How can retailers bring the best of digital commerce to physical stores?
There are many benefits to e-commerce — speed to market and the ability to quickly react and optimize merchandising strategy and rich data to personalize the customer shopping experience, to name a few. At the recent 2020 Future Stores conference in Miami, a frequent theme was working out how retailers take these elements and leverage them in brick and mortar store environments.
When Foot Locker designed its new community store prototype, speed to market and the ability to react quickly was top of mind. According to Kambiz Hemati, former VP, global retail design for the footwear chain, fixtures were designed to be modular and flexible so they could quickly re-merchandise the store based on sales trends, customer behavior and local events.
A study from Boston Retail Partners, found that 79 percent of consumers identify personalized service from a sales associate as an important factor in determining the store they choose to shop. Personalized service these days, however, is more than a friendly hello and engaging conversation. It’s about taking those personal interactions and offering solutions for the shopper. One way to provide meaningful solutions is to utilize data.
Retailers are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) technology to give associates in-store recommendation engines that are based on customer purchase behavior. Oscar Sachs, CEO of Salesfloor, shared a case study of a retailer utilizing technology that allows associates to communicate directly with in-store customers, providing opportunities to upsell and recommend products based on past behavior.
Both legacy retailers and digitally native brands spoke of testing more AI-enabled technologies at the physical point of purchase. From dynamic price signage to personalized merchandise recommendations sent via mobile, we’re just at the beginning of bringing the best of e-commerce to physical retail.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the best use cases for AI-enabled technology in-store? How should retailers determine which new technologies to introduce and then go about rolling them out in stores?