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Forget discounts, this strategy is what can help entrepreneurs attract and retain customers for long-term

By Kalpit Jain

Talking to the end-user of the mobile apps we serve, is one of the most effective ways of keeping in touch with the pulse of the market. It was one such under-cover market research operations when I uncovered the following insight. An average consumer has two-three grocery delivery apps on the phone. When asked about their app of choice for ordering, this is a version of the response that I heard. "I have two apps on my phone for groceries, fruits and vegetable shopping. One is a leading brand, which has been around for years. Other is a startup. But I place my orders more often with the startup. Here's why?

After a couple of purchases, the startup app's home page shows me the items I usually buy (say a specific brand's yoghurt, a certain quantity of apples, etc.). I open the app, a few taps, and I am done placing my order. If my time and effort are saved, I really don't care much about paying a few more bucks I could have saved by buying things from the bigger brand." This is what Artificial Intelligence (AI) -based personalization can do for startups-help them win loyal customers!

For today's consumers who are always hustling, time is money (in the literal sense). Most would prefer a good hassle-free customer experience to deals that are cheaper but cost them more time, energy and efforts. This is the point startups can and must capitalize on. Here is what startups can achieve using right kind of AI-powered personalization and win customer loyalty:

One-to-one Connect

Customer loyalty is the fruit of meaningful and consistent customer engagement. Using the power of intelligent personalization, startups can ensure that they deliver unique personalized content to each of their users, in the most impactful manner (right time, right marketing channel, and the right type of content). Businesses need to analyze the data they collect, derive insights and utilize them to keep the customers engaged in a non-intrusive manner. Maybe reminding me if it's the time to reorder my recurring items or a few related purchases. Basically, thinking on my part and recommending me the stuff that I should buy without a debate with myself.

Also read: Snapdeal doubling down on these sellers to become dominant e-commerce portal for India's hinterland

Efficient Customer Support

A prompt, reliable, and efficient customer support forms the backbone of good customer experience, and hence customer loyalty. With limited funds and manpower, the best way startups can offer quality customer support to each of its users is through AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants. Well-trained chatbots that can simulate human interactions provide a non-machine like experience, and address customer issues efficiently are like boons for startups.

Win Customers' Trust through AI

Marketing automation is hygiene and businesses of all scale and size appreciate its importance. However, the one superpower that makes marketing automation punch above its weight is adding the power of AI to it. AI-powered marketing automation enables personalized, relevant, and time-sensitive communication delivered to the right person through the right channel at the right time.

Personalized Recommendations

All marketing should be human-centric and its human to feel obliged to someone who cares about you. If a brand makes me feel that it knows me, cares about my preferences, and goes the extra mile to make my experience hassle-free and pleasant, I would want to stick to it for a long time. Data-based personalized product recommendations do just that. Make the customers feel special, help them make faster purchase decisions.

While all players, big and small alike, are investing in the best technologies to offer product recommendations, it is crucial for startups because this is one aspect that can help them have an edge over competitors. As AI-based personalization continues to penetrate the markets deeper and faster, businesses owe it no one but themselves to make the most of the opportunities. And just like any other relationship, it takes continuous efforts to build and maintain long-lasting customer relationships.

Kalpit Jain is the CEO of Netcore Solutions. Views expressed are the author's own.