The retail industry is more competitive than ever with soft trade figures, subdued consumer confidence and more online retailers entering the market. Retailers need to find a way to set themselves apart and stay relevant in a ‘survival of the fittest’ market.

Heath Barlow, market lead for independent marketing platform company, Emarsys Australia and New Zealand, believes the answer is showing customers that you understand them.

Customers want value from product and services, and they want a positive experience, he says. “A great customer experience is not only a determining factor for consumers, but they prefer to associate themselves with brands that take their personal preferences into account.”

This is where automation and artificial intelligence come into play to scale the intimacy between retailer and customer and provide a more one on one experience.

“Although at times overwhelming and time-consuming, personalised marketing is an effective way for brands to serve the right message to the right customer on the right channel at the right time.

“Due to the sheer amount of data to collect, analyse, and use, human-driven personalisation does not scale. Fortunately, scaling personalisation can be achieved with artificial intelligence (AI). The industry is turning to AI-optimised marketing platforms to maximise interactions across the entire customer life cycle. The value of personalising customer lifecycle enables brands to drive higher revenue by creating a frictionless customer experience,” he said.

Retailers should also leverage CRM systems to capture each and every customer interaction to make each subsequent interaction count. “Retailers can then gain a clear picture of customers and their preferences. Understanding where and how customers engage with your brand helps retailers make the most of the short time they interact with them.”