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Microsoft Industry Blogs – United Kingdom

AI isn’t new. In fact, whether you realise it or not, you’re already using it. Perhaps through your phone, reminding you of upcoming birthdays or it might be built into your car, keeping you out of traffic and accidents. And now it could be helping your customers pick products they’ll love.

It’s that AI thing you’ve heard so much about. And you’ve probably got more experience with it than you think.

Photography depicts using Microsoft

Virtual assistants, email spam filters, and recommendations of what to buy next are all everyday examples of AI at work. Whilst they all serve very different functions in your life, these examples go a long way towards understanding exactly what that AI thing is – and what it’s capable of.

But it’s not just something to make your personal life easier. It has the potential to transform your retail business outcomes too, helping you create great customer experiences, enhance your teams’ productivity, and drive innovation. AI can learn from data to predict what happens next – imagine how this can help you solve some of your core business challenges.

What can AI do for you?

Identify your core business challengesWhilst AI has the potential to help you achieve some really great things, it’s important not to force AI into your business for the sake of it. You should first start by identifying the challenges that you’re looking to overcome and then look at how AI can help you address them.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some of the ways AI can bring value to your retail business:

1. Engage customers with personalised retail experiences

That AI thing could be adding visual search to your online store. If a customer sees a celebrity wearing something they love, they can snap a photo, upload it to your site, and visual search will show them all the products you stock that match the look.

Man sitting in bean bag looking at phone in lounge area. He is leaning against wall, under a window and next to a potted plant. He is leaning against wall, under a window and next to a potted plant.

2. Empower employees to provide outstanding customer service

53% of customers will ditch their online shopping basket if they can’t find an answer to their question. That AI thing could be a chatbot in the corner of your site, ready to help them decide if this purchase is exactly what they’re looking for, or aid the returns process if it wasn’t.

3. Capitalise on data-driven insights to enhance revenue

You can only keep track of so many customers, products, and trends. That AI thing could be tracking the who, what, and why for you – so you can use the insight to make highly personalised recommendations, boost sales conversions, and cut cart abandonment.

4. Learn from your data to open new revenue streams

You need to know your strategies are working – and what to change if they’re not. That AI thing could take the data you’re tracking and spot the patterns between the way you do business and the way your customers interact with your brand. So you can predict what’s next, and be ready for it.

Sounds good – but how do I fit that into my business?

Some of these examples might be as familiar as the virtual assistant in your phone or the spam filter in your inbox. You’ll see AI apps like chatbots and smart recommendations at work in big etail brands. What might not be so familiar is the budget and expertise those brands have to work with. Those brands make AI look expensive. Complicated. Not right for you at all.

But we’re determined to show you that’s not true.

AI is for every business – of every size and every budget. With the right partner and know-how, that AI thing can be your AI thing.

Learn more