Enter the era of intelligence: the rise in artificial intelligence is changing the way the consumer goods industry operates and how shoppers connect with the brands, products, and companies that have their interest. Consumer goods trends are changing thanks to the ability to use artificial intelligence to collect data, interact with customers, capture images, and more–and many of those changes are creating a permanent impact on customer expectations for retail interactions.
1. AI can automate intelligent capture of in-store surveys to match planograms. How you place the items on retail shelves can have a big impact on your sales–and artificial intelligence is there to help you generate insights on those efforts. Your reps can use a camera on a mobile device to capture images and provide much more information than text or voice. Your artificial intelligence system can monitor several key factors concerning your setup, including:
- Managing inventory levels and whether or not there are empty spaces on your shelves that need to be filled in, regardless of the reason for the emptiness
- Improper product placement, especially placement that has been proven not to work in your store
- Proper ordering timelines, helping you to keep items in stock so that you don’t miss out on sales simply because you don’t have those items
When you don’t properly stock your shelves–including both failure to manage items properly and failure to keep adequate items in stock–you lose out on sales. Not only that, how items are arranged can have a big impact on your overall sales. Keeping impulse items at eye level, placing items that will interest children where they’re most likely to catch little eyes, and highlighting appropriate seasonal items are pieces of the puzzle, but they’re not the only things that matter! By using the right artificial intelligence platform, you can more effectively place items throughout stores, arrange your display, and keep each display looking its best.
2. AI-Powered guided selling and quoting acts as an automated assistant for your field sales reps. Many customers don’t know what they want to buy when your reps come into a store or when they are searching for items online. In some cases, your reps using a mobile application can provide the suggested order and next best action. Your staff needs the help that artificial intelligence can provide. Artificial intelligence can offer several benefits for field sales and merchandisers including:
- Information about recommended products, SKUs, pricing, promotions, including the products that fit a customer’s specific criteria
- Recommendations tailored to the customer’s needs, based on customers’ past buying choices and preferences
- Predictions based on machine learning of sales data from similar stores
- Detailed questions about the product a customer is looking for in order to help better shape the recommendation
Having AI-powered assistants frees up your staff to efficiently answer the questions asked by customers. In many cases, AIs may be more knowledgeable about the products than your staff, especially new team members or distributor team members who are working during busy holiday seasons.
3. Consumers are able to combine in-person browsing with online shopping more effectively. Online shopping has become increasingly popular for many shoppers, who are looking for better deals, a larger selection, or different products than they’re able to find in stores. From smart apps that combine a customer’s in-person shopping experiences with the items that they search online to AI programs that allow shoppers to take pictures of items that interest them in person, then continue their shopping online, there are plenty of ways artificial intelligence can act to combine online and offline shopping.
Artificial intelligence is also positioned to make it easier for shoppers to find the products that they’re looking for in stores, increasing in-store sales for stores that are struggling to bring in customers. By integrating online and offline shopping, it’s possible that artificial intelligence will permanently transform the way customers interact with their preferred brands. Not only that, the right artificial intelligence offerings can help bring customers back to stores. While it won’t eradicate online shopping altogether, as artificial intelligence grows, it has the potential to make the in-person shopping experience easier and more effective for customers.
4. AI provides enhanced personalization. Today’s consumers, more than any others, prefer a personalized shopping experience. They expect brands to deal with them directly, providing ads, mailings, and communications that are geared toward their specific needs. For millennials, this is a critical part of the buying process–and AI has the potential to take this personalization offline and bring it to inside the store, AI has the potential to transform their entire shopping experience. Smart phones that have stores’ apps don’t have to stop at pushing notifications to the phone. They can also connect users to the on-screen advertisements throughout the store, ensuring that customers’ attention is drawn to the products that are most likely to interest them. This includes information about sales, products that match items that customers have shown an interest in during past browsing sessions, and even items that they’ve looked at online.
Artificial intelligence is permanently changing the way most customers are able to interact with businesses–and the information that businesses are able to gather about each customer. Enhanced data collection combined with a variety of artificial intelligence options can create a new shopping experience throughout many retail facilities: greater personalization, enhanced communication, and improved store arrangement are only some of the things artificial intelligence can offer.
If you want to stay on the cutting edge of technology and check out the future of artificial intelligence, Ivy Mobility offers incredible options that will help you bring the future to the consumers shopping for your products today.