Retailers must see artificial intelligence as more than bots

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From Amazon Echo’s AI assistant, Alexa, to Sephora’s Kik chatbot, businesses are utilizing AI to enhance the user experience in a growing number of ways.

In the past year, chatbots have surged in popularity, helping retailers better connect with their customers. Beyond chatbots, AI has shown immense potential for improving and streamlining the customer experience.

Retailers can use the power of AI and predictive analytics to anticipate shoppers’ needs. For example, by looking at a shopper’s order history and frequency to determine repeat ordering patterns.
These tools help retailers estimate when a customer might place a new order, so they can send either a reminder email with a personalized promotion or potentially help the shopper set up an automated ordering option. This enables retailers to build loyalty with customers through AI, because it saves shoppers time and is tailored to address their needs.

In the future, AI is expected to play an integral role in enabling merchants to build trust with their customers through their payment processors by supporting reliable fraud prevention, accurate behavioral prediction and increased checkout speed. While the technologies surrounding AI and machine learning might not be accessible to all retailers today, the increased shift toward using these capabilities to address their needs is opening the door to partnerships and collaboration to leverage AI across the industry.

According to FuturePay’s recent report, “The Big Ticket: What’s Stopping Shoppers?,” security is still a concern for customers shopping online. From storing payment information to entering contact details, 13% of shoppers admitted to abandoning a cart because of security concerns. AI has the potential to ease some of these worries. With a trusted partnership in place, retailers can leverage AI to identify fraud and stop it in its tracks. By using payment processors that rely on intuitive, human-like reasoning when evaluating transactions, business owners can help spot inconsistencies in their customers’ purchasing behavior and mitigate fraudulent transactions before it’s too late.

In addition to using past customer behavior to prevent fraud, AI chatbots are redefining the customer services experience offered by retailers. The increased popularity of mobile messaging and the demand for instant gratification has led to an opportunity for brands to utilize chatbots as a more convenient, automated way to improve the customer experience.

A recent survey from IBM revealed that more than 65% of millennials in North America prefer interacting with bots rather than communication with live customer service agents. Chatbots not only provide a channel where brands can better engage and acquire customers, but the technology also introduces a unique way for retailers to deliver a personalized experience that may keep customers coming back for more.

While it’s still a little early to say how AI will ultimately impact retailers, chatbots and AI are changing how consumers are connecting to retailers, especially when it comes to the customer experience. However, to keep up with shoppers’ desire for security, convenience and speed, all aspects of the customer experience must be adapted, including payments, and AI has the potential to help streamline that process.

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