Retailers are preparing for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Every year, they set into motion a wave of marketing and promotion strategies to attract customers. In recent years, personalization has been the name of the game.
According to Salesforce, two-thirds of customers expect businesses to know what they want and meet those needs in a personalized manner. As a result, most of these customers turn to large online shopping platforms to receive personalized recommendations and product information.
However, brick-and-mortar retailers are better positioned to deliver this personalized engagement than online retailers. With the introduction of individualized shopping experiences, retailers can engage with customers better in-store — and maintain this engagement even after they leave the store.
Why brick-and-mortar retailers are perfectly positioned to deliver personalization to customers
Physical retailers can strike a successful balance between personalization and convenience
Many industry observers have identified convenience and personalization as the reasons for the rise of online shopping and e-commerce platforms. While this is true, e-commerce platforms, particularly specialty retailers, still rely on lengthy last-mile delivery processes to send products to their customers. Physical retailers, on the other hand, can provide immediate gratification to customers who visit their stores. In certain circumstances, customers simply cannot wait for their delivery, even if it is as quick as a couple of hours. Physical retailers that can optimize service delivery and provide personalized shopping experiences can provide a far more convenient option for shoppers. In some convenience or grocery stores, customers can quickly grab a snackduring their break or choose to engage with the store on a deeper level.
Personalized offers and promotions are more likely to be positively received when customers are already shopping
American shoppers are inundated with promotional messages from brands through social media, email, and personalized text messages. These promotional methods, if not managed appropriately, can annoy customers and potentially cause them to sever their relationship with the brand.
For personalized promotions to be successful, brands must find the optimal time to engage the customer. In this regard, physical retailers have a natural edge over e-commerce platforms. Shoppers who walk into a physical store are ready to shop and are more likely to be receptive to offers that can immediately provide savings or recommendations. Customers are also able to protect their privacy by choosing not to engage with retailers until they are ready to shop again.
The vast majority of customers still prefer shopping in physical stores
The future of retail has been a discussion that has engaged industry experts for years, with many observers claiming that physical retail is on the verge of collapse. However, the reality on the ground is very different with the majority . A recent study by Accenture revealed that 82% of millennial shoppers still prefering to shopping in physical stores.
Brick-and-mortar retailers have thrived in recent years, even with the challenges that came with operating during a pandemic. Customers prefer shopping experiences that allow them to touch and examine products before deciding to make a purchase — particularly clothing, apparel, and big-ticket items. The natural next step for physical retail businesses is to pair this tactility with the personalization that their online counterparts can offer. Here are three ways AI can help retailers deliver personalized retail experiences across various shopping channels.
How AI powers personalized shopping experiences across retail channels
Anticipate and adapt to the needs of your customers quickly with predictive analytics
Personalization is a buzzword that the retail industry has been trying to understand for some time. A personalized experience is typically understood to mean friendly in-store staff or the delivery of personalized promotions to a customer. This is a limiting definition that neglects the important factor of product availability.
Unlike e-commerce providers that can host multiple stores on a single platform, physical retailers must carefully consider the SKUs that will form each store’s stockpile. Modern retail software allows business leaders to solve this problem by monitoring changes in customer demand and predicting the needs of customers. This data allows retailers to purchase inventory that is aligned with the needs of each unique customer base.
Simultaneously provide privacy and personalization with keypoint tracking technology
In a bid to provide customization and personalization, retailers have relied on collecting intrusive data that is tied to each identifiable customer. As a result, less than a fifth of customers consider the retail industry to be a trustworthy protector of data and privacy. Advancements in computer vision technologyhave allowed retail businesses to change that. With keypoint tracking technology, retail businesses can use an array of cameras to identify customers using non-specific identifiers such as height, clothing, and gender. This allows businesses to recognize the actions customers take without revealing the identity of each customer. As data privacy laws continue to evolve, retail businesses can design personalization processes that are future-proof and have privacy at their core.
Empower store staff to engage with customers and build strong long-term relationships
One of the reasons shoppers still prefer to shop in physical stores is the ability to interact with store staff in real life. However, store staff are often occupied by low-value tasks such as stock taking and manning the cash register. As AI grows more capable, these tasks can be automated and allow store staff to engage more freely with customers. Once low-value tasks are off-loaded in an autonomous retail store, staff can be trained to use their time to develop relationships with customers.
The retail industry will continue to evolve to serve the needs of customers who demand convenience, personalization, and enjoyable shopping experiences. As the future of AI and retail unfolds, AI and machine learning will see more companies deploying autonomous stores AI to transform the in-person shopping experience. With AI-powered, camera-only solutions, retail businesses can deploy accessible and scalable technology that can deliver personalised shopping experiences to every customer.
If you would like to optimize your retail business using AI and autonomous shopping to deliver personalized customer experiences, request our demo.
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