Significant Retail Trends in 2019

Jeweller Magazine – If we don’t look ahead, we risk being left behind. Perhaps nowhere is that risk greater than with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a practical retail technology. AI has left the lab and brands and retailers have seized upon it to predict individual consumer behaviour and better target their messaging. Those who begin coupling AI with the human touch in the years to come will have a huge advantage long-term. The technology gold rush will go on unabated but savvy retailers will never lose focus on people.

AI and personalised service
Retailers are using AI to personalise customer service and the trend is picking up steam. Fifty-five percent of retailers plan to leverage the technology within three years, according to the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey from BRP, retail consulting firm. Among the many applications: recommending merchandise and the ability to contact a given client at their preferred time of day.

Starbucks rolled out voice-recognition ordering in South Korea, extending its mobile order-and-pay technology by integrating with Samsung’s AI chatbot Bixby.

Customers can use their phone in a conversational way to learn more about available beverages. Meantime, The North Face has adopted IBM Watson’s cognitive computing technology to help consumers find just the right jacket but here’s the thing: while AI will permit businesses of all kinds to increase client satisfaction, Starbucks and The North Face know full well that personal connections will always trump technology.

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