of the year. Generative AI along with more traditional AI and machine learning solutions, are helping build resilient supply chain management solutions.
From anticipating customer needs to navigating the unexpected, generative AI is at the forefront of CX this holiday season. Here are several ways in which generative AI can help businesses ease into the busy times ahead.
Enhanced shopping experience
Apart from using generative AI to respond to customer queries, address their concerns, and guide them through their purchase process, businesses can also implement consumer-facing tools like chatbots, virtual assistants, and product/bundling configurators to enhance the shopping experience.
Try-on experiences and virtual configuration give an up-close view of the products without customers having to physically be in a store. This not only increases customer confidence in their selections but also avoids the looming risk of complex returns that undermine the bottom line.
There has been a noticeable reduction in the volume of returns that brands have had to process due to more engaging product education generated by AI. This trend can save tremendous return-related expenses.
Generative AI’s ability to hold and maintain natural conversations makes it easy for effective customer engagement using technology. Businesses already rely on AI to manage customer inquiries, process returns, and act as a virtual assistant during the CX journey, which in turn, creates a more personalized experience for every customer that mimics shopping in a physical store. AI-powered chats and tools share insights on the products that customers are looking for and also offer tailored results that can increase the average order value (AOV).
While generative AI collects and analyzes consumer data, ethics and transparency becomes a big concern. Preserving customer trust and data privacy should be a top priority for businesses that are looking to make generative AI a big part of their holiday sales strategy.
Swift and efficient service
Considering generative AI to be the latest trend in the e-commerce space is a bit of an understatement. If a tool is capable of instantly looking at historical data, online trends, customer mood patterns, and countless other data points and predicting the demand for a product, it is nothing short of impressive and extraordinary.
Using all available data, even weather patterns, can help algorithms anticipate variables and minimize the time for shipping and fulfillment processes. The end result is near-perfect operational efficiency. It is safe to say this technology is here to stay and be a saving grace during the rush of the holiday season.
During the holiday rush, the last thing anyone wants is something unexpected to occur, but it is highly likely for things to go south very quickly during the end-of-the-year rush. For instance, delayed shipments due to bad weather or any other reason can immediately put off a customer.
Generative AI can go beyond the basics by incorporating predictive management. Instantly generating valuable insights and making intelligent decisions quickly and efficiently, even when the unexpected occurs, can enhance the shopping experience for customers.
When customers make a personal choice to shop with a brand, they expect a tailored experience. While AI can add a personal touch, it is best to proceed with caution when it comes to the content that is marketed.
Bland, impersonal, or incorrect content can negatively affect the brand and result in a loss of reputation and consumer trust. Furthermore, there have been copyright infringement issues recently, adding to the challenge of building credibility.
Generative AI is actively introducing changes to the rules surrounding fair usage of images, text, and other content used in customer-facing advertising and retail.
Communication and education
Despite having an awareness of generative AI, many may harbor misconceptions and fears about the technology. Brands leveraging AI can engage customers and communicate the presence of generative AI in their processes. They can also educate the customers on where and when the brand uses it to enhance the customer experience.
Businesses should indulge consumers’ curiosity about the latest technologies like chatbots, hyper-personalization, bundling, sustainability, etc., and take this opportunity to demystify the new tech, emphasize the benefits of generative AI, and allow customers to opt out at any point in time if they feel uncomfortable.
Proactivity, as well as consumer empathy, demonstrates a brand’s commitment toward delivering a positive CX, reinforcing trust and the core brand values that attract buyers to the brand in the first place.
Generative AI in the long run
According to McKinsey, early adopters of AI-enabled supply chain management solutions have improved their logistics costs by 15%, their service levels by 65%, and their inventory levels by 35%.
There are many ways in which businesses can take immediate advantage of generative AI’s potential at the last minute. But this year’s experiences will also set the stage for its future implementation and integration.
Thanks to the growing power of data and AI, businesses are moving forward with more agility and resilience, not only meeting the consumers’ holiday desires but also anticipating and preparing for their long-term trends.
The flexible delivery-model options offer more control over the investment that a business makes while they test and learn how to leverage generative AI this holiday season. The results may not be as dramatic or as expected, but these initial steps will definitely pave the way for more effective and efficient CX in the future.
Enhance your CX with generative AI and ChatGPT.