As a sales or marketing director, you’re developing strategy, tactics, sales plans and profit targets for your team. Obviously to get as many leads to reach the team objectives. In order to do this, you need to find the right customers, the people who will get the most benefit out of using your solution. It can take marketing teams days or even weeks to find those people in order to pass them over to sales. The challenge is to find more best-fit customers in less time.
AI technology enhances and automates a lot of the sales process. Therefore, salespeople are able to focus on helping the right people and closing deals. A growing number of companies are recognizing this. According to a Salesforce State of Sales report, sales leaders expect their AI adoption to grow faster than any other technology. Why? Because digital customer engagement is booming and when customers shop online, they want nothing but the best experience and service.
1. The ins & outs of Digital Customer Engagement
Digital customer interaction refers to how your business interacts with customers and how you respond to those interactions. In a nutshell, it’s all the digital touchpoints a customer has with your company, such as email, social media, and your website. These interactions make (or break) your customer relationship. We’ve looked into big retail companies like H&M, Zalando and Zara – and they’re all using Artificial Intelligence to gain sales and become more sustainable. Let’s take a closer look at how they do it.
1.1 AI Technology and H&M
By 2040, H&M Group plans to achieve a climate positive value chain. Linda Leopold, H&M’s head of AI, said the clothing retailer uses AI to predict demand for supply chain optimization. Several hundred data scientists work at H&M to analyze buying patterns and trends. H&M uses big data to identify customer needs locally. To analyze customer demands, the team has built algorithms to analyze store receipts, returns in the store, and loyalty-card data. Further information about fashion trends is also gathered from blogs and search engines.
Localized approaches are used by the company. Using AI algorithms, for example, the teams at H&M in Stockholm learned about the preferences of female customers. Customers preferred fashion-focused clothing, like floral skirts, as well as high-priced items, according to the study. A coffee shop was also added based on the insights from the study. The sales at this store have significantly improved as a result, according to H&M.
1.2 Zara uses AI software
Like its competitor, fashion brand Zara has turned to artificial intelligence to increase their sales. It is used for a number of purposes, including using AI software to retrieve orders for customers when they choose to Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS) or Click and Collect. Zara relies on outsourcing very little in comparison to H&M, which relies heavily on it to speed up production. One of the advantages of this tactic is that ‘‘Zara controls everything from design to display to shipping, allowing it to gather valuable data at every stage. This data can then be analyzed to identify inefficiencies, pinpoint areas of success, and create accurate forecasting.’’
1.3 How to create a Digital Customer Engagement strategy
Following up on why Digital Customer Engagement is so important nowadays, it naturally comes with a Digital Customer Engagement strategy. To get there, establishing your business goals is the first step. It must be a data-driven, actionable goal within a certain time period, like any other plan. Once you have determined your goal(s) it’s time to think about what you have to do to reach that goal. Therefore, it’s a must to study all the digital channels that could help you reach your preferred outcome in the best possible way.
2. Artificial Intelligence chatbot
With AI machine learning, you’re able to understand and segment according to the stage of the customer journey. At Whisbi, we’ve been able to separate web visitors i.e. in 3 different stages:
- Early stage: Educate and entice with Whisbi Engage, and guide them down the funnel
- Mid-stage: Offer Whisbi Sell for assistance
- Late stage: Low propensity to buy online or high propensity to buy assisted: Whisbi Sell
In the mid-stage, there are 60% of potential customers wanting to interact with a human. They are likely to buy but they need help about the product or service, or they need to talk to someone to gain trust. It’s all about prioritizing leads and feeding those who need help with the right information. By implementing visitor intelligence, it’s possible to increase your sales drastically and give prospects an excellent customer service experience, which makes them more likely to buy again.
AI doesn’t just refer to automation, although it may include a degree of intelligent automation. The tools of AI go beyond this. Machine learning is a type of AI that enables the most powerful capabilities in sales. Based on these insights, predictions, recommendations, and decisions can then be made. This results in enhanced technology – which is powered by machine learning – and it gets more advanced over time when more data is gathered.
In sales, the following are the primary activities and use cases for AI:
- Lead generation: what is the one thing sales people really can’t do without? Leads, leads and more leads. With AI machine learning algorithms it’s possible to identify the best-fit leads based on a predefined set of criteria.
- Forecast sales: by analyzing all customer interactions and previous sales results, AI provides automatic and accurate sales forecasts. This way, it’s possible to give your sales people more time to sell while you’re increasing the forecast accuracy.
- Prioritizing leads: based on industry-specific and third-party data, AI helps score customers’ conversion likelihood, helping your sales reps to prioritize effectively and this naturally helps sales to sell more.
- Content personalization: By targeting sales content based on their needs and preferences, sales reps can better serve priority customers. Businesses convert visitors to customers and increase lead engagement rates through personalized content, flows, triggers and retargeting.
- How AI helps: Using artificial intelligence, your sales reps’ actions and leads will be analyzed to suggest the next best action. It is not worth wasting time on emailing to arrange a demo when you could be closing another deal.
3. Whisbi introduces AI
At Whisbi, we’re also offering this option to all of our Whisbi Sell and Engage customers with our Boost solution. We use visitor intelligence to capture every lead and behavioral targeting to close the sale. With Whisbi Boost, we can predict the likelihood of purchase for any given website visitor with our AI engine. It helps you find unexpected revenue potential, which means:
- Capture all appropriate traffic – incremental volume: target pools of web visitors with a high probability of purchase that are currently not being exposed to the Whisbi experience.
- Improve the quality of leads: do not expose the Whisbi experience to users who are not likely to convert. This improves your conversion rates as it only delivers ready-to-buy sales leads to your agents.
- Decrease drop-off and friction points in the customer journey: offer the Whisbi experience to users who are at key friction points on the website.
- Avoid cannibalization of other online sales channels: do not disturb visitors who are highly likely to convert on their own through your e-commerce platform or other self-service channels.
- Improve your online sales conversion rates: providing lead qualification information to your sales agents in real-time; directly related to their propensity to purchase.
3.1 The importance of AI
With AI, enterprises can obtain insights into their operations that they might not have been aware of before. AI can even perform tasks better than humans in some cases. Because this technology is highly efficient, it opens many new opportunities for larger enterprises. They use AI to improve their operations and gain an advantage over their competitors. The benefits are that AI reduces the time for data-heavy tasks, it delivers consistent results and AI-powered virtual agents are always available.
3.2 Best AI practises
Let’s take a look at some examples of companies that integrated AI and how they’ve managed to make it a great success.
We’ve partnered with Multiplica, which is a digital native consulting company. They have recently done a campaign with Levi’s. The brand did the first live shopping ever worldwide, where Multiplica worked with the headquarters in San Francisco to showcase a new collection – Levi’s 70’s High. They were not after sales – they were after impact, reach, doing something new and different. Levi’s got almost 13 million impacts with Live shopping. This is a typical example of customers that were in the Early stage (like discussed before) where brands can educate customers about (new) products.
Samsung increased sales by 25% with their Virtual Store: they invested in a virtual store, built inside their contact center in order to bring the in-store experience online.
By providing a human service online through the live video chat, combined with an intuitive chatbot engagement, the Telco brand was able to reduce the complexity of omnichannel marketing and enable exceptional experiences for customers across the entire buyer journey. As a result, their online sales share has increased to 20%, and the Whisbi solution represents 50% of these sales. The whole customer experience is unified on the brands’ website, which means it is much more brand-focused and also easier for the brand to reach its entire web audience. Samsung is also able to drive traffic to their live video sessions from any digital advertising campaign. This feature has increased their ads conversion rate by 3%, rather than only shifting the channel mix.
The process is also more seamless for their customers as participation in this session does not require any login, plugin, or download. They achieved great results:
- 25% online conversion rate increase
- 19% online engagement rate increase
- 30% online customers managed
- 20% online sales share increase
Hyundai Bahrain shortened their lead response time to 24 hours and they are converting 57% of leads into real car sales with Whisbi. They’ve managed to generate more leads through the website to overcome the shortage in showroom traffic.
Sales agents called customers using their own mobile line, directly from the Whisbi app. It enables online customers to have real-time conversations with sales agents every time they visit their website. The app focuses on mobility and stability so that agents can drive sales conversations while working from anywhere, like Hyundai’s car dealership. Presenters were able to attend more live calls and requests. They’ve also improved the customer experience by dedicating one sales agent to the Whisbi platform – while offering the full Whisbi experience. Last but not least, the car brand wanted to attract customers from all over the kingdom of Bahrain, so they could increase the footprint of Hyundai within the country. They’ve definitely transformed their website into a lead generation tool for their dealership!
We analyzed Hyundai results and it is evident that the brand has achieved great results:
- 24 hours to respond to customer’s inquiries using Whisbi’s solution (instead of 1 week with previous channels)
- 60% test drive conversion rates from showroom visits coming in through Whisbi (before this rate was only 28%)
- 57% closing ratio (deals won) coming from Whisbi (normal rate was between 18% to 20%)
- 80% of attended call rate after using Whisbi Sell Lite (previously it was only 30%)