How AI is improving customer experiences for brands in APAC

AI with young man in the night

by Adobe Communications Team

posted on 08-04-2020

As consumers continue to seek digital experiences, especially amid the pandemic that is keeping many out of physical stores, artificial intelligence (AI) is giving brands an opportunity to facilitate better customer experiences (CX).

“The application of AI is still relatively in its infancy, but the level of investment globally and the rapid pace of development signals that AI will be a mainstay in retail,” says Grant Arnott, managing director at Power Retail, an Australian provider of e-commerce intelligence. “AI can transform the customer experience by improving personalisation at speed and scale, by automating customer service functions currently performed by humans, and enabling data-driven decision making at an even faster rate.”

We take a look at how AI is transforming experiences, along with several APAC companies that are leading the way.

Creating data-powered CX

According to the Adobe “2020 Digital Trends Report,” marketers in the APAC region say optimising the customer experience is their top opportunity this year. Some are turning to AI to make that happen.

One such brand is Spotify, which is considered somewhat of an apogee for AI-powered user experience. The music-streaming service relies on an algorithm that cross-references data among users who have similar playlists, pointing them towards new genres, artists, and tracks based on their music tastes, explains Serena Leith, APAC director of marketing.

“One of the most powerful assets that Spotify has is our ability to unlock discovery,” Leith says. “AI provides all businesses with the opportunity to hold onto more customer data so they can analyse trends to improve CX. … AI not only presents [brands] with a huge operational efficiency gain, but also a comprehensive dataset of customer behaviours that can be further used for marketing and improvement.”

In another example, Kogan.com, Australia’s premier online shopping destination, has leveraged an AI-powered search engine on its site to personalize the experience and discover new products.

“When you work with millions of products and deliveries to over 2 million customers, AI is a crucial tool for enhancing the consumer experience,” says Goran Stefkovski, chief technology officer at Kogan.com. “We use AI and machine learning to offer the best [promotions] to our customers in a way that is simple and relevant to them.”

The online retailer has also invested in AI-enabled robots that can locate items in its warehouse and make the stock-picking process up to four times faster than a conventional warehouse, Stefkovski adds. This allows the company to offer customers affordable, same-day delivery.

“We use AI to reduce delivery times and keep up with rapidly evolving customer expectations,” Stefkovski says. “The best models combine human knowledge with the latest technology to achieve a great consumer experience.”

Revolutionising in-store experiences

Although the APAC region – China, in particular – leads the world in e-commerce sales, 68 per cent of the region’s consumers say they made most of their purchases in bricks-and-mortar stores over the past year.

AI can also play a role in-store, helping to retain customers and improve their in-store experiences. One of largest supermarket chains, Coles, uses AI to optimise everything from supply chain management to personalized customer offers. For example, AI surfaces relevant offers to customers based on past purchases, local weather, and community events.

Another use is stock management, where Coles uses an AI algorithm based on historic sales to ensure the most popular products are on the shelves. Roger Sniezek, chief information and digital officer at Coles, told the Australian Financial Review this provides Coles staff with an opportunity to focus on enhancing CX through face-to-face interactions.

While the overall application of AI among brands may still be in its relative infancy, it’s becoming increasingly evident that companies that invest in the tech are winning the hearts and minds of consumers.

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Topics: Digital Transformation, Retail, Artificial Intelligence

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