How AI Is Fueling a Customer-Centricity Renaissance in Retail

While AI revolutionizes much of our lives, it’s ushering in a new era for retail. Experts met for a webinar on that very subject, and here are three actionable takeaways from their conversation.

Everyone’s been talking about customer-centricity for some time now, but putting that into practice is incredibly difficult. Historically speaking, retail solutions were built to prioritize products, not customers, therefore leaving retailers themselves frustrated. Try as you might to put customer-centricity into practice, without the right tools in hand, that task may feel impossible.

Good news is on the horizon, though. As artificial intelligence revolutionizes much of our lives in and outside of work, it’s ushering in a customer-centricity Renaissance that retailers need.   

RETHINK Retail recently hosted a webinar with Lily AI’s President and CRO Ahmed Naiem to discuss this new phase of retail and how businesses can make the most of it. He was joined by Martin Newman, a Futurologist and newly appointed Lily AI advisory board member, along with Alicia Esposito, the VP of Content at Retail TouchPoints. 

At the core of their discussion, these three experts kept coming back to one major theme: You need to fully represent customers in everything you do. 

In a retail world that’s been predominantly product-focused for so long, having the ability to really focus on the customer is a breath of fresh air. With the advent of new retail technology, AI is making this more achievable than ever.

Webinar Takeaway 1: Great customer experience is the result of when customer-centricity is prioritized.

Historically in retail, the product has lived at the center of operations and functions. This has led to huge gaps between how consumers feel, what they want, how they’d prefer to shop, and what retailers actually provide. Major gaps exist between customer experiences and how retailers perceive their own performance. 

AI helps retailers understand where their own personal disconnects lie and works as the tool to address them. It enables retailers to see how they can give customers the experiences they want, rather than simply providing what retail legacy solutions are willing to provide. 

Lily AI and RETHINK RETAIL dig into this divergence in great detail throughout our report How New AI Strategies Are Helping Bridge the Consumer Expectation Gap. In it, we survey over 1,000 North American consumers across beauty, home, and fashion industries to learn more details on customer experience disconnects. We also lay out how AI addresses these gaps and optimizes every step of the customer journey.

Webinar Takeaway 2: Consumers control the trends, not retailers. 

Thanks to the rise of social media and the desire for content creators to declare the next hot microtrend, consumers are truly in control of what’s trendy these days. Retailers need to not only have a finger on the pulse of what people are talking about on socials, but also update their inventory to reflect the latest, greatest trends people are shopping for. 

Gone are the days when retailers’ online shops return 0 items when someone searches “mob wife inspired clutch.” With the assistance of AI and customer-centric product attribution, only the most relevant results, which truly reflect these trends, are returned. Optimized choices for product recommendations are served up to people who are shopping online too. 

This modern type of personalization truly meets consumers where they are, making them feel seen, and delivering the exact products they’re looking to purchase. With it, retailers are enabled to reflect the consumers’ searches back to them, no matter how new those trends are. 

Webinar Takeaway 3: Retailers need to choose an AI partner that can prove their worth. 

There are a lot of great AI solutions out there and there’s a lot of noise too. The right AI solution will deliver a revenue impact that’s clear, easy to understand, and beneficial to multiple parts of the customers’ buying process. For example, Lily AI achieves this by leveraging the language of the customer to build awareness, inspire engagement, and earn customer loyalty.

When selecting an AI solution to revolutionize your customer-centricity, be agile and intentional. Identify the problem within your ecommerce journey that you want to solve, then test different AI solutions, learning and iterating before you make your final decision. Ask potential vendors what they’re doing to impact customer experiences, both from business and revenue perspectives. 

The right AI solution providers will ensure that the math checks out. And with the improved experiences their AI solutions provide, your customers will be delighted.

Close Consumer-Retailer Gaps With AI

Discover critical insights into consumers' and retailers' perspectives on shopping journeys. Lily AI and RETHINK Retail’s surveyed over 1,000 North American shoppers across the fashion, home, and beauty sectors.
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Report: How AI Bridges the Retail Consumer Expectation Gap