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07/16/2020

3 Ways AI Can Accelerate Post-COVID-19 E-commerce Recovery

The global COVID-19 crisis has put the evolving relationship between retailers and their audiences under the microscope in a way few could’ve imagined just a few short months ago.

Retailers with “digital-first” marketing strategies have found themselves launched to the forefront of the retail industry’s ongoing battle for supremacy. Those that have focused their energy on “traditional” marketing strategies, meanwhile, have struggled, to say the least.

And, as the world’s consumers emerge from their collective COVID-19 cocoons, this emerging trend can be expected not only to continue, but to accelerate in the months to come. In the wake of this new marketing reality, the marketer of the future is stepping forth, ready to embrace the new tools and strategies that will be “table stakes” for retailers in the months and years to come.

The big question is: What can retailers do now to solidify the gains made during this strange and terrifying period, or, conversely, regain some of the ground they’ve lost over the past few months?

The answers to these crucial questions, as it turns out, may lie with the emerging and groundbreaking technology we’ve all been hearing about for years: artificial intelligence.

These technologies combined are helping global brands accelerate their digital ramp-up in preparation for life after lockdown. They deliver optimized marketing language at the right time on the right channel, engaging an audience in a way that’s not been possible before.

1. Churn Reduction

Audience churn is the bane of the modern retail brand. Identifying customers/subscribers who are likely to opt out of the brand-customer dialogue and moving proactively to prevent this from happening is simply good math for modern retail brands. In a post-pandemic world, where every brand in the world will be scrambling to pick up new customers, reducing churn offers a powerful competitive edge.

2. Email Optimization

Amazon’s recent announcement that it was cutting affiliate marketing commission rates should be recognized for what it is: a harbinger of upheaval in the digital marketing space.

Just a few short years after Facebook pulled the rug out from under the brands which had built audiences on its platform, the signs continue to pile up: Third-party intermediaries between you and your audience are bad for business.

As this message has become increasingly clear, email has emerged as the key marketing channels for brands that want to control their own relationships with their customers. Retailers would do well to recognize the inherent value of this underappreciated marketing channel in a post-COVID-19 world.

3. AI-Powered Copywriting

Getting your message to your audience at the right time and in the right place has long been an AI-optimized marketing priority for many brands. The important questions are: What will that message be, and how can you maximize the possibility that your audience will engage with that message once it gets there?

In sensitive times such as these, ensuring that your brand’s marketing copy is on-brand, sensitive to the circumstances at hand, and tailored to the unique tastes and preferences of your audience has become a digital marketing imperative.

Your company’s voice has always been important, and it always will be. In emotionally charged times like these, that immutable marketing law has become more relevant than ever to marketing success. The time for overthinking and second guessing your brand’s message is at an end. A data-based, analytical approach is the only clear path to effective brand messaging in a post-COVID world.

AI’s inherent ability to test and optimize marketing copy at scale (and in real time) make it a perfectly suited tool for this complex task. That’s why AI-powered copywriting should be a marketing priority for every retail brand as the COVID-19 recovery begins in earnest.

Whichever path you choose for your brand in the crucial months to come, one thing is certain: The game has changed. The sooner every marketer comes to terms with this fact, the better off we and our audiences will be.

Parry Malm is the CEO of  Phrasee, which empowers brands with AI-powered copywriting technology. He has spent 20 years working with brands to optimize marketing results, combining his expertise in digital marketing with a track record in computer science, statistics, and commercializing artificial intelligence. Named Tech Entrepreneur of the year by the U.K. Business Awards in 2016, he has contributed evidence at the Houses of Parliament in London about how the U.K. can become a global artificial intelligence leader.