Why smaller retailers should embrace AI, not feel threatened by it

If you associate Artificial Intelligence – AI – with potential job losses and the threat of machines taking over, you’re running the risk of losing your customers’ loyalty without it.

AI has moved in leaps and bounds over the past few decades, with technology being used in businesses to help with logistics, gather information and manage complex stacks of data. While still in its infancy stages, the technology is now at a point where it has the ability to work effectively for retailers as part of your business strategy to retain customers and drive growth.

Train the software

AI is not a simple plug-and-play piece of software that will drive immediate results.It’s what it says on the box – artificial intelligence! It’s more intuitive than regular software, but it’s not magic. Businesses need to commit to rolling out the technology as part of their business strategy and sticking with it so that the AI is able to be integrated effectively within the company’s platforms and channels..

Too often, businesses expect a quick win, when the reality is that AI will significantly assist companies with the speed of decision making allowing more complex customer focused pathways for communications. AI won’t be of any value to companies that aren’t responsive or open to new channels and business tools.

AI to complement staff roles

Businesses should consider how AI will complement the roles of their staff in store, as face-to-face human interaction is critical to engaging with customers and building their loyalty with businesses.

AI can help with generating leads and making personalised recommendations for products to customers, but it can’t replace the connection made between two people which is vital for building customer loyalty.

Additionally, it helps free up staff to concentrate on the more strategic elements of their job. This means that they can add that human touch to the customer engagement process consolidating loyalty and driving value for customers, not to mention the greater stimulation and responsibility that comes with this.

Michael Barnard, General Manager, Customology

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