You cannot spell retail without AI
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You cannot spell retail without AI

The more businesses can learn about their customers, the better they can serve them. By Amit Suxena

By analysing consumer behaviour, product performance and sales patterns, AI can help retailers design displays and in-store promotions.
By analysing consumer behaviour, product performance and sales patterns, AI can help retailers design displays and in-store promotions.

In Thailand it is common to hear people refer to shopping as a "hobby". During the pandemic, 94% of Thai consumers said online shopping had come to their rescue during Covid lockdowns.

Thailand's retail industry remains an instrumental engine for economic growth and was forecast to grow by 4-5% per year between 2023 and 2025, outpacing GDP expansion.

Retail is a key pillar of the Thai economy, accounting for 16.7% of GDP. The operators of retail outlets are usually large-scale. But be it large or small, artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the shopping experience and becoming a key driver of online growth and profitability for Thai retailers.

Globally, 77% of e-commerce businesses are already using AI, with 29% having fully implemented it and 48% experimenting. The adoption of AI solutions makes delivering fast, easy and personalised digital experiences more important than ever before.

Harnessing the power of AI will turn this vision into reality. To do this, Thai retailers should focus on the integration of AI into e-commerce operations, while leveraging their proprietary data safely and securely.

How can predictive and generative AI drive costs down and push loyalty up?

The Songkran holiday is always marked by extensive festive shopping in Thailand. During holiday seasons, keeping products in stock can be a persistent challenge.

According to Salesforce research, 52% of leaders globally want better visibility into their inventory, and AI-powered retail execution solutions can help.

Thailand's adoption of AI in the retail sector mirrors these global trends, with transforming elements such as customer service and predictive AI for inventory management coming into play. Using historical data and market trends, Thai retailers can better understand demand, optimise inventory levels and prepare for higher sales.

The incorporation of automation and seamless experiences helps Thai retailers who are already strapped for time and resources, while contributing to overall customer satisfaction.

By analysing consumer behaviour, product performance and sales patterns to understand what attracts consumers, AI is also helping retailers design displays and in-store promotional materials using that data.

All of this saves valuable time for merchandising, marketing and design teams and allows them to focus on more strategic and creative decision-making.

Lotus's, a major retail chain in Thailand, is modernising and personalising its customers' experience with Salesforce. The company can now rely on one customer data platform to deliver a single source of "truth" about customers, enabling better experiences and increased customer satisfaction.

Lotus's successfully launched its new loyalty and e-commerce solution within one month, and now has 98% accuracy of product inventory.


Mobile phones are fast becoming the remote control for shopping, instantly connecting consumers to brands as they navigate across online and offline channels. A record-breaking 79% of global e-commerce traffic during Black Friday and Cyber Monday was on mobile phones, up from 76% in 2022. Globally, social traffic on mobile was a critical acquisition channel -- representing 10% of all referrals to retailer websites.

According to a study by Meta, online shopping via mobile phones surges during mega-sale days in Thailand, significantly affecting retail transactions. Some 67% of Thai shoppers who made year-end purchases found new products in physical stores, while 74% discovered them through mobile platforms. Mobile is already the dominant channel, and will continue to be a driving factor behind retail growth in Thailand.

In addition to expanding how and where they shop, customers are changing how they pay. No payment method exemplifies this changing behaviour more than digital wallets -- a broad category that includes TrueMoney and Rabbit Line Pay, among others.

Convenience and connectivity will remain at the core of digital wallet innovation. Thai retailers need to take note of exactly how their customers are choosing to pay.

When it comes to checking out, with generative and predictive AI, retailers can take a data-driven approach to personalise every moment in the customer journey.

Through personalisation, brands now have the power to turn every shopping interaction into a meaningful and rewarding experience, whether that is through recommending the perfect gift for a friend or finding the best deal on a new gadget. Such shopping experiences are key to customer engagement, retention and loyalty.


It's important that AI-powered productivity and profit do not come at the expense of consumer trust. Customers are concerned about the societal impact of AI, fearing the introduction of biases and unintended consequences. According to the "State of the Connected Customer" report by Salesforce, 77% of Thai customers expressed concerns about the potential unethical use of AI by companies.

To combat this scepticism and build trust, retailers can emphasise transparency in communicating how AI is used, making it clear that employees -- not technology -- are in the driver's seat.

Upskilling becomes a vital component as well, to ensure that teams know how to safely use trusted data sources and keep first-party data secure. Whether the goal for Thai retailers is achieving top-line growth or bottom-line efficiency, the primary focus should be on enhancing the customer experience -- and AI can help.

More than ever before, it is impossible to spell retail without AI. Across marketing, merchandising and customer service, it will continue to drive profitability, productivity and customer loyalty, changing retail and commerce forever.

As Thai retailers navigate the challenges and opportunities of the Songkran holiday, the trusted use of AI can contribute to a positive and valuable experience for both customers and retailers alike.

Amit Suxena is vice-president for Asean of Salesforce, a multinational cloud-based software company specialising in customer relationship management.

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