Retail businesses often operate on tight margins. When wholesalers make products available to multiple retailers, it’s difficult to set prices significantly higher than competitors. This means keeping costs down is essential to most retailers’ business models.
In addition to the wholesale cost of the goods retailers sell, labor is generally one of the top expenses for retailers—an expense that conversational AI (artificial intelligence) can offer a positive impact in a number of ways.
In any business and even in the home, conversational AI is great for making day-to-day tasks more efficient. Sometimes these tasks can even be entirely automated. For instance, conversational AI can be used to track customer interactions, feedback, to store and retrieve contact information and product details, to answer FAQs and even help influence buying decisions.
Exceptional customer service is traditionally correlated with high costs. The more customer service representatives a company has, the more time spent training them, and the more time they’re allowed to spend serving customers, then the more it costs the business to deliver the full customer experience. Higher customer service, therefore, also tends to carry a higher cost for consumers to help retailers recoup these costs.
Today, though, tremendous advances in AI and natural language processing (NLP) makes high-quality customer service possible without high-cost human staff. Through conversational AI, retailers can effectively answer countless customer inquiries on anything from the availability of products and sizes to the status of shipments and even some product support. And conversational AI doesn’t sleep, doesn’t get sick, and doesn’t take vacations. That means it’s a low-cost solution for 24/7 customer service, whether online chat, using text, email or over the phone.
Another way conversational AI can boost customer support in retail settings is personalization. Personalization goes hand in hand with customer service. Customers appreciate it when the people who take their money remember their names and their preferences. While it’s obviously not the same when it’s a computer remembering as opposed to the owner of a brick-and-mortar store, recalling such information still benefits customer service. Think of ease with tracking orders and personalized recommendations, for example.
Personalization also benefits organizations’ marketing efforts. The more a business knows about its customers, the better. Personalized recommendations aren’t just helpful to customers, they can be very profitable for businesses as well.
Fighting Shopping Cart Abandonment
Deals fall through at the last minute for any number of reasons: cold feet or failure to secure funding on the part of the buyer, lack of follow-up from the vendor, simple forgetfulness, or changing priorities. This happens in any sales process and anywhere selling takes place, from international bazaars to used car lots to online landing pages.
When this happens in the online retail environment, it’s known as shopping cart abandonment. Conversational AI is a great tool for combatting shopping cart abandonment. Conversational AI can be programmed to nudge potential customers if a certain amount of time has passed after putting an item in a shopping cart, for example. If even 10 percent of those nudges result in a completed purchase, that can be a significant boost to revenue considering the volumes often involved in online retail.
Even if a customer decides not to proceed with a purchase, conversational AI can be used to solicit feedback on why the purchase was abandoned, or at least to gather and analyze data related to shopping cart abandonment more broadly.
Minimizing costs is crucial in retail, but so are providing exceptional customer service, and market and customer analysis. Conversational AI is a great solution for businesses to address all of these critical needs. Ready to learn more? Get in touch to learn more about NITCO’s conversational AI solutions.