Written by Roger Bigio | CRO, Juganu
We live in a Physical world, our daily activities are as physical as it gets, "the real world" as we know it. Take grocery shopping as an example, it hasn’t really changed much in the past century, From the customer’s point of view, it’s the same routine our ancestors experienced: taking a shopping cart, cruising the aisles, being influenced by promotional campaigns, selecting products, and then heading to the check-out.
Despite the emergence of online shopping, 84% of the total retail sales are still conducted in Brick & Mortar mode, you heard right!
For the store owner/retailer, the paradigm has not changed dramatically either. Irrespective of the size of the store – be it a corner mini-market, or a Hypermarket – the challenges and pain points faced by retailers are common, the main differences are scale and business model.
Retail owners or managers are concerned about similar things, here are some of the highlights:
- Profitability while offering products and services available
- Keeping operational costs to a minimum
- Controlling inventory
- Creating enticing promotions
- Ensuring employees work efficiently
- In-store Security, safety, and shoplifting reduction
- Customer satisfaction: ensuring customer recurrence, loyalty & Promotions to entice them further.
- Availability of analytics and data on which to base management decisions
To achieve all the above meant spending big money, and therefore jeopardizing the challenging margin retailers have today to stay in the game.
But what if retailers could fulfill their needs instantly through the implementation of AI services at their stores resulting in an online experience in the physical store?
Today, thanks to computer vision-AI, A traditional physical store can create a digital twin, which is a new concept for retail operations – enabling the platform to take actionable data and turn it into immediate solutions for the benefit of the customer & Retailer.
Confusing? Here is where it gets interesting, I’ll give some examples:
- How about tracking and pushing promotions based on what the customer picks up? Diapers? Well, we have a whole variety of products for you, here they are….
- Perhaps a customer needs help? Lift your hand and we will be glad to approach and help you.
- Why some shelves are empty? Let’s send a warning message to send someone to fill these shelves
The first question I ask when I meet a CIO is: "What if you could become equal to the e-commerce giants by knowing who is walking into your store, what if from the moment they walk in, you can give them an enhanced experience, entice them to get deals that interest them – and I'm not talking about when they are at the checkout, but by immediately! launching promotions and merchandising campaigns accurately targeted to their desires and needs, and even linking them to loyalty programs?
I add: "What if you could track shoplifting and significantly reduce shrinkage, by being able to identify recurring red-listed offender
s before they even get into the store? What if you could receive real-time data and analytics on shopping patterns, the number of customers in the store, and performance analytics, instantly, at your fingertips, allowing you to make important management decisions in real time?
And then, as a kicker, I’ll ask: "What if you could give the customer a far more satisfying shopping experience with quicker checkout, optimized lanes, and future frictionless options? And would customers not value the ability to be able to access the store’s WiFi and 5G capabilities? Don’t you think this would all lead to customer satisfaction and greater loyalty - among the key objectives of any retail manager?"
Until today, one of the biggest challenges for a retailer wanting to transform into a Smart Store is the cost and complication of installing new infrastructure, typically requiring tens of vendors to handle electricity, lighting, network cabling, CCTV cameras, monitors, sensors, access points, etc.
"This probably costs me a fortune" is one of the most famous answers I get.
But what if high-cost and time concerns are eliminated?
What if I told you that an entire installation is quick and easy, ensuring minimum disruption to the store activity, Installations are transparent and non-intrusive, reducing customer objections to visible surveillance equipment, and ensuring the maintenance of store layout? An entire store can be transformed into smart overnight, eliminating downtime and customer inconvenience.
This is only the beginning, the very tip of what is heading our way. The future is already here!