As Britain’s high streets struggle to recover from the impact of COVID-19, many are making the move to online retail and leaving behind the high street stores that have previously defined the shopping experience. The pandemic has caused a shift in customer shopping habits - digital is quickly becoming the new normal, meaning that e-commerce must provide an even better customer experience.

This is an opportunity to create truly novel online experiences, building customer loyalty, which could translate into store visits and sales.

There are many obstacles that have previously turned shoppers away from buying online, so there are many opportunities for providing intuitive customer service, enhancing personalisation and making better product recommendations. Technology, and artificial intelligence, in particular, is helping retailers: understanding personal style, making better recommendations, “seeing” trends, augmenting reality, and providing online customer service.

One of the most valuable elements of the in-store experience is the personal touch delivered by shop assistants; providing face-to-face interaction, product knowledge, and often serving as the face of the brand. It’s no surprise that online shoppers certainly struggle to navigate product lines without them; 2 in 5 (39%) of customers have left a website and purchased elsewhere because they have felt overwhelmed by options. Most digital sales assistants currently exist as LiveChat features and bots, providing basic answers to common customer queries and, in some cases, recommending popular products to struggling shoppers. However, to truly provide valuable customer service, the service needs to be personalised and flexible to each customer. BOON is using artificial intelligence to improve the quality of these recommendations whilst simultaneously providing an engaging shopping experience.