Amazon Prime Day (Monday July 16) is fast becoming one of the summer’s retail event highlights for millions of consumers worldwide, promoting exclusive offers to Prime members, in addition to being used by the online retail giant as a PR and marketing tool to attract new members to the Prime platform.
Prime Day is not only a fantastic sales and promotional event for Amazon though, it is also a valuable gauge of where retail’s future is heading: towards personalised customer experiences driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and data.
Customer experience (CX) is everything to Amazon, as the retailer promotes the personalised deals that are most relevant to each of its millions of Prime members on Prime Day. That’s why Amazon also heavily promotes its exclusive services and the content that is only available to Prime members.
This focus on CX is about ensuring that the brand is at the forefront of the customers’ mind, and to make not being a Prime member feel like you are missing out – not only on free shipping, exclusive discounts and on great content – but that you are also missing out being part of a worldwide ‘event’ by failing to sign up. Indeed, Jeff Bezos himself has said that he wants people to feel that it is "irresponsible" to not be a Prime member.
Prime Day is driven by the customer data-lead insights which allow Amazon to deliver highly personalised and targeted marketing messages, special offers, or ‘limited time only’ experiences. And your customers become far more than shoppers, in the process. They become ‘members’ of the tribe.
That’s why Prime Day, with its focus fixedly on developing increasingly better personalised AI-driven customer ‘extra-periences’ serves as a great indicator of where the retail industry as a whole is headed in the future.
The future will see increased usage of technologies such as AI chatbots and other new technology developments – such as Walmart’s recently announced AI SMS-based personal shopper called ‘Jetblack’ – all of which will be focused on delivering ever-more personalised consumer experiences.
The future of retail lies in smart, personalised AI and data-driven technology. And this is just as true for in-store and bricks ‘n’ mortar retailers as it is for mobile and online e-commerce brands.
Just as with Amazon Prime Day online, physical retail will be driven by technological innovations in AI, with ecommerce and Omnichannel experiences all part and parcel of this evolution. The key learning for all retailers from Prime Day is that creating great Customer Experiences is all about offering exclusive access to brand events. And that all retail brands are going to have to do considerably more in future than just sell products to survive and thrive.
Anil Gandharve, SVP and head of Retail, CPG and Manufacturing, Mindtree