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Keeping customers without being creepy

Retailers need to leverage customers' purchasing data for a seamless shopping experience without overstepping boundaries

Amid the online shopping sprees, customers are leaving digital footprints across multiple channels, ranging from desktop, mobile and brick-and-mortar stores.

With data on customers' virtual shopping carts, payment preferences and social profiles, how can retailers manage and analyse this data to provide better products and services?

Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled cloud services have helped businesses use this information to build a personalised, data-driven and secure customer experience.

Connecting online and offline

According to Oracle's recent Topography of Retail report, 74 per cent of consumers want "knowledgeable in-store staff that could meet their specific needs quickly", while 64 per cent of consumers from emerging markets said they loved the idea of virtual reality apps for personalised shopping experiences.

Imagine looking online for the perfect Christmas gift and then going into a store to find an assistant who points you towards the gift you were looking for. That's the level of cross-channel expectation we're gearing towards.

Here comes the AI revolution

Using cloud services powered by emerging technologies led by AI, machine learning and blockchain, retailers are able to build an understanding of a consumer's behaviour.

Marketers can create specifically targeted content for their audiences and delivered during key daily purchasing moments.

Zalora, the largest e-commerce fashion company in South-east Asia, relies on machine learning and AI to drive new levels of customer loyalty.

Zalora has moved from a batch and blast model to become an orchestrator of personalised conversations, resulting in a multi-fold increase in revenue.

Connecting cross-platforms

It is also essential to bring all data related to customers in one centralised location to improve service efficiency and accuracy.

With connected access to team data centralised in the cloud, companies can better coordinate internally and then create an integrated plan through the customer journey.

Bangkok Airways is the first airline in Thailand to deploy cloud services to improve its customer service and engagement.

Agents and supervisors can now route, track and audit e-mails, and generate reports to measure the performance of the incident resolution process and agents themselves.

Protecting information

Hackers can easily access data in AI- and cloud-based sharing platforms. This is where blockchain comes in - creating ultra-secure tokens with an individual's unique information.

With encrypted authentication, this information can only be accessed through use of a secure key, providing totally personalised information, alongside cryptographic security.

Trust

Over 90 per cent of consumers in developing markets and nearly half in developed markets that Oracle spoke to said it was important that they had control over the personal information that retailers held on them.

Retailers need to tread a fine line between customers appreciating good Christmas present recommendations based on their Singles' Day purchases, and feeling uncomfortable with gift suggestions based on their mood in their Instagram story.

The writer is the vice president of Oracle Marketing Cloud at Oracle Asia Pacific and Japan

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