With the onset of e-commerce, store retailers have seen their footfalls reduce considerably over the years. While many tech pundits went on to say that physical stores would be shut soon, the reality is nowhere close to their statements. Physical stores continue to and will always be around if they are able to generate delightful shopping experiences for visitors. The key to success is to be as digitally empowered as possible because customers are going digital like never before. If retailers can channel the huge amount of data and signals that shoppers generate around their stores into meaningful experiences, it is a win-win situation for all. Big data analytics was a mainstream weapon for retailers to derive insights, but today the real focus of retailers should be on Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things or on solutions that allow both to collaborate.
AI-driven IoT systems are today enabling retailers to elevate their shopping experience to the next level. From tracking customer movements inside the store to anticipating rush hour sales, AI enabled IoT platforms are re-inventing the art of selling in-store. A small hardware like a Beacon or tracking enabled stickers or cards is all that the system needs to identify a customer’s preferences within a store by effectively exchanging information with sensors at different points in the store.
By tracking movements of shoppers within the store, an AI-based analysis engine can identify their interest levels for different products on display. A customer is likely to spend more time near the product he is most interested in; especially in high-value markets like auto dealerships or home appliances. Calculating the time spent near the products, cross verifying this data from their purchase history as well as data obtained from social media (obtained through membership schemes initially), the system can generate a feasible interest level for each product for each customer. Moreover, the seller can see an overall traffic distribution within the store. These insights can help the seller to take more meaningful decisions regarding product placements, resource allocations and much more.
The art of cross-selling and upselling becomes more comprehensive when your retail systems are integrated with Smart AI and IoT enabled platforms. When customer interest levels are obtained, these tools can suggest combo deals wherein a customer is shown a product they like bundled with products that usually are slow to move or immovable. The bundle would be at a discount and hence customers are more likely to spend on both of them together.
Every customer is unique and so are their preferences and buying patterns. Mass marketing for products does not work well with today’s buyers because they have several options where retailers would offer personalized choices. With tools like Salestron, retailers can identify interest levels through algorithms working on user data. This interest can be utilized in creating personalized marketing campaigns. For example, if a user spends considerable time in front of a particular type of clothing, they can be offered a discount. The sales associate can even look for a similar type of clothing the store has in inventory and offer that to the customer.
There could be products that may incite quicker buying decisions when compared to others. For example, IoT enabled sensors could track information like the movement of items within the store such as the number of people trying the item and purchasing them at the counter. If these products could be positioned in the store with better visibility, they have a higher chance of being bought frequently. Retailers can use insights from products like Salestron to increase the visibility of best-performing items across multiple stores of the same brand or even within the same store on seasonal occasions.
An AI-IoT ecosystem can enable retailers to learn about store traffic and automatically appoint more salespeople in areas with the most traffic. The personal attention resulting from this would improve customer satisfaction greatly. It also allows salesforce to be empowered with more information at their fingertips, like accessing product information and smart catalogs on a tablet. This enables them to sell more and even offer personalized deals for each customer.
Consumers can be offered more automated sales experiences, wherein different versions of the same product that interests them may be sent to their smartphones. For example, different shades of the same dress, how the customer would look wearing them and much more. Devices like smart mirrors, NFC tags and other sensors can easily channel data to AI enabled processing engines to create delightful shopping experiences for store visitors.
An intelligent in-store management platform can utilize the best of AI and IoT to create the most appealing shopping experiences for your customers. Retailers can improve their bottom line considerably with insights generated on these platforms.
By Charush Nair