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Holiday Readiness: How to Use AI to Personalize at Scale

Holiday Readiness: How to Use AI to Personalize at Scale

Today’s shoppers expect brands to deliver seamless, personalized experiences — but what does that really mean for your holiday shopping season plans? Here's how to use AI to help.

This is the latest installment in a tutorial series that breaks down everything retailers need to do for a successful holiday shopping season.

You know that today’s shoppers expect brands to deliver seamless, personalized experiences — but what does that really mean for your holiday shopping season plans? 

At Salesforce, we talk a lot about how artificial intelligence (AI) gives retailers the power to personalize at scale across every channel of engagement. The secret sauce to building loyalty and ultimately driving revenue growth is being relevant at every touchpoint, and AI is a key enabler. Despite its clear importance, however, retailers that leverage AI are still in the minority. That’s because nearly two out of three consumers say they feel their retailers don’t truly know them.

AI enables everything from real-time next-best offers to predictive journeys to dynamic landing pages, among many more use cases. If you’re a part of the 57% of marketers who plan to use AI in the next two years — or if you’re just learning about AI — there’s no better time to personalize at scale than the busiest shopping season of the year.

Read on to find out how to:

  • Customize the entire shopping experience
  • Predict the likelihood of engagement
  • Automate triggers and journeys
  • Boost shopper satisfaction with personalized service

1. Show shoppers what they really want

When a shopper lands on your site, quickly highlight products they’ll love. Product recommendations makeup 26% of revenue and increase average order value by 10%.

AI learns from every click to better predict each shopper’s unique preferences.

  • Suggest highly relevant products with predictive product recommendations to boost conversion. (Last year, AI-driven product recommendations peaked at 18% on Cyber Monday.)
  • Automatically include related keywords that are not already in your search dictionaries. If a shopper types “blue dress,” for example, AI also surfaces “navy” and “aquamarine” dresses.
  • Customize the order in which products appear in search and category pages based on shopper behavior using predictive sort functionality.
  • Create products bundles — based on products typically purchased together — to showcase additional items shoppers may want to add to their purchase. 

2. Better understand shoppers’ rules of engagement

Engagement scoring capabilities use AI to get a better sense of shopper behavior by testing how quickly shoppers look at messages and react to them. Once you know your shoppers’ channel preferences, you can use engagement scoring to execute messaging quickly and communicate more effectively.

3. Re-engage abandoned site visitors — automatically

The holidays are such a busy time of year that any distraction can mean an abandoned search, browse, or shopping cart. Plan for this in advance and give shoppers every chance to purchase the perfect gift.

Pre-build templates for retargeting ads, email reminders, SMS messages, or push notifications to bring shoppers back to your site and map out the communications cadence for retargeting by working across teams to understand browse, abandoned cart, back-in-stock, and post-purchase journeys. This way, if a shopper spends time browsing your site and puts items in their cart, but navigates away, you can follow up with a personalized email, for example, that reminds them to complete their purchase with the available items.

4. Resolve customer service cases at speed and scale

As service cases peak during the holiday shopping season, AI can speed up service interactions. AI analyzes incoming cases based on preliminary information from shoppers and moves priority cases to the front of the queue. Agents are poised to resolve cases faster with AI-powered recommended next-best actions that appear in their service console and communications prompts.

AI can even turn a service interaction into another sale by priming agents to suggest relevant add-ons or complementary products based on purchase history.

illustration of mobile customer support with einstein

What’s next?

Put insight into revenue-driving action through the entire shopping journey by learning more about Salesforce Einstein and get holiday-ready with a full look at our tried-and-true tips in the 2019 Holiday Readiness Guide. Be sure to also visit the Holiday Readiness Headquarters for a monthly look at the tools and strategies you can implement across marketing, commerce, service, and tech teams.

John Strain

John Strain is the Senior Vice President of Retail and Consumer Goods at Salesforce. He leads his teams to build strategies and partnerships around personalization, relevance, and engagement. John has previously worked at Gap Inc., Williams Sonoma, and Total Wine & More. (His favorite wine, in case you’re wondering, is pinot noir.) Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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