Generative AI’s impact on channel-less shopping experiences

Generative AI’s impact on channel-less shopping experiences

When customers interact with a business, they don’t think about channels and how and where that interaction is happening – they just want a good, personalised experience. Which is why a channel-less approach to customer experience (CX) is now emerging as best practice. Companies need to take a fluid and flexible approach to CX and Generative AI can help. Jake Hookom, VP of Commerce and Platform at Sitecore, discusses how companies can use Generative AI to meet rising expectations.

We live in hyper-connected times. The demand for easy and personalised buying experiences has never been higher. With brands now expected to be omnipresent via connected experiences at any and every touchpoint, a channel-less approach to customer experience is now emerging as best practice and replacing the traditional omnichannel model.

A study by PwC reveals that 32% of customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience. They want these experiences interconnected and seamless, but they also want them personalised, with 63% of customers saying they would be willing to share more personal data with a company to receive a great digital experience.

And yet consumers engage with an average of nine different channels when they interact with a brand, often making execution of a personalised, truly channel-less go-to-market strategy an operational nightmare.

Rising expectations

According to The Economist, this new generation of shoppers is being fuelled by Gen Z: “They have thin wallets and expensive tastes. They prize convenience and a social conscience. They want shopping to be at once seamless and personal. They crave authenticity while being constantly immersed in an ersatz digital world. As they start spending in earnest, brands are trying to understand what these walking paradoxes want and how they shop.”

Faced with an increasingly complex ecosystem of trends and evolution of the business landscape, brands need true flexibility and scalability of technology to deliver lasting, impactful digital experiences today.

But how can brands scale up whilst improving their content operations, delivering digital experiences across all channels and personalise e-commerce for every interaction? This is the challenge Generative AI meets with confidence. When addressed, the impact will be so monumental it could add trillions of dollars in value to the global economy, according to McKinsey.

GenAI enhances channel-less and experiences

By harnessing the power of Generative AI, brands can revolutionise how they engage with customers across various touchpoints, unifying their messaging and offerings seamlessly. This can be significantly split into five key areas:

• Personalised content creation: Generative AI algorithms can analyse vast amounts of data to understand customer preferences, behaviours and trends. By leveraging this insight, brands can generate personalised content tailored to individual users and their specific interests, irrespective of the channel they engage with. By creating specifically targeted content, brands set the scene on building a closer relationship with their customers.

• Cross-channel consistency: One of the challenges in channel-less experiences is maintaining consistency across diverse touchpoints. Generative AI ensures a cohesive brand voice and messaging strategy across channels by generating content that aligns with the brand’s identity and values. Whether a customer interacts with a brand on social media or visits their website, they encounter a consistent narrative and experience, enhancing brand recognition and trust.

• Real-time and SEO optimisation: Generative AI enables real-time content optimisation based on customer interactions and feedback. By analysing user behaviour, preferences and market trends, brands can possess the capability to dynamically adjust content to maximise relevance and engagement. Likewise, the same approach can be taken when it comes to optimising content for SEO purposes, making sure brands are hitting the right audiences at the right time. This adaptive approach ensures content remains fresh, compelling and resonant, driving customer loyalty and advocacy across channels.

• Product recommendations and discovery: In the realm of commerce, Generative AI powers sophisticated product recommendation engines that anticipate and fulfil customer needs. By analysing purchase history, browsing behaviour and contextual data, brands can generate personalised product recommendations that inspire discovery and drive sales. Whether a customer browses a website, interacts with a chatbot or receives an email, they encounter tailored product suggestions to enhance their shopping experience.

A beacon of innovation in uncertain times

Generative AI stands as an enabler of change, revolutionising the landscape of customer experience in unprecedented ways. Its impact transcends mere convenience; it’s a paradigm shift reshaping how businesses engage and delight their audiences – which, in the current economic climate, has become difficult.

At its core, Generative AI is not just about automating tasks; it’s about understanding customers at a deeper level. By analysing an abundance of data, it discovers patterns, preferences and behaviours that unlock insights into individual desires. This understanding enables brands to craft experiences that feel tailor-made for each customer, fostering a sense of connection and loyalty which transcends transactional interactions.

Moreover, Generative AI fuels creativity and agility. It empowers businesses to adapt swiftly to changing market dynamics and consumer trends, enabling them to anticipate needs and innovate proactively. From personalised product recommendations to dynamic content generation, Generative AI allows brands to stay ahead of the curve, delivering experiences that resonate with the moment.

Yet, amidst the promise and potential, challenges abound. Concerns surrounding data privacy, algorithmic bias and ethical implications loom large. As we embrace the power of Generative AI, it’s imperative to tread carefully, ensuring its benefits are delivered responsibly. The use of Generative AI introduces a myriad of opportunities for brands to tailor experiences, predict consumer behaviour and optimise engagement strategies. Yet, amidst these possibilities lies the responsibility to uphold privacy, transparency and fairness.

Regulatory compliance is paramount when employing Generative AI in customer interactions. Adhering to data protection laws such as GDPR and others ensures that customer data is handled ethically and securely. Compliance not only mitigates legal risks, but also fosters trust and credibility among consumers. And aside from legal regulation, ethical considerations must underpin every stage of AI deployment. Brands must scrutinise algorithms for biases, ensure transparency in data usage and prioritise user consent. Upholding ethical standards safeguards against discriminatory practices and reinforces the integrity of customer relationships. In an era defined by data-driven insights and personalised experiences, prioritising regulatory and ethical standards is not just a legal obligation but a fundamental cornerstone of sustainable customer-centricity.

In conclusion, Generative AI heralds a new era of personalisation, innovation and creativity, empowering brands to forge deeper connections with their customers while navigating the complexities of a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

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