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‘AI will radically affect how customers engage with retail’

By Retail4Growth Bureau | January 29, 2024

We can anticipate a discovery of the new “normal,” this year, specifically around technology, trends, customer acquisition & loyalty, and economic inflation, says Ken Nisch, Chairman – JGA, in this exclusive column for Retail4Growth.

The past four years have seen many global changes, both in the social and economic context, and these were reflected in the retail setting too. With all the highs, lows, ups, and downs–and sometimes even side-to-sides, we can anticipate a discovery of the new “normal,” this year, specifically around technology, trends, customer acquisition & loyalty, and economic inflation. 

Ken Nisch,  JGA, Retail Trends

India tends to “leapfrog” through trends – skipping ahead quickly – especially when it involves technology advancements. And with generative AI being at the forefront of recent technology discussions, for both good and bad, we will see AI radically affecting how customers engage with retail. 

Used for content- & media-creation, product designs, as well as data analytics, AI will likely have positive and negative implications within the Indian market. With the ability to quickly generate content, there is a concern these AI generated materials could flood consumers, making them overwhelmed and therefore ending their buying journey early. 

Many Indian consumers having a deep appreciation for the craft and tradition – especially versus other “lock-step” societies  – meaning the introduction of mass-generated content & products, with little to no human-driven creative input, could begin to form a parallel set of consumer experiences. One set fully focused on authenticity, individualization, and discovery, while the other becomes highly automated, leaning on AI generated choices. 

Because of potential “over automations,” we will also begin seeing more emphasis on bettering the fundamentals of the customer experience, as well as a focus on differentiating brands to draw new and loyal customers. It seems that, among the quickly evolving technology trends, we’ve lost sight of what’s important – making the shoppers’ journey the best it can be. This means better and more accessible customer service & product information, reducing the friction of the purchasing process – both in store and online – and better integrating tech to the benefit of the shopper. 

The need for bettering the customer experience stems from the rapid sophistication of the shopper, who are much more in tune with what a brand is and, more importantly, is not doing. Differentiating your brand through back-end structuring as well as all customer-facing touchpoints is increasingly becoming “table stakes” for consumers. 

Indian brands continue to challenge international brands for the hearts and minds of shoppers. It will be the brands that leverage their advantage of customer intimacy and respect for culture & craft with the ability to adapt and synergize current world-class capabilities that will find themselves pulling ahead. 

Brands that address global economic challenges consumers are facing can also win this year. Economic and inflation factors have pushed consumers to be smarter and more thoughtful about the purchases they make. Finding ways to provide customers with products and services that are a good value while still competing in quality and many of other the factors previously mentioned, will be a winning formula this year.

Winning customers, not merely serving them, will yield success in 2024 and beyond. 

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