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Informed Teams, Happy Customers: AI’s Impact on Retail Marketing

Posted on March 11, 2024

Why talk about AI in Retail Marketing? Whenever you read an article on how to educate or empower employees, you can probably read the word HR almost every time. Have you ever considered turning your teams into the real MVPs of your store? Sure, HR might champion their cause, but what if I told you that your marketing strategies could also be crucial in making your customer-facing team shine? Let’s discuss why and how you should focus on empowering your frontline soldiers for a retail revolution.

In the dynamic world of retail, where AI is the buzzword, staying ahead is not just a choice but a necessity. According to a recent Global Market Insights study, the retail AI solutions market is set to grow by over 30% annually from 2023 to 2032, hitting a whopping $6 billion in 2022. The question isn’t whether AI should be part of your strategy; it’s how to implement it successfully.

The growing popularity of AI-based solutions and retailers’ critical need to keep up with the times and streamline processes to stay competitive has led to questions about the main benefits of AI technology in the retail sector and how marketing can successfully implement it.

This article will focus on retail marketing managers and explore why providing your frontline employees with real-time information about your brand and products or services is important. And with real-time information, I mean a virtual assistant able to provide them with brand-related content when needed.

AI and Retail Marketing: brand knowledge and customer experience

Why, as a marketing manager, should you take care of their frontline employees’ training?

Before talking about the role of AI and how you should use it to improve customer experience and increase sales, let’s take a step back and picture this:

Your product team designs an outstanding product or service. It’s time for the marketing and sales teams to work their magic. The frontline crew steps up, pitching your product to leads, building trust, and turning prospects into loyal customers. Frontline employees aren’t just workers but your storytellers, brand ambassadors, and the face of your brand.

Frontline employees, be it in customer service, sales, or operations, are the backbone of your business.

They are the first point of contact, dealing with challenges and embodying your brand. Their performance directly influences your reputation, making them your go-to team for building a solid foundation for the future.

I believe you now have all the assets you need to answer the initial question, don’t you?

Empowering Frontline Teams with AI: The Winning Move

Customer-facing teams must possess a critical set of soft skills.

They represent the brand’s value and are often the only medium customers have with the corporation. Hence, they are required to handle any situation from the customer’s side. Soft skills include composure, common sense, balanced nature, adaptability, empathy, foreknowledge, wit, and emotional intelligence.

It’s hard to identify the hired front-liners with all the mentioned skills. Today’s agile workplace needs creativity, fast decision-making, and employee innovation. You can hone and nurture human interaction skills in frontline workers with the best learning and development technology and training. And this is where the HR team can do its magic.

Why am I talking to you, marketing manager? The reason is simple: all those skills are crucial; they should be there, but if your frontline teams don’t have good brand and product knowledge, well. You might have a problem.

AI-powered retail platforms can provide valuable insights, but retailers still require the human ability to prioritise and solve uncertain or unforeseen problems. Sometimes, if you don’t know where to look, it’s not that easy, especially with customers now used to having everything right away.

Artificial Intelligence has proven to be a valuable and strategic tool for helping retailers and marketing managers build more profitable operations. Retailers can use AI technologies to optimise processes, improve operational efficiency, improve employees’ preparation and knowledge base, and enhance customer experience.

Now, it’s time to tell you more about the AI tool you should adopt. And why.

AI employees retail marketing

3 Biggest Reason for AI in Retail Marketing

Any retail business is designed to make a profit. To achieve business goals, owners and managers always strive to increase sales margins and bolster customer loyalty while reducing operating costs. Here are some examples of how AI contributes to retail marketing, cost-effective retailing and enhancing the customer experience.

If you want more information on this topic, read “How Artificial Intelligence is Changing HR in Retail and Hospitality“.

Attracting and retaining customers

Now that I have your attention, I’ll explain myself better. Your marketing strategy will help you attract your customers and give them a reason to enter your stores. Your customer-facing teams are the reason your customers will return. Simple, no?

In a competitive retail environment where exciting shopping experiences abound, your teams should engage customers with relevant interactions that are truly unique and inspiring every step of the way. With AI, there is no space for embarrassing silences or unmanaged promotion expectations.

Picture this: you provide your team with an AI-powered chatbot they can use to ask questions about procedures, interactions, or products and get real-time answers based on the information you, the marketing manager, uploaded to the system.

No more “Please, wait here, and I’ll go ask my managers” or “I’m sorry, I don’t know about this promotion, but…

Quick and informed decision-making

I told you, and you should also know: customers are now used to having everything immediately. If it’s not you, there will be someone else—maybe your competitors. People have options, and they’re not afraid of them.

Once they enter your store, your customer-facing team should know exactly what to do, how to welcome customers, and how to maximise their opportunity to sell.

Proving them with an AI tool they can use to access all the information they might need or reply to all the questions customers can ask is a good way to lead to quick and informed decision-making and an outstanding customer experience.

Don’t you think so? Accessing a personal AI assistant helps customer-facing teams gain valuable brand-related insights and shape consumer-centric approaches.

Harmonizing offline and online retailing

I have already mentioned this situation in some way. Online communications should follow the same paths as the offline experience and vice versa. Sometimes, the gap stays within the communication between management, you, and your customer-facing teams in shops.

Adopting an employee’s platform might be the best solution for a marketing manager who wants to ensure that the frontline team is always up-to-date with branded news, initiatives, and collections.

As I said, no more “I’m sorry, let me ask my manager about this”.

Let’s picture another situation: have you ever changed your mind about a brand you loved because of a very negative experience in a store with its employees? I bet the answer is yes, isn’t it?

Digital and physical shopping channels often work with different incentives and approaches, which creates challenges for shoppers seeking a seamless shopping experience. By treating these channels as a single whole using AI, retailers can eliminate operational inefficiencies and provide a frictionless shopping experience.

Your frontline teams will always be updated on the news, collections, and marketing initiatives you communicate throughout the digital touchpoints. And if they don’t know something, they will have access to an AI tool they can ask for. This will boost your customer experience.

The Heart of Customer Engagement: Your Frontline Employees

Satisfied Frontline Employees Create Satisfied Customers. The burning question is: How can you empower frontline employees to deliver great customer experiences in retail marketing?

Your store staff is the human touchpoint of your brands.

They should know, live, and share your brand values and culture. But to do this, they should also be aware of them. Don’t you think so? If your teams live your brand as you do, with the same passion for products, collections, and initiatives, you can be sure your customers will experience the same.

Empowering frontline employees

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter: empowering frontline employees for outstanding customer experiences. Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Define Your Customer Experience Vision: Communicate a clear vision aligned with brand values and empower frontline employees to contribute. Explain how their role contributes to it. You should also provide them with guidelines and standards, allowing them flexibility and autonomy to adapt to different situations and customer needs.
  2. Train and Coach: To empower your frontline employees, you must equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to deliver great customer experiences. This means providing regular and relevant training and coaching on product features, customer service techniques, sales strategies, and problem-solving skills.
  3. Enable with Technology: Technology can be a powerful tool to empower your frontline employees and enhance customer experiences. Use AI to provide your teams with brand-related information, customer insights, and tips on enhancing customer interactions.
  4. Empower Decision-Making: Trust your frontline to make decisions, offer solutions, and exceed customer expectations. Provide them with information and courses on how to deal with unhappy customers.
  5. Engage and Motivate: Empowering your frontline employees means engaging and motivating them to deliver great customer experiences. Foster a customer-centric culture, involve them in goals, reward achievements, and support growth opportunities.
  6. Listen to Your Frontline: Value their insights, involve them in decision-making, and create a feedback loop for continuous improvement. Your frontline employees interact with your customers daily, and they have valuable information and feedback that can help you improve your customer experience strategy and tactics.
AI Chatbot Employees Retail

AI Chatbots: Retail Marketing’s Secret Weapon

If you have ever wondered how to transform your frontline expertise, increase efficiency and elevate your customer experience, we got you covered. We developed Mobie, the AI-powered chatbot designed specifically to help you to:

  • provide your frontline team with up-to-the-minute branded information to enhance their expertise;
  • enable instant access to problem-solving resources precisely when your team need them;
  • foster operational effectiveness by facilitating well-informed decision-making;
  • enhance the customer experience through a team thoroughly equipped and prepared.

Mobie is the AI assistant with whom your employees can chat.

From within the app, the employee can ask a question, and Mobie will respond based on your knowledge base. It will allow them to ask questions about your marketing documents without scanning endless documents or taking time from other colleagues with more expertise on the subject.

“Mobie isn’t just a chatbot; it’s the catalyst for a new era in employee empowerment. Our mission is to elevate the expertise of every employee, from the front lines to management, by providing an intuitive AI assistant that delivers real-time solutions. By using Mobie, your customer-facing teams will be able to find information fast and effortless in the flow of work. This innovation marks a pivotal moment in how organizations empowers their customer-facing teams”.

Johan Dek, CPO of MobieTrain

Empowering your frontline employees isn’t just a feel-good strategy; it’s a game-changer. Trusting them with decision-making transforms customer experiences, fosters loyalty, and creates a dynamic, responsive customer service environment. AI isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the key to unlocking the true potential of your retail marketing game.

So, Retail Marketing Managers, are you ready to turn your frontline into the ultimate brand crusaders? Dive into the future with AI and watch your teams and sales soar: click here to see Mobie in action.