AI and Machine Learning


Why AI is a Necessity for Retail Marketers

Brandon Liu By Brandon Liu Mar 18, 2024

It’s no surprise that AI’s time is now, and that’s especially true for retail and eCommerce brands. For marketers in these sectors, the integration of AI into their customer engagement strategies is simply a necessity. After all, failing to harness the power of AI can waste time and slow skill development. While marketers have a learning curve, surprisingly it isn’t with figuring out how to use AI—it’s about determining how to use AI to solve business challenges.

Time spent here is usually focused on three areas: Strategy and planning, campaign management, and data analysis. Here’s how AI can reduce the time and skills needed for campaign management and data analysis, and free up more time for strategy and creativity.

1. AI can do the data analysis for you

Transforming data into actionable insights is tough. Braze research shows 59% of retail marketers work with business intelligence teams to conduct tests and report on insights.

Consider a scenario where a marketer wants to determine the objective for a new campaign through data insights. To do so, they need to know what behaviors and experiences bring customers closer to making a purchase.

With Sage AI by Brazeᵀᴹ’s conversion correlation feature, the marketer might see that customers who have made a purchase have more sessions per month than customers who haven’t purchased, and are more likely to add products to their wishlist. The marketer could then launch campaigns aiming to drive sessions and encourage users to add items to their wishlists. This can all be done without tapping business intelligence teams, saving time and resources.

Value:

  • Better customer experiences, powered by data

  • Save time by eliminating the traditional process of building custom reports and analyses to arrive at the actionable insight

  • Reduce reliance on business intelligence teams and tools

2. AI unblocks creative ideas through campaign building

Many retail and eCommerce businesses have hundreds or thousands of products across multiple product categories. The overachieving marketer might be compelled to conduct just as many tests to figure out what combination of creative and product best converts—if only they had endless hours in the day. With Winning Variant, marketers can do just that by automatically delivering the best-performing variant from every test.

Additionally, AI can help boost creativity, especially when building out multiple versions of a campaign. For example, let’s say a marketer is setting up different shopper journeys based on past behavior and preferences. With AI Image Generator and AI Copywriting Assistant, you can easily spin up creative fits for each customer, whether they are city slickers or more into tropical destinations.

Value:

  • Increase customer retention and lifetime value

  • Shorten timelines to create complex campaigns

  • Campaigns that are more creative and build brand equity

3. Make your customers believe that they have a personalized stylist

Many companies have invested in teams that produce custom product catalogs and audiences powered by Machine Learning (ML). Ideally, retailers want their recommendations to seem like they’re coming from a personal stylist. Let’s take a look at a scenario where AI can be leveraged to take some of the load off of these teams and personalize recommendations at the individual level.

With product catalogs already connected to Braze, AI Item Recommendations allows you to automatically recommend the top products a customer is most likely to purchase. And it’s not just the product you show that can be personalized—the entire message can be dynamically generated based on the relevant product details for a true 1:1 experience.

Value:

  • Increased purchase rate and frequency

  • Reduce complexity by moving varied personalization solutions into one centralized tool

  • Save resources and move faster by reducing reliance on ML/AI teams

4. Take the guesswork out of crafting engaging customer journeys

The path to purchase is increasingly complex today because customers are connected on more channels and platforms than ever before. Figuring out the right moment and channel to message customers takes either a lot of guesswork or a lot of testing. Let’s take a look at a scenario where a marketer wants to convince loyalty program customers to make more purchases. They have two parts to their loyalty campaign: A reminder to redeem the sign-up promo, and an upsell associated with the store credit card. Currently, they send an email with a promo immediately at sign-up and a store credit card email after seven days.

With Winning Path, the retailer can set up multiple campaign versions to test which ones will best support their goals. They want to know whether they should send a reminder about the sign up promo after 1, 3, or 7 days. They want to know whether they should trigger an upsell for the store credit card after a customer has viewed a product 2+ times, made a purchase, or left a positive review. Finally, they want to know if messages are most effective on email, SMS, or push. This results in 27 different paths. But with Braze, the 27 paths can be managed seamlessly in a single Canvas, and loyalty customers will automatically be sent down the most effective path.

Value:

  • Increase loyalty program engagement and ROI

  • Reduce the likelihood that experimentation gets in the way of running effective campaigns

  • Decrease time and resources spent on data analysis

5. Let customers experience products online as life-like as possible with AI

Customers are still coming into stores: 54% of consumers prefer browsing products online… before making in-store purchases. There are multiple advantages of shopping in-store, which is why the channel is correlated with higher sales. But how do you bring the in-store benefits to your online experience?

Start with an augmented reality (AR) replica of the store to give customers the feel of the in-store shopping experience. Use AI to give advice on each product as if they were shopping in-store with an associate. If a customer wants to know what a new style will look like on them, they can use AI to generate images of them wearing the clothing to give them an idea. You can generate several outfits and let customers purchase the entire outfit or pieces of it directly from the images.

Value:

  • Higher revenue from driving more purchases and reducing returns

  • Increase in word of mouth brand awareness through differentiated experiences

AI is powering absolutely engaging marketing and it’s available to everyone

There’s never been a better time to be a better marketer. Simple, out-of-the-box solutions can be adopted today to save time, support more creativity, drive more revenue, and reduce reliance on other technologies. There are also more ambitious and inspirational applications of AI that will revolutionize customers’ experience with brands. If you’re looking to be a world-class marketer, AI is now a part of the basic skill set for proficiency and is a must-use tool. Embrace that potential and use it to take your customer engagement efforts to the next level.

Want to learn more about how to use AI to work smarter and create brilliant experiences? Check out Sage AI by Braze™.


Brandon Liu

Brandon Liu

Brandon Liu is an analyst on the Braze Strategic Consulting team based out of NYC. When not helping brands with their customer engagement strategies, you can find him exploring art galleries around the city while listening to K-pop.

Related Content

AI and Machine Learning

Bridging the Gap Between In-Game and Digital Engagement

Read More

AI and Machine Learning

Craft brilliant, creative experiences with expanded Sage AI by Braze™ capabilities

Read More
a person surrounded by icons

The Ultimate Guide to AI Marketing

Read More
a person surrounded by personalization attributes

Personalization

A Complete Guide to Personalization Engines

Read More