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Right time, right place: re-engage inactive shoppers with Voice AI

Despite the skyrocketing rise of e-commerce since Covid, many online retailers are struggling to connect with their customers. Pureplay retailers are often unable to engage in two-way conversations with shoppers, unlike their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

But thanks to recent advances in technology and the growth of conversational AI, this is all about to change. Conversational AI is a set of technologies that enable computers to understand and process natural language inputs so they can ‘talk’ with humans. Put simply, they allow us to interact with machines in the same way that we do with other humans.

According to a report from Markets and Markets, the global conversational AI market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22 per cent during 2020-2025, reaching almost US$14 billion by the end of that period.

Right time, right place

In retail, timing is one of the most important elements required to ensure a business transaction is successful — and it’s something that conversational AI can play a vital role in, says Sam Zheng, co-founder of Curious Thing. Unlike traditional marketing campaigns, conversational AI can engage in a two-way conversation with a customer at a time that is meaningful to them.

“Let’s say you had a good experience at my seafood restaurant a year ago when you ordered some really nice lobster. Now it’s your birthday. AI could actually give you a call one week before your birthday and say, ‘Hi Jo, your birthday is coming up! According to your review, you had a great time with us last year and enjoyed some of our delicious lobster. We’d love to help you celebrate again this year. We want to give you 20 per cent off on your next visit to thank you for your support throughout the year,’” explains Zheng. 

“Essentially, that’s what conversational voice AI can do – really appeal to people at the right time with the right personal approach.”

Helping to bring back inactive customers

In many cases, when retailers wish to engage with customers, they rely upon traditional email marketing campaigns, but the reality is that some consumers are just not responsive to emails and prefer an AI call.

“The most common value we bring to online retailers is connecting with inactive customers and giving them access to a personalised offer so they might return,” explains Zheng. 

“If you are proactive when your customers are inactive, there’s a good chance that they will change their mind. You can find out why people left and why they stay, and proactively offer them value, so there’s a good chance that you can win back those customers.”

How July is unlocking the secrets behind abandoned carts

Direct-to-consumer travel brand and official luggage supplier of the Australian Olympic Team, July has recently embarked upon a conversational commerce AI project to understand why customers are abandoning their carts and how they can encourage them to complete the purchase. 

“We are always looking for new effective channels we can add to our marketing stack. Using conversational AI was a natural thing to try after the results we’ve seen with SMS and email marketing. The real-time personalisation and newness of AI technology will get us quite a lot of cut through compared to other channels,” said July co-founder Richard Li.

Curious Thing has designed a one-to-two minute call for July to understand the following:

  • Why customers abandoned their cart and offer a discount on their next purchase. 
  • Where they heard about July.
  • Where they are planning to travel next and when.

The goals of the project include offering a great customer experience, strong ROI from returned customers and a comparable conversion rate with SMS marketing.

“In the coming years, AI tech will continue to help e-commerce businesses scale and meet the demand of consumers, especially when it comes to customer service. We are still in the early days, but it won’t be long before we see personalised and guided online shopping experiences hosted by brand avatars, like July’s own AI team member, Pocki the Shiba dog,” said Li.

To find out more about Curious Thing, visit:

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