MANILA, PHILIPPINES — If there is anything constant in marketing, it’s that phenomena and trends surrounding how customers behave will always continue to change and evolve. Especially with the drastic lifestyle shifts brought upon the world by the pandemic and the rapid acceleration of digitalization, the evolving nature of customers’ needs and priorities has become much more evident in these past few years.
For a time during the pandemic, consumers were forced to go online for almost every product and service they sought out. Hence, everyone going digital all at once and faster than marketers anticipated, with these large volumes of traffic containing thousands of customers bringing in a new and unique set of needs and behaviors, made understanding these consumers more urgent. And the same is true when brands and businesses were faced with the question of how to retain these customers post-pandemic when consistent engagement and use of ecommerce platforms were no longer guaranteed.
Enter Xtend, a marketing technology company that has recently launched the a world-class AI first retargeting engine that’ll help brands retain the business they’ve already gained.
“In the present world, ROI is top of mind for ecommerce players, and acquiring new customers has become even more challenging in a recessionary climate. [This] is why retaining customers and engaging with them has become a key priority,” Xtend CEO Karam Malhotra said in an exclusive interview with adobo Magazine. “Ecommerce companies are seeking ways to increase efficiencies, as well as use data analysis to drive better decision making to create a positive and targeted shopping experience for their customers. Xtend caters to these needs which act as opportunity areas for us.”
Through Xtend, businesses are able to leverage AI learning in creating effective mobile marketing strategies based on getting an understanding of what users need out of their digital customer experience and in predicting what comes next in their journey.
“Built on a large-scale AI model, Xtend provides an algorithm that predicts based on typical user profiles instead of usual marketing funnels,” Karam explained. “It allows anticipation of a user’s next preferred engagement with a brand – whether via discovery, product comparisons, or a flash deal.”
“Xtend also incorporates a large section of owned and operated contextual ecommerce inventory, tagged as ‘SHOPit,’ to create a more native environment for users to interact with ecommerce offers outside of their core platforms,” he added.
For Karam, this technology is what the marketing world needs in order for the digital shopping experience to remain relevant. As physical stores started to not only open up but also return to being a norm as the world goes further into pandemic recovery, businesses are faced with a challenge. How can they now elevate the digital shopping experience that’ll provide users with the ease and personalization that will make them return to these platforms again and again even in the post-pandemic world?
Karam expressed that this is why automation and leveraging AI to truly understand a user’s needs is a trend that is bound to not just continue but soar even further.
“Constant deep learning is a powerful tool that can be used to make digital marketing campaigns more effective. Leveraging on individual shopping preferences, marketers are able to utilize deep learning to create personalized ads with messaging that resonates with the user,” he elaborated.
“AI helps optimize remarketing strategies by using machine learning to interpret data around users’ shopping preferences that can help predict future purchase behavior. What does a user wish to do next? Browse a better deal, view a competing product, perhaps simply be reminded to checkout?” Karam posited. “AI-based journeys help understand shopping patterns user by user and suggest the next communication touch-point for the user accordingly. All of these improvements simply lead to better conversions and user experience overall.”
Karam acknowledged, however, that even with the endless possibilities that AI poses, it is a controversial topic for a reason and does not come without limitations. Many things that make marketing effective –fostering a connection between a brand and customer, finding more personal insights that can’t be reflected via algorithms or patterns, and more – are deeply human.
“Over-reliance on AI in marketing can cause campaigns to lack the human touch,” he said when asked about the risks that he believed brands need to be aware of when making use of new technology like this. “While AI algorithms can analyze large amounts of data and make data-driven decisions, they may struggle to understand the emotional and contextual nuances that humans can comprehend, resulting in a less personal and empathetic customer experience.”
That being said, he assured that avoiding that over-reliance on AI is crucial to Xtend. “We advocate a balance of AI and human surveillance,” he shared. Karam also made it a point to note that any safety concerns that come from leveraging new technology are something that they prioritize. “Ensuring ethical usage of AI and data, Xtend upholds privacy regulations to the strictest standards and enforces encryption as well as other security methods to protect user information.”
Ultimately, Karam believes in the better marketing and ecommerce landscape that can come to fruition with AI and is eager for Xtend to continue embodying its significant role in paving the path toward it. “Our team at Xtend comprises industry experts with a rich and diverse experience in the field which is our core asset. Through the application of AI, we plan to help ecommerce platforms and brands grow and retain customers by enabling them to better understand their users’ behavior, identify lapses in the user journey, and effectively help retarget them using unique and customized user scenarios,” he said. “We are excited about developing the capabilities of AI in the world of marketing and elevating the industry space through Xtend.”
Learn more about Xtend’s offerings here.