Google Cloud

Intimacy without proximity  

Building customer intimacy with the help of artificial intelligence

We live in unprecedented times. The events of 2020 have been disruptive in many ways. While these times are undoubtedly challenging, they have also been the source of a lot of creativity, innovation, and reinvention. At Google, we have seen businesses around the world rebuilding, reframing, and reshifting their strategies. With so much happening remotely, customer intimacy has proven to be more important than ever. Technology can help you achieve intimacy without proximity. Continue reading to find out how you can enhance your customer intimacy strategy and emerge stronger from these turbulent times.

Customer intimacy

Customer intimacy is the capability to build a deep, multi-level relationship with customers, stakeholders, and consumers. In a 1993 Harvard Business Review article, Fred Wiersema and Michael Treacy first defined customer intimacy as: “combining detailed customer knowledge with operational flexibility so that you can respond quickly to almost any need, from customizing a product to fulfilling special requests”. 

At the time this definition was created, commercial computers and the internet were still in their infancy. However, with the possibilities of today's tools, customer intimacy has become more relevant and accessible than ever.

The role of technology

Customer insights, customer interaction and performance improvement are the key ingredients of customer intimacy. By understanding and responding to your customers’ individual needs, provide a highly personal experience. However, delivering recommendations at scale can be complex and time consuming. You will need to understand customer behavior, omnichannel context, and mitigate challenges with SKUs.

Artificial intelligence may be the solution to these demands. Google has spent years developing and delivering recommended content across properties such as Google Ads, Google Search and YouTube, and we’ve made our knowledge and experience available to our customers through Recommendations AI. 

Please take a look at the video above if you are interested to find out what’s next for personalization on Google Cloud. Interested to see more? Please click here

  Recommendations AI

Recommendations AI uses Google’s latest machine learning architectures. It can understand nuances in customer behavior, context, and SKUs to drive customer intimacy and delivers personalized recommendations that fit each customer’s needs and preferences. 

Early results from retailers around the world have shown remarkable improvements over previous recommendation systems. We have seen a 90% increase in click-through rates, 40% increase in conversions, 50% increase in revenue, and 5% increase in total revenue per visit. 

One of those retailers is Hanes Australasia, home to some of Australia’s most recognized apparel and lifestyle brands. Hanes Australasia uses Google Cloud and Recommendations AI to deliver customized product recommendations, which improves their customer intimacy. They are experiencing measurable growth in transaction conversions and revenue on the pages on which Recommendations AI is operating. Peter Luu, their Online Analytics Manager: “When we A/B tested the recommendations from Recommendations AI against our previous manual system, we identified a double-digit uplift in revenue per session.

The year of intimacy

2020 has not been the year of physical proximity but it can still be the year of intimacy. By understanding your customers better and building more personalized products and services, technology can reinforce your customer intimacy strategy and help ensure you emerge stronger from this crisis.