We live in hyper-connected times. The demand for easy and personalized buying experiences has never been higher. With brands now expected to be omnipresent via connected experiences at any and every touchpoint, a channel-less approach to customer experience is now emerging as best practice and replacing the traditional omnichannel model.

According to The Economist, a new generation of shoppers, Gen Z, is fueling this shift: “They have thin wallets and expensive tastes. They prize convenience and a social conscience. They want shopping to be at once seamless and personal. They crave authenticity while being constantly immersed in an ersatz digital world. As they start spending in earnest, brands are trying to understand what these walking paradoxes want and how they shop.”

Rising expectations

A study by PwC reveals that 32% of customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience. They want these experiences interconnected and seamless, but they also want them personalized, with 63% of customers saying they would be willing to share more personal data with a company to receive a great digital experience.

And yet consumers engage with an average of nine different channels when they interact with a brand, often making execution of a personalized, truly channel-less go-to-market strategy an operational nightmare.

Faced with an increasingly complex ecosystem of trends and evolution of the business landscape, brands need true flexibility and scalability of technology to deliver lasting, impactful digital experiences today.

How can brands create scalability by gaining new efficiencies across content operations, channel-less digital experience delivery, and personalized ecommerce across any touchpoint?

This is the challenge that generative AI meets with confidence. When addressed, the impact will be so monumental that it could add trillions of dollars in value to the global economy, according to McKinsey.

How generative AI enhances channel-less content and commerce experiences

Content control center

  • Streamlined content creation: Generate evergreen marketing and brand content effortlessly all based on your brand voice.
  • SEO-optimized product descriptions: Use generative AI to create persuasive product descriptions optimized for SEO.
  • Content experimentation: Quickly and easily create variations of your content to test with different segments of consumers
  • Image generation: Auto-generate alternate styles and colors of product images with DALL-E.

Channel-less commerce experiences

  • Conversational commerce: Leverage ChatGPT to create a virtual personal shopping assistance that understands occasions, trends, and customer preferences so as to introduce applicable products at the right time to the right customer.
  • Personalized product search and recommendations: Utilize generative AI to deliver dynamic, descriptive product content based on customer intent and preference. Execute individualized merchandising across all of your unique products and categories.
  • Scale curation of user-generated content (UGC): According to recent statistics, nearly 3 in 4 shoppers trust UGC more than brand-provided content throughout their shopping journey, and 55% claim they are unlikely to buy a product without UGC to inform their decision. AI can help automate and scale the curation of this content, improving the experience for shoppers.
  • Intelligent inventory forecasting: Automate inventory management by analyzing past orders and customer preferences.

Ongoing analytics and optimization

  • Intent-based experience optimization: Optimize customer experiences based on real-time analysis of activity and preferences.
  • Product quality analysis: Identify production errors and defects through AI analysis of images, improving product quality.
  • Supply chain disruption predictions: Use predictive insights to anticipate and mitigate disruptions, enhancing overall supply chain efficiency.

As we delve into the transformative realm of generative AI, the impact on business outcomes becomes increasingly evident. Beyond the theoretical possibilities, let's explore the tangible results and advantages that businesses can derive from integrating generative AI into their channel-less shopping experiences.

Brands should expect the following business results:

4 business outcomes to expect from generative AI integration

1. Intelligent and scaled conversations

Generative AI facilitates intelligent and scaled conversations, allowing businesses to engage with consumers in a manner that transcends traditional limitations. By harnessing the power of AI-driven content creation, brands can foster meaningful interactions at scale, providing personalized touchpoints that resonate with individual preferences.

2. Improved marketing ops and content planning

Streamlining marketing operations and enhancing content planning across diverse channels become more achievable with the assistance of generative AI. The technology's capacity to generate evergreen content, optimize product descriptions, and conduct content experimentation empowers marketing teams to work more efficiently and creatively.

3. Increased transactional footprint and customer lifetime value

By leveraging generative AI, businesses can expand their transactional footprint and enhance Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV). The ability to deliver personalized product search results, recommendations, and seamless conversational commerce experiences contributes to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, driving long-term value.

4. Reduced marketing waste and improved budget allocation

Generative AI aids in minimizing marketing waste through efficient budget allocation. With automated content creation, personalized marketing strategies, and real-time analytics, businesses can optimize their marketing spend, ensuring resources are directed towards initiatives that yield the highest returns.

As the retail landscape evolves, the integration of generative AI technologies emerges as a strategic imperative. By leveraging these advancements, businesses can not only navigate the complexities of a channel-less world but also deliver exceptional, personalized experiences that resonate with the modern consumer. The future of retail lies in the hands of those who embrace the power of AI to revolutionize the shopping journey.

Discover more

Sitecore is a proud, inaugural member of the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program. Bringing the speed, power, and agility of Microsoft’s AzureAI to the Sitecore platform, we enable retailers to deliver personalized shopping experiences at scale.

Join Sitecore and Microsoft at NRF 2024 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City from January 14-16 to continue exploring how AI can create efficiencies and scale the delivery of channel-less, personalized digital experiences in retail. Book a meeting with us on site today.

Jake Hookom is Vice President, Commerce and Platform at Sitecore. Follow him on LinkedIn