Consumers are spending more and money online. Market experts predict that the amount of money customers spend online will only rise, it is therefore legitimate to doubt the sustainability of physical businesses.
Very recently, amidst the pandemic, retailers are closing their shops following the decline in customer traffic and purchases in their physical stores.
Has the whole visiting a store and buying idea failed?
While you may feel it strongly, stats suggest otherwise.
AS Watson Group found that Gen Z love the social and experience aspects of browsing and shopping at physical stores with their friends – 99% of Gen Z shop offline and like shopping in destination stores.(source)
Consumers still enjoy shopping in physical stores. There is no reason why it should change overnight, or even in the years to come. The hands-on experience of buying things after inspecting them physically is still something that most consumers crave.
So, what can boost the offline retail market?
Is it artificial intelligence? Let’s have a look!
According to Capgemini research, Retailers can save as much as $340 billion by taking AI to scale across the value chain, including operations, supply chain, planning, product development, distribution, and more.(source)
Retailers are finally understanding the importance and have started deploying AI solutions for their businesses.
Let’s quickly dive into the other benefits that AI can bring to your retail business and pump new strength to your sales.
Artificial intelligence can take customer experience in your store beyond the online experience.
Indeed, for consumers, the sensory experience remains necessary for certain items that need to be seen, touched & tried, before being purchased; with textile products, jewelry, and decoratives at the forefront.
But what consumers are looking for, above all, is an in-store experience that goes beyond their online experience.
They want transparency, practicality, and personalization like never before.
Some savvy traders have found a way to have their products delivered using technology and therefore find themselves as leaders in transforming the retail business to revive physical businesses.
Here’s how THOUGHT enriches the customer experience in stores by ensuring that customers find the items at the right places, despite other customers misplacing it.
THOUGHT, an American company has developed an autonomous drone responsible for detecting anomalies, such as misplaced products, shortages, and incorrect prices. The drone can move everywhere silently, and it can be activated without the customers of the store noticing it when the store is very busy.
This transformation is relevant for future generations of consumers because it initiates the beginnings of promising customer experience in physical stores.
You get plenty of space to rethink the shopping experience.
For example, more and more stores are introducing the checkout through on-site employees, who can complete customer purchases through their mobiles wherever they are, rather than at the checkout.
This is where artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the customer experience. It is not just doing it in the form of a sales robot, but rather in the form of a tool, which employees can use to provide consumers with a completely redesigned store purchase.
But the primary role of AI lies in its ability to respond to consumers’ questions and concerns.
Sometimes caught off guard, store employees do not necessarily have the answers to questions consumers are asking, and they are forced to contact other stores, or even search on the website.
In other words, these frustrations and delays cause consumers to favor online shopping.
However, with the help of AI, store employees can quickly find answers to customer queries, whether it’s return policies, redeeming loyalty points, but also about the availability of products.
You can have a technology at your disposal that’s here to stay a long time and evolve a million times!
The introduction of AI in stores could therefore compete with e-commerce while having the advantage of being able to offer human assistance if necessary.
But this is just the start. With the help of artificial intelligence, stores can offer an infinitely more personalized on-site experience.
AI can precisely target only the products available in a store and in fact, avoid making general suggestions for products that may be out of stock or unavailable.
Even better, this type of “high-end” in-store service could not be done without the AI in the background which allows quick access to data.
Indeed, it helps to improve the skills of employees in terms of speed and responsiveness, so that they can create differentiating experiences that will encourage customers to return.
A Gartner study shows that by 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI, an increase of 400% from 2017.(source)
As a result, in-store purchases are not going to disappear. The advent of AI is enough to help your retail business evolve with the times. All you need to do is follow and adapt to the expectations of today’s consumers.
Get in touch with our team of AI experts today and find out how our AI solutions can bring success to your offline store in the long term.