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Can AI make shopping stress-free?

Despite applying multiple filters and typing in carefully crafted keywords, you still can’t find what you’re looking for online.

Overwhelmed by choice, you scroll the page for the fourth time trying to choose one of the 15 shades of white paint. Do you want Paper White or Chalk White? Navajo White or Intense White? Maybe you want beige instead. You start to wish you never undertook this do-it-yourself (DIY) project; surely, shopping should not be this hard.

Ensuring a smooth and stress-free experience is critical in retaining and attracting new customers. After all, competition for customers has become much fiercer. Whether it’s buying materials for home renovations or medication for the family, consumers regularly face jarring experiences that makes choosing the right product difficult. Understanding this can have serious effects on bottom-line revenues, organizations across Europe are turning to technology like artificial intelligence (AI) to provide simpler shopping experiences for customers.

Organizing online offers like never before
Wanting to help you find the perfect shade of white paint, Praktiker, an international home improvement retailer is taking its customer service to the next level. Based in Hungary, the company transformed its online store to provide more personalized shopping experiences that save time and money.

Praktiker knew it had to overhaul its online presence to address the dwindling online purchase rate of 1.4%. The online search function was limited and slow, making it difficult for busy shoppers to find the products they needed. Not offering product recommendations also hindered the purchasing process for customers unsure of what to buy. But, all of that changed when Praktiker partnered with PrefixBox. Together, they created an AI-powered solution to support a digital customer experience transformation rooted in data.

With Prefixbox, the company was able to harness machine learning in coordination with analyzing customer behavior to offer the best products and service. For example, when a customer is browsing for certain styles of furniture and paint colors, the back-end intelligent solution can make specific recommendation based on these online behaviors. This means that customers can quickly find what they need from Praktiker’s 30,000 large catalog – making the buying experience smooth, reliable and fast.

The results speak for themselves. Online purchases increased to 8.7% and the value of these purchases increased by an average of 19%. Talk about a return on investment.

Taking tailor-made tickets to new heights
Projected to grow to $5 billion by 2021, the online primary ticketing market is a big opportunity for the business. But with bigger opportunity comes increasing competition, having an advantage no matter how small is essential to retain and attract new customers.

Needing to adapt to changing demands and wanting to provide customers with high quality and innovative services, Cyprus-based Dot.cy, a company that provides a cloud-based ticketing platform for museums, concert halls, stadiums and more, evolved its platform to be more customer-centric. Specifically, Dot.cy deployed an AI-powered chatbot that can identify what tickets customers are interested in and quickly filters through different offers – truly providing a unique experience. To make it even easier, Dot.cy’s chatbot can interact with customers 24/7 using their local language on their preferred social channels.

Fully integrated with the ticketing platform, the chatbot is able to interact autonomously; managing the booking and delivery of tickets as well as newsletters registrations. What’s more, through AI, the chatbot can interpret different languages, identify intents and customer emotions. This means that it can recommend the most suitable newsletter or event based on customer feedback.

Man searching shelves at a shop

Reducing in-store disappointment and waste
Have you ever traveled to a store for a specific item only to realize it’s not on the shelf? Perhaps you’re hosting some friends for a BBQ over a long weekend, but everyone else has the same idea so your local supermarket has run-out of meat. Taking an unsuccessful trip to a store is not only frustrating for customers, but clearly results in a loss of business. Conversely, over-ordering on perishable goods can result in massive waste, which is both harmful for the environment and bottom-line results.

A way to guarantee goods are on shelves, while ensuring nothing is thrown away, was a task Slovakian company, AltTag, wanted to tackle. Specializing in data-driven marketing that utilizes AI and Machine Learning, the company can create predictive shopping models for its clients. The bespoke models predict buying behaviors based on real-time sales, fuel prices, consumer price index, financial indicators, pay deadlines, holidays and even the weather. For example, by collating and evaluating this kind of data, a supermarket in the city of Košice was able to predict how many units of tartar sauce was required during a particular week with 93% accuracy.

Optimizing sales can also result in cost savings for retailers as buying goods and moving stock become more accurate. At the same time, resources can be managed and used much more efficiently. What does that mean for customers? No more going to the store to look for something that is out of stock because demand was higher than expected. In short, your BBQ can go ahead with no interruptions.

The concept of AI may seem expensive or complicated. On the contrary, it can reduce costs and gain time, making life easier for people and businesses. For the everyday shopping experience, AI can significantly reduce customer pain points. From giving accurate product recommendations to finding the best offer and ensuring the right goods are available at the right time.

Back in the paint store, after looking at the various shades, you finally decide Ivory White was the color you were looking for. As you walk home, with paint and BBQ supplies in hand, you realize how important stress-free shopping experience are for consumers – so they don’t have to worry and can focus on things that matter most.