With the advent of new technologies and trends, the retail industry has undergone massive transformations over the last decade. Today’s retail paradigm is built on a digital foundation—consumers have an entirely new set of behaviors and expectations in regards to shopping.
At the same time, retailers are faced with unprecedented pressures when it comes to growth and profitability. In order to succeed in today’s fluctuating economy, retailers need to shift their perception of how their channels work together.
As offline and online shopping converge into a single, seamless channel, it’s imperative to know how to leverage innovative technologies in order to remain one step ahead of customers’ expectations.
New Customer Demands
Innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) have made instant gratification the status quo of today’s shoppers. Today’s consumers demand:
Bolstered by the promise of AI, consumers are seeking direct communication channels when it comes to their shopping experiences. Whether it’s troubleshooting or simply asking for more information, customers expect instant interaction across a plethora of channels.
Consumers now have the luxury to shop anywhere, anytime—they expect retailers to keep up and provide useful, personalized information whenever and wherever they might be in their purchase journey.
In exchange for personal data regarding location, purchase history, and day-to-day use, customers expect immersive experiences tailored to their unique needs. More so, they want brands to compile personal shopper profiles to ensure seamless, efficient communication across all channels and build long-lasting relationships.
New Retailer Imperatives
It’s not just customers’ behaviors that have changed—retailers too need to embrace a new approach to driving value. Better understanding shoppers’ needs along with a unified approach to retail operations will enable retailers to better serve existing customers and successfully attract new ones. It all starts with:
Generating Insights from Disparate Data
Retailers need to be able to filter through the noise and turn disparate data sources into consumer-first strategies to attract and engage shoppers.
Synchronizing Offline and Online Retail Experiences
Brands can no longer treat their digital and physical shopping channels as separate units—not only does this prevent them from ensuring a frictionless shopping experience, but it also leads to operational inefficiencies.
Empowering Flexible Logistics Networks
Time to forego the traditional supply chain and move towards a more flexible ecosystem that allows brands to keep pace with and respond to consumers’ shifting behaviors.
“AI is going to be like electricity or the internet—it’s going to be foundational technology [on] which most things are built…It takes CRM, it takes all of this other stuff that we’ve been doing for so long and it makes it better than the sum of the parts.”
With the help of AI systems, mobile and digital portals can constantly recreate a user’s digital experience to achieve hyper-relevant displays for every interaction.
Innovative algorithmic engines rely on real-world browsing behaviors to allow shoppers to discover new or similar products using image-based search and analysis.
When in doubt, shoppers can turn to automated assistants for guidance and recommendations based on their needs, preferences, and fit.
Thanks to AI-supported conversational assistants that use natural language processing, you can improve the customer experience by providing shoppers with on-demand, always-available support.
This might sound a bit far fetched, but intelligent retail spaces now have the ability to adapt in-store product displays, pricing, and service through biometric recognition, creating a custom experience for each shopper based on their unique profile, loyalty account or promotions.
How can you ensure that a retail engagement doesn’t miss its mark? By leveraging AI interfaces that use facial, biometric, and audio cues to recognize shoppers’ in-the-moment emotions and responses and deliver appropriate products, recommendations or support.
Optimize supply and fulfillment chains with AI-supported logistics management systems that allow you to adjust inventory, staffing, distribution, and delivery schemes in real time.
Mining key insights from consumer and competitor data is easy with AI business intelligence tools that forecast industry shifts to make proactive changes to a company’s marketing anf business strategies.