Personalized presentation has garnered a lot of discussion as it pertains to social media and ad targeting. AI can leverage the abundance of legitimate and authorized personal information gathered by companies whose intent is to serve their customers appropriately to deliver better and more personalized service. Customers already expect to be recognized when they shop. Enterprises are using AI to increase their credibility and deliver on expectations through ethical and transparent use of data.

The harvesting of personal data has gained a poor reputation based on both the rise in number and severity of data theft and outright sharing of personal information by social media properties. Whether individuals are concerned about the risk to their credit and finances or their possible exposure to false information in the pursuit of nefarious motives, people are wary about how much information about them is stored. Nonetheless, “81% of consumers want brands to get to know them and understand when to approach them (and when not to),” according to Accenture.

The key to successfully navigating between customer desires and their fears is applying the right AI practices to achieve a balance between delivering what customers want and protecting their personal information.

Early examples keep things simple

Loyalty programs typically implemented by grocery retailers match customers’ historical purchases with their checkout activity and print coupons based on their known buying habits and current promotions. To be sure, big data is part of the equation in executing this but customers are generally less concerned with security implication in this case because their shopping history is linked to a disposable identity card rather than to their credit card and personal identity. They can easily replace their loyalty card with a new one and omit their actual identity to get the extra savings it affords.

Companies that are able to present customers with personalized experiences similar to the grocery example but with better and more valuable insights can win customers and keep them loyal at a time when 57 percent spend more with brands to which they consider themselves to be loyal.

Make it personal—as in, like an actual person

Unique interaction is key—and made possible by leveraging AI’s ability to integrate multiple domains and present them as a human would. The goal of AI is to present itself so that people can’t tell whether they are interacting with a computer or a real person.

But the current state of AI technology can do better than that in some cases, and with the help of big data, can easily assimilate more information than a human can. That’s especially true when applied to limited areas like product knowledge, which makes it great for companies that want to serve their customers better by providing better buying recommendations or more personalized customer service. Here are five ways to deploy AI to deliver personalized experiences based on what you know about your customer.

  1. One-on-one conversation, on-demand and at scale, is the digital equivalent to what once was the in-store shopping experience. Instead of visiting department and specialty stores staffed with people to shepherd customers through their buying process, AI-powered bots now provide a new version of personal connection.
  2. Dynamic website presentation that remembers the customer’s preferences and their shopping history may seem to border on retaining too much personal data. But AI can turn that history into useful suggestions and give customers more information based on the footprint they left behind.
  3. Adjusted content tailoring means adjusting what’s presented based on user preferences. AI can be employed to monitor what kind of content—whether text, video, or products—resonates with every individual. Article lengths can be adjusted to match preferred reading times, videos can be modified in length and content, and products selected to better match by size, color, and brand.
  4. Real-time optimized pricing lets retailers maximize their sales while also offering return customers better pricing based on quantity, repeat orders, and other factors that AI can bring into the equation. This is the digital version of the small local store where the owner knows their customers on sight by name and offers them special consideration on products they know the customer wants.
  5. Synchronized presentation across devices has become an expectation and shoppers expect what they see on their mobile devices to be the same on laptops and desktop computers, and even on their voice-enabled assistants. AI is being employed to understand which device is being used and create presentations that fit the mode the customer is using based on their preferences.

AI is breaking new ground and enterprises need to assess how they are using it to their best advantage with regard to the data they capture. Bringing personalization to customer interactions is the new competitive advantage.

Scott Koegler has more than 20 years experience as a technology journalist and has written for publications including Network Computing, Forbes, Internet Evolution, and many others. He also practiced IT as a CIO for 15 years.

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