It is a pity to restrict implementation of AI to online retailing when eCommerce constitutes only 11.9% of global retailing. A few years from now we expect to see a higher number of brick-and-mortar retailers adopting machine learning solutions like their online counterparts. Brick-and-mortar retailers will be able to track and quantify user information in a physical space and personalize marketing strategies with the aid of AI.
Store retailers can tread on following steps to receive benefits of AI-enabled marketing solutions in an offline environment.
1. Benefits of establishing user accounts
eCommerce giants like Amazon can track navigation history and purchasing behavior of buyers from their user accounts to offer personalized shopping experience. Something similar can be tried out by brick-and-mortar retailers.
Think of an app of a shopping mall where buyers can have their user accounts. When someone logs-in to an account, sensors installed in the shopping mall will detect buyers’ presence. Sensors in shopping malls can track frequency of visits and help gather multiple sets of data. Key lies in detecting a pattern in purchasing behavior.
Information thus collected can be used to offer excellent in-store experience. Unlike getting hold of discount coupons or some lucky draw offers during the time of exit, buyers can avail attractive deals before entering the shopping mall. The best thing with AI-enabled marketing solutions is even such discount offers can be personalized.
2. Anticipate the needs of customers
Owners of grocery stores can use AI techniques to offer better in-store experiences to customers. For example, a grocery store owner can generate recurring billing programs and arrange goods commonly bought by a particular customer repeatedly. Such a billing invoice should at first be approved by the customer.
One can also reduce service time. Continuing with the above-mentioned example, as soon as sensor installed in the grocery store will trace the customer’s presence, it will alert staff. They can fill-up shopping carts with selected goods and pack them in the presence of the customer. Later has to just visit the store, pick-up goods, pay for them and leave.
3. Encourage repeated customers
Repeated customers can be encouraged to visit stores more often by matching patterns of their purchasing behavior with patterns of promotions. If some customers visit a store mostly on Wednesday and suddenly give a miss, a store owner can consider sending customized discount offers to them for that day only. Chances are there that they will visit the store while returning from work.
Promotional efforts can be narrowed down to offering deals on product brands also. If buying behavior suggests that some customer buys chocolates of a particular brand regularly, a store owner might float a two-for-one deal for the customer. It might ensure a prolonged consistency in buying pattern.
4. Use AI-enabled chatbots
AI bots like WS voicebot and chatbot powered by ZOE can give accurate answers to queries texted/asked by buyers. Such bots can help enhance both in-store and out-store experiences of buyers. Bots can assist buyers to compare freshness of perishable food items or locate the washroom inside stores. First-time store visitors can locate routes with the guidance of voice bots and chatbots.
It is expected that half-a-decade later AI solutions for brick-and-mortar retail stores will be available at much-reduced prices. Unlike now, even small retail store owners will be able to use AI-enabled solutions to engage buyers, offer an enhanced experience, ensure loyalty and build a good reputation in markets.