RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Retailers are looking at new ways to boost their bottom lines, especially after a disappointing holiday season where sales fell nearly 2 percent in December.
To help combat that, brands and retailers are using artificial intelligence to bring more people back into stores and to make in-person shopping a better experience for customers.
When it comes to shopping, most folks love the convivence and safety of no contact, online purchasing — but many shoppers really miss the in-store experience.
“People still want to touch, look and be there in person to try something on,” said shopper Larisa Lotz.
Kristina Wolinski is another person who likes prefers to shop in person.
“I like going into stores,” she said. “I like to get out.”
Whether it’s in-store or online, retailers are finding it’s a changing world for them.
“Customers are in control now,” said Kelsey Jones who is the director of product marketing at Emarsys, a marketing software company. “They’ll tell brands exactly what they want and why they want it.”
During the pandemic, the huge surge in online shopping caused retailers to amass vast amounts of data.
Some are now using artificial intelligence to help analyze that data and to help deal with the shortage of employees created by the pandemic.
“Let A.I. do the heavy lifting, so you can give your team members back some time to do what they do best — to be creative and make engagement with customers giving them the best possible experience they can,” said Jones.
That resonates with retail customers like Lotz.
“You don’t really need a human to stock the shelves at night, but you need a human to say this looks good or try this,” she said.
During the pandemic, many people admit they purchased online out of boredom.
A survey by Emarsys said 64 percent of items purchased during lockdown were never used at all.
These days, the company says people consider their purchases more carefully to avoid buyers’ regret.
Retailers are also going to use A.I. to personalize the shopping experience, whether it’s in targeted emails, websites more attuned to precise shopping needs or in-store experiences that are more pleasant.
Jones says the trend is there to turn up the personalization to keep shoppers loyal to a retailer.