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Creating a personalized and seamless customer experience across channels tops every retailer’s wish list. To help meet the customer where they shop and demonstrate that you understand them, retailers are increasingly looking to empower their people with the essential new co-workers for the digital age: machines and AI technology.

The push to go digital is amplifying the need for humans and machines to do more together. By bringing together the best of art and science, retailers can more effectively cater to shoppers and consistently deliver differentiated experiences across the customer journey. Retailers are employing artificial intelligence and machine learning in countless waysfrom anticipating customers’ requests and desires, and tailoring offers and interactions to each specific customer, to ensuring the right products are stocked and ready when their customers want them.

AI technology is also helping retailers tackle abandoned shopping carts. What if employees in brick-and-mortar stores knew what items shoppers left in their online carts? According to the TimeTrade survey, 70 percent of shoppers would like it if store associates used this information to help answer their questions. If stores found a way to provide personalized shopping experiences like this, abandoned carts would not always mean lost sales.

One retailer tapping into the power of AI to deliver personalized shopping experiences across channels is UK-based Dixons Carphone. A major European electronics and telecommunication retailer and service provider, Dixons Carphone discovered that approximately 90 percent of its customers started their shopping journey online, and 65 percent use their mobile phones to assist them while shopping in-store.

Wanting to provide a consistent, world-class experience across channels, the retailer teamed with Microsoft Services to help their 48,000 employees successfully adapt and respond to changing consumer buying patterns.

“Through the research, we determined that artificial intelligence could be the key to offering our customers the differentiated and personalized service and cohesive customer journey we are aiming for,” says Antonia Colin-Jones, strategic partnership program manager for Dixons Carphone.

Using the capabilities of the Microsoft Bot Framework and Microsoft Cognitive Services to build AI into its customer interactions, the retailer recently introduced its first interactive AI bot, named Cami, accessible through the company’s Currys brand website and Facebook Messenger.

Described as “mildly geeky and quite confident,” Cami helps customers and store employees research, find, and save products and check stock. The bot will help Dixons Carphone strengthen its relationships with customers by supporting consistent online and in-store experiences while also enabling store employees to be more effective and efficient with new tools and expanded data access.

In the past customers who researched products online before coming to a store had to start from scratch when seeking assistance from a store associate. Cami can help bridge that gap by enabling employees to see what the customer was looking for online, and then direct them to that product or to other ones they might like equally or even more. The retailer also expects the new bot to help them better understand their customers by seeing the type of questions they are asking, and then use that insight to refine future services and communications.

I am excited to see how Dixons Carphone is transforming its business with AI technology and machine learning. With Cami on the job 24/7, they are better integrating the customer journey, boosting engagement, and empowering their employees. You can learn more by reading their new case study.

I’ll also be talking more about this at Retail Week’s Tech conference on September 14. As we explore the future of digital retailing at this year’s event, I’ll discuss how disruptive technologies like mixed reality and artificial intelligence will change the face of shopping and look at more examples of digital transformation. Join us in London, and I’ll share highlights of my keynote in my next blog.

LinkedIn: Tracy Issel