Reindeers, Elves, And Machine Learning

Nicholas Nicoloudis

There’s a lot we can learn from Santa. His magical sleigh journey aside, what’s truly impressive is how Santa always knows exactly what gifts will satisfy each one of his millions of young customers.

He sorts through millions of handwritten letters, as well as all the messages sent through social media, messaging apps, and chats to map and analyze each child’s request.

Santa detects and monitors the behavior patterns of children throughout the year, so children who have been good get rewarded with the gift of their choice on Christmas Day. He has mastered the art of predicting the desired outcomes of every child that chooses to interact with him.

As I said, retailers can learn a lot from Santa. Brand values of efficiency, personalization, and customer satisfaction ensure an exceptionally loyal customer base. He is skilled at personalizing customer conversations to individual customers’ preferences. And he is an expert at using behavioral data to take customer service to a new level of engagement.

Modern consumers expect businesses to be digitally adept and able to meet needs in ways that earn their loyalty. Businesses need to integrate online strategies, call centers, and bricks-and-mortar stores to meet expectations. Retailers are adapting to change and working to maintain and build market share in the face of increased competition from the likes of Amazon.

Consumers are increasingly familiar with artificial intelligence through increasingly sophisticated software home products. What’s not so obvious is how retailers are embracing change. There is an awareness of the need to apply digital technologies throughout all areas of the business, from marketing to delivery.

The 2018 Deloitte annual survey of senior Australian retail executives reflects that reality:

Almost 79% of respondents forecast growth of 10% or more in online Christmas sales.

Customer and omnichannel strategies were identified as key priorities for two-thirds of the executives. The goal is to deliver a seamless shopping experience that integrates online, phone, and in-store contact. Retailers have a mountain of data, but are still learning how to use it to best effect.

That’s where technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning can help. Analyzing and applying data patterns can help retailers to reach customers at the right time, with personalized messages. Machine learning can provide insights into customer behavior over time, identifying opportunities that build brand loyalty.

Sophisticated artificial intelligence optimizes every marketing point to drive more efficient and relevant experiences and identify opportunities. It all adds up to a smarter sales and marketing approach to help businesses meet customer needs.

Great advances have been made in recent years, and developers are preparing to release improvements to enhance effectiveness and satisfaction. One thing is clear: artificial intelligence is powering a new approach to customer relationships in every channel.

Sales and marketing campaigns are changing rapidly, so say goodbye to old approaches that do little to personalize your customer experience.

Get ready to demonstrate how, just like Santa, you are using appropriate listening to predict exactly what each customer really wants for Christmas.

Thanks to our great marketing team Jamie Fitzsimons, Gareth Lloyd, and Jean-Baptiste Aubrun for this fun piece!

For an in-depth look into the intelligent possibilities for your business, review the August 2018 Forrester Consulting study, Powering The Intelligent Enterprise With AI, Machine Learning, And Predictive Analytics, commissioned by SAP.

Nicholas Nicoloudis

About Nicholas Nicoloudis

Dr. Nicholas Nicoloudis is a senior innovation strategist and a passionate technologist who has been architecting and developing market-leading software applications for nearly 20 years. During his career, he has been a founder of several start-ups, worked with numerous multinational organizations, and held roles in development, research, and management. Nicholas’s focus at SAP is to assist customers in innovating, using the latest in technologies through adopting a design-led process.