One sector that can benefit from AI is retail, especially physical stores that are now in constant need to optimize shops and improve service amid increased competition.
One sector that can benefit from AI
, especially physical stores that are now in constant need to optimize shops and improve service amid increased competition. Stronger demands for advanced retail analytics, then, have led to the rise of many relevant solution providers.
Needless to say, competition has become fiercer in the retail sector. Especially for physical or offline retailers, the stakes are higher as they compete with their online counterparts.
To optimize revenue generated from in-store shoppers, offline retailers need detailed, precise information about them – not just gender and age but also which parts of the store they visit more often, what items they touch and, in case they end up not making any purchases, why this might be so.
This information is something that customers are unlikely to share with the retailer but that is extremely important in the retailer’s optimization efforts. For example, the scenario where 300 shoppers come to a store, 50 try clothes on and two make purchases and the scenario where 300 come, two try clothes on and two make purchases may be the results of two different root causes and may require two optimization approaches. If the retailer can find these insights through advanced retail analytics, they can have a better chance for success at store optimization and revenue growth.
In this regard, SkyREC has the solution that meet retailers’ needs for data-driven decision-making. SkyREC’s AI takes video streams from third-party IP cameras and analyzes the following: customer’s behavior, for example how they move about in the store, the products they touch and even the part of shelf that they reach; as well as their facial features, for example gender, age and whether the customer is VIP. The data is then transmitted to the cloud where reports are generated.
Compared to other retail analytics solutions providers, SkyREC stands out as they have their own consultancy service that customers can elect to get. “We do not just provide the sensors. We provide the complete optimization service,” said Eva Wu, VP of Business Development at SkyREC. “We have an AI model that can run a half year worth of data in 2 minutes to general reports. The client can take the reports and use them in their own optimization efforts. Or, if they so choose, they can consult data scientists at our data mining department on how their shops can be optimized.”
According to Eva, SkyREC’s current retail clients are those where end customers come in contact with products on shelves. These include fashion, cosmetics, home-living and 3C retail chains. Now the company is also in talks with coffee shops and restaurants to find new opportunities, Eva said.
Meanwhile, location-based solutions are also becoming more popular in retail where users can find stores easily and shops can offer a better shopping experience. In these instances, tracking technologies are needed.
Even though GPS is a good tracking technology, it often works poorly indoors, prompting retailers in indoor environments – in malls and airports, for example – to demand better solutions. In this regard, Pointr delivers an AI-based indoor tracking solution that targets a variety of verticals, including retail.
“We’ve built Pointr Deep Location, an indoor location platform that enables highly accurate positioning of people and assets inside buildings,” said Marianne Slamich, Head of Marketing at Pointr. “The Deep Location platform utilizes sensor fusion techniques and machine-learning algorithms
to provide incredible accuracy both in terms of blue-dot location and orientation.”
The solution can benefit retailers and customers alike, Slamich said. “Brick-and-mortar retailers can enable personalized shopping journeys by providing mobile store guides and contextual notifications to visitors as they shop. They are able to analyze the physical flow of shoppers through detailed statistics and heatmaps, so as to inform merchandising decisions and to measure the value of their campaigns,” she said. “We also work with large venues to enable a range of location-based services that improve the visitor experience such as indoor navigation, location sharing and contextual notifications. How often have you had a hard time locating a shop inside in a bustling shopping center or an airport? What if you could get food delivered at your gate, wherever you are in an airport? That’s where we come in.”
Slamich says that their solution has already been deployed at Harrods and some of the largest US retailers. Other verticals such as airports and corporates can benefit as well, she said.