The Record - Issue 21: Summer 2021

144 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om W inning and retaining customers has always been challeng- ing for retailers. However, it has become increasingly dif- ficult over the past few years with the explosion of online retail and multiple new brands entering the market, giving customers more choice than ever before. According to multiple research studies and industry experts, the secret to success is for retailers to deliver fast, convenient and enjoyable experiences that will delight customers and drive loyalty. Microsoft’s 2020 Global State of Customer Service report, for example, found that 90 per cent of consumers consider customer service as a very important factor when choosing a brand, and more than 88 per cent view it as important when making purchasing decisions. And, with 55 per cent of consumers saying they have higher expectations for customer service than one year ago and nearly two-thirds admit- ting they would sever a relationship with a business following poor service, now is the time for retailers to invest in developing unique experiences that set them apart from the competition. “Recently, retailers have been trying to create more engaging shop- ping experiences, but it’s become even more critical for them to do so in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic as it has significantly changed the way people want to shop for products and interact with brands,” says Naveen Tadepalli, director of data and artificial intelligence (AI) strategy, retail and consumer goods atMicrosoft. “All theCovid-related restrictions forced retailers to close their physical stores or at least limit their capacity, which meant they had to quickly develop e-commerce Microsoft’s Naveen Tadepalli outlines how analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technologies can help retailers to deliver unique personalised omnichannel experiences that will convert customers into brand advocates BY R E B E CCA G I B SON Driving customer loyalty F E ATUR E