Just like Kris Kringle himself, retail marketers can take advantage of the analytical capabilities of artificial intelligence to better understand the audience they’re trying to reach, and what they’re shopping for. The results can help retailers improve sales and reduce costs.

Lou Jordano, chief marketing officer, Crimson Hexagon

Lou Jordano, chief marketing officer, Crimson Hexagon

Vetting “the list” is probably the biggest part of Santa’s job every holiday season. With billions of children in the world, how can he possibly keep track of what everyone wants? Retail brands face a similar conundrum during the most wonderful time of the year in that they don’t always know what customers are shopping for. This feeling is reciprocated, with a recent study citing that 64 percentof shoppers feel as though retailers don’t truly know them.

The good news for Santa, and retailer marketers alike is that there’s a great solution to this problem. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the power to analyze what people are discussing, and its capabilities have evolved tremendously over the last few years.

Being able to automate the most labor-intensive tasks like building ‘the list’ allows Santa to partake in more important activities.

Additionally, using it to provide personalized touchpoints will be critical for retail success. Santa can use AI to determine which children were naughty and nice, and plan his gifts accordingly—effectively putting list-building on auto-pilot. Likewise, retail marketers can leverage AI to analyze and understand what their customers are shopping for, and ensure they provide the best products for the holidays.Whether it’s a new 4K television, a pony, or simply a fresh blanket of snow, AI can dramatically overhaul holiday workloads for Kris Kringle himself, and retailers should follow his lead.

Santa’s Workshop of the Future 

During December in the North Pole, Santa’s workshop is operating at full capacity, despite the millions of letters streaming in from children all over the globe. He has the ability to categorize and sift through letters within a matter of seconds. This is because Santa is using AI-driven insights to understand each child’s behavior in 2018, and what gifts they’re hoping for during the holidays. More consumers are taking to the internet to share their thoughts on potential gift ideas, and to disclose their customer service experiences should they return items or need help tracking down a specific toy.

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Women's search terms for Christmas

For example, when searching for holiday wish lists among young women, the most popular wishes include, mascara, palettes, brushes, eyeliner, lipstick, and makeup in general. Utilizing AI can tell Santa that makeup is on every young woman’s wish list this year.

This allows both Santa and retailers to have a pulse on consumer insights. If they understand their target audience and know what they’re interested in, it will help boost sales. Things like shared photos, specific keywords in tweets, or audio snippets from video uploads all provide clues to what someone wants for Christmas—even if they don’t say it explicitly.

A Retailer’s Reality

Retail marketers have historically operated on a trial-and-error basis without much data-driven reasoning. Disconnected and non-strategic consumer targeting led many retailers in the past to go back to the drawing board time and time again. Luckily, AI-driven consumer insights can help a brand see the light.

AI helps make data actionable by aggregating keywords like “makeup” or “boots” and then using these insights to offer certain deals or promotions to customers that align with their interests and online discussions. Ever wonder why shoe advertisements pop up after you search for new boots? It’s not a coincidence. It’s AI trying to make Santa’s life easier, and allows retail marketers to pinpoint exactly what style and price point you’re looking for. Being able to automate the most labor-intensive tasks like building ‘the list’ allows Santa to partake in more important activities, like making upgrades to his sleigh or spending time with Mrs. Claus.

AI also offers many benefits to retailers, including more revenue stemming from better customer care, more relevant advertisements, and increased trust from consumers. The beauty is that AI works 24/7 – just like Santa. While he sees you while your sleeping, and knows when you’re awake—AI similarly continually searches for what everyone wants this year and can help retailers promote the perfect presents.

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Just like Kris Kringle himself, retail marketers can take advantage of AI’s analytical capabilities to better understand the audience they’re trying to reach, and what they’re shopping for this holiday season. The results can help those brands improve their own holiday plans to ensure they’re exceeding consumer expectations. Not only that, retailers who follow in Santa’s boots can leave themselves more time for strategic activities—like putting on an extra pot of hot cocoa, or planning new promotions and campaigns in 2019. Marketers can learn a lot from observing Santa and his operation at the North Pole, but only those who choose to emulate his approach—using all the capabilities of AI—will find themselves rejoicing in holiday cheer come January.

Crimson Hexagon provides a platform powered by articial intelligence that helps brands analyze unstructured text and images to gain insights about consumers and competitors.

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