When a customer walks into a store, salespeople can generally gauge their needs based on gender, age, current trends and other information the customer provides. By the time the transaction is over, the customer has likely had a friendly, personalised experience that was tailored to their needs.

However, as consumers spend more time shopping online than in-store, customers are beginning to expect the same or higher levels of personalisation as if they had met someone face-to-face. Thankfully, data and artificial intelligence (AI) are here to help businesses provide instant, individualised and contextualised customer experiences at every step of the journey – allowing you to build revenue, consumer engagement and loyalty.

AI is transforming customer expectations


As more businesses turn to technology, particularly AI, to deliver a more personalised customer experience, the bar keeps getting higher. Customers have been conditioned to expect newer and better experiences.

In Salesforce’s new State of the Connected Customer report, 14% of customers said AI has already transformed their expectations of companies. Meanwhile, 37% mentioned AI is already transforming their expectations and 36% said it will transform them within five years. This means that within the next five years, 87% of customers expect more business transformations as a result of AI.

With AI-driven experiences winning customers over, a large chunk of customers have come to like – even love – experiences made possible with AI. One of these is personalised recommendations – 56% of customers like or love this service. On top of increasing time spent on site, AI-powered recommendations can keep customers coming back for more.


How can marketers harness AI?


The big takeaway for marketers is to get to know consumer behaviours and implement personalised content recommendations. Kick off with AI by figuring out where it will have the most impact on consumer experiences and developing a step-by-step-strategy.

Here are some key tips to get you started:

Set the foundation – ensure your web, email and mobile channels are ready to handle personalised content. Consider how messages are being built: are they using content blocks that can be easily manipulated or is someone custom coding each message? Using powerful tools like Content Builder in the Marketing Cloud allows for personalisation at scale.

Map the journey – identify the moments that matter for your shoppers and where AI will have the most impact. This can include recommended products in promotional, abandon browse and cart, and post purchase messaging.

Put AI to work – allow tactical and micro-level decisions to be made by machine learning. Lean on AI to eliminate manual merchandising and let it power individualised product recommendations to boost productivity and drive personalised shopping experiences.

As you get used to having AI as a key part of your engagement strategy, you’ll be able to collect, organise and use consumer data more efficiently. Not only will you be able to maximise value for each consumer, you’ll also be able to allocate internal team resources more effectively to manage AI-related tactics.

Learn more about how you can meet changing customer expectations in the latest State of Connected Customer report.