Personalized merchandising has revolutionized the concept of marketing. Traditional marketing techniques seek to simultaneously target a broad spectrum of consumers with no cognizance of specific and peculiar needs of individual consumers. But personalized merchandising is more streamlined and targeted at consumers who actually need a particular product, at a particular time, and for a particular purpose. It is one reason why big online stores are now generally more successful than physical, brick and mortar stores: the ability of marketers to display their products to particular categories of consumers who need the products more, at that particular time.
While online stores have seen profits skyrocket in recent times, it has proven to be a challenge for them to secure and maintain customer loyalty. In fact, conversion rates have remained extremely low; below 5% for most retailers. However, digital marketing has introduced a more compelling and alluring shopping experience for the average online shopper.
Despite the unimaginable possibilities held out by digital merchandising, it is far from being a walk in the park for most online retailers. The reason for this is that personalized merchandising depends on the ability to receive process and manage huge amount of data from the internet as well as other sources. Sieving through this data can be a nightmare. Added to this is the fact that every good digital marketer must be able to provide answers to the following fundamental questions:
- Who should my marketing communication target?
- What information should my marketing communication contain?
- When is the ideal time to communicate with this consumer?
- How should I communicate with this consumer?
How can a marketer answer these questions quickly and comprehensively and in an organized way so as to make sense of data that may be available to him? Artificial Intelligence, also known simply as “AI” has stepped in to make the process easier and more efficient.
Artificial Intelligence, in its most simplistic definition, is the ability of machines to accurately process data or information and utilize such intelligence to complete simple and complex tasks. AI has further simplified the marketing process tremendously. The advent and increasing sophistication of AI has also made personalized or digital merchandising an easier and more pleasurable process, not only for retailers but also for consumers. How so?
AI is able to receive process and interpret data quicker and more intelligently than the human mind. It can utilize data to determine which shopper, at what location and at what time, is in need of a particular product. Essentially, therefore, it saves valuable time for the digital marketer, reducing turn-around-time while increasing the chances of making a successful sale. Time saved in this way, could then be utilized by the marketer in other important ways e.g. introducing new innovations in the market to titillate consumers. When properly utilized, AI can, and in fact in many cases, is already a game-changer in the ever-increasingly competitive retail business globally.