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Sep 07, 2023

6 min to read

8 Ways AI Can Enhance the Holiday Retail Season

As the iconic holiday shopping season begins, discover how artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the way we shop for gifts this year, offering brands with the opportunity to create personalized recommendations, accurate predictive shipping, improved customer support, and more to ensure that this holiday retail experience is merrier than ever.

Keywords

Artificial intelligence (AI)

B2C

Customer Experience

Holiday Shopping

Product Experience

Retail Trends

Translation & Localization

With many major retailers rolling out Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals starting in late September this year and 21% of shoppers finishing their holiday shopping by mid-October, if your brand hasn’t at least started preparing for the holiday shopping season, you’re late to the game,

Not to worry; in the year of 2023, you have the power of technology on your side. The hype around groundbreaking generative AI has been hard to ignore – but the truth of how you can utilizing this powerful technology today lies somewhere between the diehard champions and apocalyptic naysayers. 

To make the most of increased customer activity this holiday season, let’s take a look at eight tangible examples of how your brand can utilize AI technology to deliver an exceptional customer experience. And, to help demonstrate, we’ll be following along with fictional luxury jewelry brand Ziggany’s as they experiment with AI to give the gift of a better experience to their customers. 

 

1. Cleanse your data for accuracy & missing values

Before you can dive headfirst into the holiday shopping frenzy, take a moment to clean and organize your data. AI algorithms rely on data to make informed decisions; inaccurate or incomplete product data renders the whole purpose of implementing an AI solution useless.

To cleanse data effectively, you should work with your organization to create and employ a combination of validation, standardization, and transformation techniques to ensure data accuracy, consistency, and completeness, while also implementing ongoing monitoring and governance practices to maintain data quality over time.

You can even use AI to clean your data before implementing AI solutions; I know, it’s a bit meta. But machine learning algorithms can automatically highlight data points that don’t fit the usual patterns, making it easier to find these errors, missing data, or inconsistencies.

In practice, this means that fictitious jeweler Ziggany’s can implement AI-driven data validation and cleansing tools to automatically review their product catalog, customer data, and inventory records ahead of the holiday season. If there are discrepancies in gemstone details or metal types, AI can flag these issues for review and correction. Ziggany’s can also automatically identify and merge duplicate records in the customer database, preventing the same customer from being counted multiple times and ensuring accurate customer analytics with a machine learning algorithm before launching the holiday promotional campaign.

 

2. Improve site search functionality

If you’re looking to enhance your web presence this holiday season, AI-powered solutions can provide you with improved product tagging and categorization functionality, meaning that your customers can find the products they’re looking for on your site faster and easier.

For example, our friends at Ziggany’s probably internally label all products gemstone type with a long SKU identifier number ( e.g., “diamond” = 3426663, “sapphire” = 72774473). A properly trained machine learning algorithm can translate those jumbles of numbers to identifiable terms that a customer would come to your site and actually search for; then, it could extract these attributes like carat weight, metal purity, or gemstone cute to create detailed filters for the customers. 

Even if your customer comes to your site and searches “elegant diamond necklace” or “vintage sapphire ring”, natural language processing (NLP)-powered AI can understand these queries and ensure accurate search results even if the specific product name isn’t used.

 

3. Unburden your support team with live chat and intelligent routing

The holiday rush often means a surge in customer inquiries. One of the most popular implementations of AI, AI-powered chatbots can reduce the workload on your support team and improve the efficiency of your ticketing wiring system. These bots can handle routine questions, provide product information, and even intelligently route complex inquiries to human agents when needed.

Luxury jewelry brand Ziggany’s can deploy AI-driven chatbots to handle common customer inquiries about ring sizing or fixing an unreliable bracelet clasps.. These chatbots can also intelligently route complex queries to their expert support team for personalized assistance.

A properly trained AI solution could also ingest years of returns and support requests data, and provide Ziggany’s support team with an intelligent prediction of popular holiday items that tend to have fit or quality issues, and how to proactively address those issues.

 

4. Translate & localize product content

Today’s economy is an increasingly global one, and while eCommerce may open up doors to international markets, it also means that your product content needs to be able to be seen in different cultural contexts. Even small things, like “color” vs. “colour” in the U.S. and U.K., can interfere with search functionality and customer experience as much as major things, like including the appropriate unit of measure.

AI can play a pivotal role in translating and localizing product content for luxury jewelry brand Ziggany’s, ensuring a seamless shopping experience for customers worldwide. By employing AI-powered language translation tools, Ziggany’s can automatically translate product descriptions, reviews, and customer communications into multiple languages, catering to their diverse international clientele.These AI systems, with human review,  can handle the nuances of different languages, maintaining the accuracy and cultural sensitivity of the content. 

Additionally, AI-driven localization algorithms can adapt product content to specific regions, accounting for regional preferences, units of measurement, and currency, providing a tailored and welcoming experience for customers from various cultural backgrounds. This not only expands Ziggany’s global reach but also demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity and customer satisfaction in an increasingly interconnected world.

 

5. Pair similar products and offer bundles

Pairing similar products and offering bundles is a strategic approach that can significantly boost sales and enhance the customer shopping experience. AI algorithms are instrumental in this process by delving into customer purchase histories and uncovering patterns of products that are frequently bought together. This valuable insight allows brands to create product bundles and upsell opportunities that resonate with their customers.

For instance, imagine a customer browsing Ziggany’s website for a pearl necklace. AI algorithms can analyze data and discover that customers who purchase a pearl necklace often also buy matching pearl earrings or a pearl bracelet to complete the set. Leveraging this knowledge, Ziggany’s can proactively create curated bundles, such as a “Pearl Jewelry Set,” offering a discount for customers who buy all three pieces together. This approach not only simplifies the shopping process for customers but also encourages them to make larger and more satisfying purchases, increasing both average order value and customer satisfaction.

 

6. Provide data-driven product recommendations

Enhancing the shopping experience through personalized product recommendations is a powerful strategy that can significantly impact customer satisfaction and sales. AI plays a crucial role in achieving this by meticulously analyzing customer behavior, including browsing habits and past purchase history, to offer tailored product suggestions.

For Ziggany’s, implementing AI-driven personalized recommendations can transform the way customers discover and engage with their jewelry offerings. Imagine a customer who has previously shown a penchant for emerald jewelry. AI algorithms can examine this customer’s browsing and purchase history, identify the preference for emeralds, and then provide personalized suggestions such as emerald necklaces, rings, or earrings. By aligning these recommendations with the customer’s individual tastes, Ziggany’s not only enhances the shopping journey but also significantly increases the likelihood of a sale.

This level of personalization not only encourages customers to explore a wider range of products but also fosters a deeper connection with the brand, as customers feel understood and valued. In turn, this can lead to higher customer loyalty, increased average order values, and a more enjoyable shopping experience overall.

 

7. Provide real-time predictive shipping estimates

One of the biggest reasons that such a significant portion of the population gets their holidays hopping done so early is because they want to ensure that all the products they want arrive on time. Providing real-time stock availability and accurate shipping time predictions is a crucial aspect of gaining a customer’s loyalty and trust. But equipping consumers with this level of transparency requires having this level of transparency, and that’s easier said than done.

But when equipped with the right data, Ziggany’s AI-driven predictive shipping timelines can take into account a multitude of factors, such as shipping location, current inventory levels, and even potential delays or weather conditions that could interfere with shipping estimates.

Keep customers informed about their orders by offering real-time predictive shipping timelines. AI can analyze shipping data, weather conditions, and other variables to provide accurate delivery estimates. Amazon’s “Amazon Prime” service is a prime example of this approach.

Ziggany’s can utilize AI to predict shipping times accurately. By considering factors like shipping location, holiday shipping delays, and inventory availability, customers can receive real-time estimates of when their jewelry will arrive, reducing uncertainty.

Not only does this level of information enhance transparency and build trust with customers, but it also empowers them to make more informed decisions about their purchases. Customers appreciate knowing when to expect their orders, especially when dealing with high-value and sentimental items like jewelry in Ziggany’s case. Consequently, this level of accuracy in shipping estimates can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, contributing to Ziggany’s reputation as a reliable and customer-centric luxury jewelry brand.

 

8. Generate visuals for different styles & sizes

Visualizing products in different colors, styles, and sizes is a prime area for AI to improve within the retail industry. Whether you’re trying to visualize a new couch in your living room or want to see a blouse in a different color, generative AI can help brands create virtual experiences that better showcase their products, especially if their products offer customization. 

Maybe Ziggany’s encourages consumers to take a selfie and superimpose a new necklace and earring combination that complements their personal style and preferences based on previous shopping behavior. Or maybe Ziggany’s already has product photos for a gold bracelet and wants to introduce a silver option, so they utilize generative AI to swap the gold for the silver.

 


 

Embrace the HolidAI Season

As the holiday shopping season dawns upon us, it’s important to recognize the impact that AI could have on the shopping experience this year. Whether you’re using AI technology to generate product images, translate detailed product descriptions, or optimize websites for keyword search, this technology has the potential to provide your customers with unparalleled experiences, but only if you have the solid foundation of product information that it requires. Get your data in order, and embrace technology to make the season bright for your customers but also for your bottom line.

To learn more about optimizing your customer experience ahead of the holiday rush, check out our 2023 Holiday Season Strategy Guide for expert tips and tricks, curated straight from the experts in the Akeneo community.

2023 Holiday Season Strategy Guide

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