The Future of Retail with AI

Personalisation and recommendation app software is everywhere and particularly successful in music and social media. It’s interesting to see, as artificial intelligence (AI) technology grows more familiar to the masses, the positive impact it could have on the overall shopping experience.

What would a shopping centre look like if it provided the same speed, relevance and personalisation as online channels such as Netflix, Amazon or Spotify?

Shopping centre strategies have become centred around placemaking to improve the guest and tenant experience. Considering mobile technology is used by almost everybody – with increasing confidence – digital innovations are equipping retailers with apps and data gathering technology to improve current processes.

Hammerson is a prime example of the power AI can have on the retail experience. Consumer research uncovered customers are not maximising Hammerson’s diverse tenant mix, with visitors stuck in a routine of going to the same 4-5 stores and completing the same route around the centre each visit. This needs to change. In order for centres to compete with online, they need to ensure consumers are enjoying the schemes full offering. In response, Hammerson has introduced Style Seeker, a new tool on their PLUS app which enables shoppers to take an image of an item on any medium – magazine, website or social media – and search the entire shopping centre’s inventory for similar items. The results found 94% of users would be encouraged to visit different or more stores using Style Seeker – increasing footfall, delivering new customers and driving sales for their tenants.

Amazon Go is another major development in the retail space, allowing customers to shop with no check-out required.  Wait time can have a major impact on consumers willingness to spend and ultimately, their desire to visit a store or centre, so this could impact massively on the number of transactions. At Amazon Go stores, customers simply use the app to enter the store, and technology automatically detects when products are taken/returned to shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. This eliminates queues and wait-time while delivering invaluable data to the retailer.

Customer insights gained through AI are incomparable! Consumer data is processed through various algorithms and can predict what products they are likely to purchase next, assist in designing more profitable store layouts and decide which promotions will resonate best with each individual shopper.

There are numerous examples of AI being implemented such as SMART dressing room mirrors, robots to monitor stock levels, health & safety and store cleanliness, video sensor shopping carts and mobile help-desk kiosks to name a few. Many retailers are yet to introduce AI, but it is clearly becoming a fast-growing trend with retailers realising it is an essential tool to stay competitive and meet consumer expectations.

Artificial Intelligence is powering the retail experience. It has become key to building an engaged and loyal consumer base and paramount in achieving personalisation for each customer.

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