How to Dramatically Improve Employee, Supplier and Consumer Experience with AI

Simon Mainwaring
4 min readMay 9, 2017


In today’s rapidly advancing digital world, gaining consumer loyalty and purchases requires more than smart branding and far reaching media. People are overwhelmed with advertisements and often block out non-relevant content. To inspire consumer engagement, brands must provide users with individually curated, timely, and valuable information on the right platforms. Essentially, the market is demanding personalized experiences — created by what Brian Solis calls, “experience architects” — that simulate one-on-one communication between companies and customers. These experiences can not only bring brands closer to consumers and increase profits, but also improve supply chain and employee efficiencies.

The digital world is changing and brand communication must follow. While targeted email lists, snail mail ads and push notifications are still commonly used marketing tactics, they aren’t optimizing engagement rates. According to Sameer Patel, CEO of Kahuna — a marketing automation platform, 91 percent of people unsubscribe from mailing lists, 44 percent of snail mail is unopened and 46 percent of smartphone users deny apps from sending push notifications.

At the same time, the digital space is moving towards virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR), further enriching consumer interactions and weaving digital experiences into everyday lives. Last week at f8 2017, Facebook showcased how it’s incorporating AR and VR technologies to build upon its existing platforms and expand into new territory where the line between the real and virtual world blurs even further.

This digital transformation is enhancing the way people connect with content and is opening possibilities for more all encompassing, interactive, individuated experiences.

Given the fact that some digital first companies — like Amazon and Uber — service millions of users everyday, it would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming to have humans create personalized messages for each target audience member. The same goes for complicated supply chains logistics and large remote employee teams. Ultimately, mass communications that feel authentic and individualized at scale can only be achieved via artificial intelligence (AI).

Here are a few ways you can use AI to improve consumer, supplier and employee experience:

1. Personalize Consumer Shopping: Technology allows brands to maintain contact with consumers in a way that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. What’s more, it empowers companies to offer novel and useful tools, as well as interesting experiences. Ultimately these new means of communicating foster deeper emotional connections and added attachment to the brands that consumers love most.

An excellent example of how a company is using AI to offer consumers a useful and personalized tool while simultaneously opening new sales channels is L’Oreal. The cosmetics brand created an AR app called Makeup Genius that allows users to visualize how different shades and colors of makeup would look on their own face then purchase what they like through the app.

As such, artificial intelligence offers brands amazing ways to curate unique and valuable experiences for consumers, which in turn strengthens engagement and will ultimately lead to increased sales.

2. Automate Employee Troubleshooting: While AI provides an excellent way for brands to deepen interactions with consumers, it also opens up possibilities to enhance employee experience and efficiency.

A company tapping into the expansive potential of AI to improve the work environment is Facebook. The social media giant recently disclosed how its Workplace platform incorporates bots — like the @repairbot — to help employees solve problems, seamlessly work between platforms and reduce inefficiencies.

The key takeaway here is that brands should consider ways to incorporate artificial intelligence into internal processes to enhance employee productivity.

3. Use Real Time Quality Assessments and Supplier Payment Methods: Supply-side logistics is yet another place digital can enhance corporate efficiency and user satisfaction. Many companies lack a means to stay in constant contact with suppliers — often working in different locations and time zone. This can slow down shipment and processing. What’s more, the paucity of efficient communication can cause a disconnect between manufacturers and purchasers, putting supplier’s needs at greater risk of being marginalizing.

An example of a brand harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to improve supply chain efficiency and workers rights is Bext Holdings, Inc. The supply chain analytics company deploys in field machines and a Bext360 app that are helping coffee suppliers and purchasers sort through different quality products, set real-time market value and speed up supplier payments; essentially, making it easier for both buyers and sellers to do business. Further, the generated data empowers coffee farmers to demand fair market value for their products and get paid in a timely fashion.

The lesson here is that weaving technology into supply chain management can tighten communication channels between brands and their suppliers, ultimately increasing efficiency and opening opportunities for improved treatment of often underpaid supplier communities.

Personalized user experience is becoming vital to how brands relate to consumers as well as employees and suppliers. If you want to improve customer service and internal efficiencies at scale you must incorporate dynamic AI technologies that respond to user needs in real time and foster automated one-to-one interactions with key stakeholders.

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Simon Mainwaring

Founder/CEO brand consultancy, We First, bestselling author of We First and Lead With We, host of podcast, Lead With We.