Integrating artificial intelligence into the mobile strategy
Embedding AI into Mobile Strategy The value that mobile AI experiences can add to a customer’s journey will take it from a must-have to a must-have in the near future.
A mobile-centric approach is quickly becoming a must for businesses looking to compete in a crowded retail market. Our smartphones have become an extension of ourselves, and as any savvy businessperson will tell you, businesses need to meet their customers where they are.
Most companies have been integrating mobile into their strategies for quite some time now, but to really innovate, I think it’s the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into their mobile customer experience that will succeed in differentiating them from their competitors.
No longer a buzzword, but rather an accelerated reality of the hybrid physical/digital world, AI is both the future and the present of technology. For the purposes of this article, I am focusing specifically on mobile AI.
Given that smartphone adoption in Africa is expected to reach 87% by 2030, mobile should be a priority for any serious innovator wishing to reach the modern consumer. In fact, the mobile AI market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 28.65% over the next few years, ensuring a disruption in the way mobile devices are used.
And things are moving fast, even more so now, as there seems to be a post-pandemic rush to embrace immersive technology. McKinsey calls it “acceleration,” saying that since COVID, we’ve taken a 10-year leap in digital activity.
Forrester echoes this in its 2020 “Future of martech” report, which highlights AI techniques like natural language processing and generation, voice and facial recognition as emerging technologies that will power next-generation CX.
Mobile virtual assistants and chatbots aside, it’s the immersive experience that AI can provide that really shakes things up. Add to that the fact that these experiences are made possible with the weightless devices in our pockets, and the sky really is the limit.
A growing reality of the hybrid physical/digital world, AI is both the future and the present of technology.
It goes beyond simply making a customer’s life easier; it’s the value that mobile AI experiences can deliver to a customer’s journey that will take it from a nice-to-have to a must-have in the near future.
Consumer expectations are changing so rapidly that brands that cannot offer a balanced coexistence of mobile AI and virtual and physical experiences will be pushed back to the end of the line.
According to Futurum Research, more than 55% of customers already expect to be able to use Siri or Alexa-like devices to ask for help in physical stores.
Mobile AI: Shopping Companion Wanted
Let’s look at some examples of how mobile AI is shaping the retail customer experience.
Turning to e-commerce first, Amazon Alexa’s voice-activated shopping feature is an impressive tool that allows consumers to ask Alexa to search for items on the e-commerce platform, add items to their cart, check delivery status, etc. , all via voice commands.
Then there’s the Snapchat virtual dressing room, which gives customers an idea of how an outfit will look and fit without having to physically try on anything. It was so successful that in its first two weeks of launch, the feature generated over $6 million in store sales.
We also have mobile AI tools that have been specifically designed to enhance the in-store experience; for example, the Adidas “Bring it to me” application. This allows consumers to simply point their phone at a pair of sneakers they like, and the app then prompts the user to select a size.
In no time, a staff member approaches the trainers, using the customer’s location to locate them in store. In addition to the app, shoppers can interact with smart mirrors that display product information in store dressing rooms.
The key ingredient to the examples above is that they are not tools or features that act in isolation, but rather fuel a larger omnichannel strategy, with mobile being the primary launch pad.
Below, I’ve included a guide to help businesses consider their own mobile AI integration strategy, with key recommendations on how to get started:
Set goals: Do you want to use AI to create a more immersive or more personalized customer experience? Looking to reduce costs or automate processes? Having a clear objective will help to successfully integrate AI into the mobile offer.
Select the right platform: Once the right AI solution has been identified, it’s time to select the right platform. Is what you want to achieve possible with a third-party platform or is a bespoke solution required? What is the most profitable option?
Test and refine: Don’t skip this step when integrating AI into the mobile offering. Test the solution, monitor user feedback and engagement, and identify areas for improvement before rolling it out.
Train the team: AI integration requires technical knowledge and skills. Make sure front desk staff members are aware of how features work. Specifically, ensure that the specialized skills necessary to optimize the AI solutions implemented are in place.