Oct 11, 2023

Can you clone your store's best shopping assistant using AI?

AI product experts – in the form of digital humans – are making huge strides in sales enablement, conversion optimization and customer experience online.

Can you clone your store's best shopping assistant using AI?

Working with customers just comes naturally to some people. You know the kind of employees we're talking about. They're the ones who are always friendly, courteous, and cool under pressure. 

Not only that, but they know everything about your products and services, meaning they can give great advice based on hyper-particular customer needs.

Apple famously calls them their Apple Geniuses. Meaning if you need to know which tablet would suit your lifestyle of work, travel and also letting the kids have some monitored screen time, they’re the best people to make a recommendation.

Let's face it, we'd all like to clone these members of staff. Especially online, where it's difficult to replicate the meaningful one-on-one interactions that can happen in-store. 

However, with the latest bleeding-edge technologies, 'cloning' the MVPs of your brand might not be as far-fetched as you might think. In fact, AI-driven digital humans are already helping brands recreate online what their very best staff do in-store.

Hold on, what do we mean by cloning?

OK, you might have come to this article thinking we mean actual genetic cloning. Not the case. We mean scaling the knowledge of your best employees. But more than that, we mean scaling how great employees make customers feel – the attention and the care they can give to people.

We do that through AI-powered digital humans, who are trained on the minutiae of a brand’s products, and who have the personality to provide a memorable one-on-one conversation online.

And while we’re setting our stall out, we also don’t mean replacing your best employees; they remain the gold standard in customer care. In a digital human, you’re replicating how your customer feels in-store and making that available through an app, website or AR/VR experience. If a few chatbots lose their jobs in the process, so be it.

The benefits of digital humans in eCommerce

We've touched on some of the traits that make your best employees great at their jobs. Being polite, friendly, patient and knowledgeable, for example.

Employees are also tasked with "product matching", as opposed to the "product searching" a person would do alone online.

And it's easy to see why you'd want to reproduce those winning qualities online, so let's delve a bit deeper into the advantages of speaking to a digital human in retail scenarios.   

1. Build customer confidence

Your best staff naturally make customers feel confident about their purchases. They can answer very particular questions, as well as help people compare different products and navigate the store to find what they want.

That could be recommending products, affirming that the customer’s choice will match their needs, and also guiding them away from a purchase that wouldn’t work for their situation. 

It might also involve letting the customer know when they’ll need an additional product – an SD card with that DSLR camera, a ventilation hood with that new oven, face oil to compliment that night creme.

All this gives consumers confidence that they’re solving the problem they have. And confident customers convert

Digital humans do exactly the same for online customers by having lifelike conversations with them to identify their needs and assist them through the path to purchase. That’s why digital humans have fantastic conversion rates. 

But more about that shortly.

2. Scalable product geniuses

A digital human can be trained, in a matter of minutes, to know everything there is to know about your brand, its values, and the products and services you sell. That's something that can take months – often years – for real-life staff to learn.

What's more, digital humans are scalable. They can be everywhere at once, whether that's online, on mobile or installed into in-store physical kiosks. Even your best employees, with all their knowledge and training, don't have that sort of coverage. 

To dive deep into how this works – and how easy we've made the process – check out the workshop below where our VP of Platform made a digital human experience for Epson in a matter of minutes.

3. Real-time availability, 24/7 

Some 44% of Americans consider waiting on hold for customer service as one of their greatest annoyances. It's such an infuriating experience that three in 10 people would rather watch paint dry!

And it puts your support staff at an immediate disadvantage, as customers are already frustrated when they finally get through to someone. 

One of the biggest benefits of digital humans is that they are available in real-time, 24 hours a day and can talk with everyone who visits your website at once. No queues, no hold music, no waiting around.

4. Multilingual capabilities 

Our digital humans can speak over 70 languages, which makes them more proficient than even the most talented linguists in your business. 

This means your customers can speak to a digital human in their native language, minimizing any chance of confusion or misinterpretation. 

It's also great for conversions. CSA Research found that more than three-quarters of customers prefer to purchase products and services with information in their mother tongue, while 40% will never buy from sites predominantly using other languages.

5. Continuity and consistency 

Everybody has bad days. Even your star performers are human – they'll sometimes be late or grumpy, get sick, or spread their wings for other opportunities elsewhere. 

This isn't the case for digital humans. They're a brand asset that will work for your company as long as you need them to (or as long as you pay your bill 😉) and they'll always be consistent and on-brand, while still offering unique conversational abilities due to innovative large language models (LLM).

They’re able to work with LLMs and stay on brand thanks to Synapse – our platform feature for including all your company data, blended with an LLM brain, and presented with real personality.

Think ChatGPT for sales enablement or customer service.

What's the ROI? 

Let's get down to the brass tacks. Do digital humans provide a return on investment? The answer is a resounding 'yes'. 

Remember when we said 'confident customers convert'? Well, our research and case studies show that digital humans that we've developed for clients have doubled their online conversion rates. 

For existing customers, the impact is even greater. We've seen upselling numbers jump a whopping 400% among some of our clients.

Customers are also more likely to follow through on their purchasing decisions – cart abandonment rates drop an average of 10% on websites where a digital human is at hand to assist. Why? Again, it comes down to confidence. 

Our research shows that 62% of consumers feel intimidated when big-ticket items online. Of these, a third have abandoned their cart because they didn't feel confident going through with their purchase. But, by having digital humans guide customers along the way, brands can create online shopping experiences that are positive, informative and meaningful, making it all the more likely that they'll keep coming back.

And you know what else? It’s fun. What’s the ROI on letting your customers have fun while they’re shopping?

The future is here 

AI digital humans may seem like science fiction, but they're already helping companies deliver unique customer experiences that drive the bottom line. 

A recent Salesforce report predicted that AI-driven product recommendations will impact $194 billion in global online sales over November and December this year. 

That's a pretty generous slice of the $1.19 trillion 'holiday spending' pie in 2023. 

Looking a bit further ahead, Gartner predicts that 50% of all B2B buyers will interact with a digital human at some point in the buying cycle by 2026. Within the B2C world, the majority of CMOs are expected to have a dedicated budget for digital humans to enrich their metaverse offerings by 2027.

Put simply, brands that aren't investing in digital humans now could quickly find themselves behind the curve in the next few years. But perhaps more importantly, they won't be delivering the memorable, compelling customer interactions that today's consumers expect from their favorite brands, even online.

Are you interested in getting a head start? If so, our digital human buyer’s guide can help you learn more about what a digital human project looks like, what you need to consider, and what speedbumps you might face along the way. 

If you're looking to take the next step, please get in touch to book a demo today and we can show you how to make your in-store MVPs your brand’s USP when selling online.