Power duo: Human + machine

Utilizing data analytics to drive improved customer experience

Using customer data to unlock secrets of an online shopper

Retailers are moving from an imprecise view of customer behavior, in which they ask about preferences, to a real-time view in which they can track exactly what shoppers look for, what they buy, and even when they buy something.

PwC research found that 72% of companies plan to use advanced data analytics to boost the customer experience and build a more customer-focused supply chain. This customer-first strategy accounts for the success of companies across the retail spectrum.

Combining human input and AI to provide ultra-personalization

The rapid ascent of online personal shopping companies can be attributed in part to a potent combination of human input and artificial intelligence (AI). These services are designed to understand customer preferences better than the customer, allowing the company to offer highly personalized options that customers didn’t know they would love—but AI did.

Here's how it works

1. Create a profile

Shoppers provide detailed information about size, preferences, and price points.

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2. Human + machine

The system makes recommendations, which a human stylist uses as a starting point to design an ideal mix of clothing.

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3. Items arrive

Customers receive a shipment of five pieces of specifically-selected clothing.

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4. Decision and feedback

They keep what they like and return the rest. They also tell the service why they liked or didn’t like an item. More feedback allows better fine-tuning by the human stylists who make final decisions.

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5. Ultra-personalization

The ultimate goal is to circumvent the endless and often confusing options available online while providing an ultra-personalized shopping experience.

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Color me satisfied

We did an informal survey of online personal-shopping customers at PwC to find out more about what they like. Here's what we learned:

survey of online personal-shopping customers at PwC

The retail evolution: Combining tech and human interaction for a compelling customer experience

Our retail evolution series examines four tech-enabled approaches that retailers are deploying to provide shoppers with a superior customer experience. They are using deliberate strategies, focused on building advantage from their existing strengths.

Power duo: Human + machine is the second report in the series focused on utilizing data analytics combined with artificial intelligence (AI) to create an improved customer experience. When used together, retailers can predict customer preferences more accurately for improved anticipatory fulfillment models. The more precisely a retailer can anticipate and personalize a customer’s preferences, the more loyal that customer is likely to be.

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Tyson Cornell

Consumer Markets Industry Leader, PwC US

Eric Shin

Consumer Markets Tax Leader, PwC US

Tom Puthiyamadam

Digital Products & Consumer Markets Advisory Leader, PwC US

Melissa Palmer

Consumer Markets Assurance Leader, PwC US

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