Artificial intelligence technologies, which in recent years have made major changes in the world of digital marketing, continue to offer high hopes for several sectors today.
There has also been a significant increase in the number of companies that are fully aware of the situation and invest a significant value in artificial intelligence technologies. Since artificial intelligence technologies allow a smoother customer experience, cost reduction, and the ability to analyze the full procedure of experience in the real world and time.
Why has Artificial Intelligence drawn the retail industry's attention in the first place?
When we look at the first motives, we can conclude that we can better understand consumers. As the retail industry has recognized for many years how important customer data is, today it is known as the industry that has the most consumer insights. The retail business, which analyzes customer behavior and designs marketing campaigns, accordingly, now uses the new technology to keep up with the evolving environment and enhance the customer experience with AI.
What does today’s consumer want from a store experience?
Continuity and Convenience: Thanks to the increased mobile devices and safer and quicker connectivity to the internet, shoppers can now access information and buy from anywhere on an ongoing basis. Two challenges stand out for enterprises in this situation: delivering the same service on all platforms and providing full cooperation.
If they reach the company over the internet, by mobile, or at the physical store, consumers want their standards to be fulfilled at the same rate. They hope to receive the same experience with the sales rep in the shop, or on the e-commerce platform.
Customer Loyalty Programs: For random offer recommendations, customers do not enjoy being taken to them. Rather, the person is waiting for deals and promotions relevant to himself or herself and the existing circumstances. In order to do this, it is important to make real-time analyzes and build customer-specific deals. Artificial intelligence software delivers real-time user-specific deals by evaluating and forecasting in conjunction with previous shopping results and personal information. The client, thus, feels special and has a great buying experience. And currently, AI video surveillance technology can observe, track, and classify customers by their behaviors and hence, create a pattern about them.
So, when you enter a store, the AI video surveillance will recognize you and send a customized message, welcome email, or even a promotion. How nice it is right! All customers want to feel special. However, all of them require huge personal data sharing with your devices and permission. If you do not want to share this much personal info, or intentionally you can think of hiding your ID by using a VPN on your laptop as well as a smartphone. If you’re interested in protecting your privacy, you may look at the Surfshark review to get more details.
Boost employee performance: While modern "employees" are supporting businesses such as chatbots or robotics with artificial intelligence, it is more valuable for its contribution to people's organizational effectiveness. Customer satisfaction improves owing to artificial intelligence that offers improved support to the client at any stage. Salespeople will give consumers smoother and continuous support with cloud-based, incredibly simple artificial intelligence technologies that improve efficiency. Indeed, this will help businesses to optimize their staff capacity and their tasks by monitoring busy spots in the stores and tracking popular shelves to direct new stocks or sales consultants.
What Covid-19 has changed perspectives on store experience?
The pandemic, which left its mark in 2020, introduced and keeps bringing numerous changes in many sectors. The company and the brand cannot get ahead of experience anymore. For instance, delivery time or shop hygiene conditions will change the business preference of the customer instantly. Many buyers already believe that the experience a retailer offers is almost as relevant as the goods and services provided. So, the latest consumer persona is reshaping day by day in our minds as of March 2020.
According to the survey conducted by Sensormatic, which is a Johnson Controls company that operates in the field of RFID tags as well, showed that 59% of participants were mildly or very worried about in-store shopping. As anticipated, the majority of shoppers are taking extra care to go to the shops. Sixty-one of the responders have said they are looking to go shopping in less busy hours, and 49% of the participants were using self-checkout as a safeguard while visiting a store. Cleanliness (37 percent) and availability of products(34 percent ) are now the most significant considerations for shoppers when shopping in-store.
Growing preference for self-checkout:
Self-checkout was not preferred at first due to barcode scanning problems, scanner errors, problems in determining the weight of the products. However, because we want to stay away from people in social distance and stores, it has become much more attractive to do our own business instead of waiting in line. This did not just benefit the customers. With AI-powered surveillance cameras, it can monitor what its customers buy, how many grams they buy, which brands they choose and can predict customers' behavior accordingly. And it can also track shoplifters and analyze their movements as well, allowing them to identify before someone steals anything.
Monitoring Social Distancing in Stores:
Continuously monitoring the number of people and observing social distance by video surveillance is a sensation in large retail chains, but now for brick-and-mortar shops, it is a service they have to provide to create trust in times of Covid-19. On the other hand, organizations will benefit from innovative technologies that assist with customer engagement, shelf refreshment, quick service in the restaurants, eliminating waiting lines outside the store, and many more with the introduction of artificial intelligence-based video surveillance in the retail industry. And these benefits will come way sooner due to pandemic rules and regulations.
What waits for us in the future?
- Understand what the consumer wants at each point of contact by observing their actions and preferences.
- To be capable of taking immediate guidance and response by reacting to and analyzing data that is continuously evolving, at this stage, to set up a process that can automatically track what is going on as if a company has a brain and nervous system and generates superhuman reflexes.
Physical retailers will be started to take on the role of place of distribution. Without shoppers, some retailers will switch into a "dark store" style. Stores servicing consumers would need to meet the customer's request even more quickly on the condition of maintaining social distancing. The goal of engaging consumers and building a common sense of community stores should be to try innovative ideas. Interactive items to be selected on the store's smart boards and immediate purchase can be an example. Digital showrooms, virtual tours, and virtual dressing booths would be more popular than just a media example to render the in-store experience better.
With virtual reality, it would be possible to select and test cosmetics shades and try an outfit with consumer avatars without touching anywhere. We will see an improvement in products in the food markets, such as tracking the entire product record on RFID tags and blockchain or taking advantage of visual identification and sensor systems that monitor the freshness of the product.
Isik Onal Korpe is a writer, translator, and blogger working with various e-commerce and tech clients. Currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey while collaborating and communicating with people worldwide. She enjoys reading and writing about Tech and Marketing.