The Perfect Time for AI-Driven Innovation in Physical Retail – Why Now?
E-commerce businesses stay ahead of their competition thanks to a massive amount of unique customer insights available in the online space. They know their customers down to the individual level. They know how often they visit, what their interests are, what they buy, or at which stage they leave the e-shop. Physical stores with the traditional ways of marketing and customer data collection have always been at the mercy of point-of-sale data to understand customers. Physical retailers and shopping malls alike have limited customer insight working with the offline numbers.
Getting the physical presence right
While before the pandemic physical stores were gaining momentum, with the pandemic, their future has been called into question. Nowadays, customers, hungry for physical experience but not yet fully adapted to leaving their homes for shopping, are calling physical retailers for a reinvention. For the creation of successful often new shopping models retailers have to understand who their customers are and what they want. Factors, such as gender or age of the shoppers, peak hours, the most crowded areas and paths, customer sentiment, and much more play an important role.
Can physical stores have what e-commerce has been capitalizing on for a long time?
Like e-commerce, many brick-and-mortar stores have been investing in digital solutions to optimize their customer experiences using real data. Among the first attempts to gather such data was Bluetooth technology which provided very limited information. The next change came with the simple footfall meters. They were exciting and represented retailers with a new set of data which, however, was also limited and not precise. Offline data acquisition, as well as processing, have been evolving in the past few years thanks to developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) which introduced an entirely new level of data processing providing much deeper business insights.
Moreover, not long ago, algorithms were still too complex, hardware too large, and chips not as effective. In recent years, the hardware output has maximized, and the specialization of processors has improved, allowing better visual information processing – the ability of cameras and other visual sensors to capture raw video and process it into useful insights.
The sheer volume of data gained through the bleeding edge technology may seem challenging, however, a far bigger challenge is to understand and act on it. With VIVIDI sensors, the owners gain an entirely new level of insight via our cutting-edge platform to analyze real-time and unlimited historical data, including demography analysis, conversions & heatmaps, and emotions, and much more.
What is the value?
The value is not only in the amount of data gathered, but the data delivered in a structured way that any retailer can understand and act on. As an example, the data from the dashboard shows that there are not enough people during certain hours of the week? Change the open hours. Do customers leave at the doorway? Adjust the product displays. More men visiting than women? Adjust the offerings. These insights will help to analyze your customer experience and improve when needed.
It is just a matter of time before every retailer will have these advanced solutions to be able to gather priceless insights about their customers. See how you can apply AI technology in your location.