To stay relevant, brick-and-mortars are in dire need of AI transformation to enhance the in-store experience.
Retail store operations and front-line sales teams are finding themselves face-to-face with a unique set of challenges. Rising and constantly evolving customer expectations are driving retailers to find new ways to reinvent themselves to provide the value consumers want.
Much of the turmoil in this industry can be attributed to the fact that consumers are seeking a richer, more personalized retail experience that cuts down on the back-and-forth in most conventional retail shops.
Not only are store operations being asked to introduce new systems, processes and tools, but they’re also tasked with adapting store functionality to fit the way associates work, learn, and engage with customers to deliver an enhanced and personalized customer experience.
With foot traffic under pressure thanks to competitive online markets, and profitability under pressure from increasing staff and property costs, retailers have to make every store visit turn into revenue – either at the point of sale in the store or back at home on the customer’s mobile device. They also need to understand and align themselves with the wants and needs of their customers in order to boost both profitability and customer loyalty.
It’s time for retailers to re-evaluate how they’re driving revenue and implement AI in retail so that they’re also increasing associate productivity and reducing operating costs.
Take your brand mobile
The proliferation of digital — and in particular, mobile devices — has turned the buyer/seller relationship inside out. Cisco estimates that the number of connected devices worldwide will reach 50 billion by the end of 2020 — amazing when you consider that earth is home to 7.4 billion people. That’s about 6.7 devices per person!
But for many stores, the mobility revolution has, so far, amounted to little more than a mobile web browser that links back to the corporate website. It’s now time to learn from the technology CX leaders (think Apple, Nike, etc.), and create a single pane of glass for associates and managers to realize the promise of mobile sales enablement software.
With today’s solutions, every associate, manager, and remote corporate operations team can get all the learning, corporate communications, sales and marketing content, and even team collaboration through a single scalable native app – that runs on the store mobile device. These new retail apps transform how each associate gets the information they need to do their job, and also provide a level of insight about their engagement that just was not available before.
Leverage in-store AI
While there is a lot of hype over AI in retail, we are starting to see a tangible set of tasks that AI can really impact for the associate. And it all starts with recommendations. Just like social media sites recommend content, AI technologies can, in a controlled environment, recommend tasks that a retail associate should do – either guiding them down a required learning path to improve customer engagement, or ensuring that they get trained ahead of a new product launch.
Sales enablement platforms powered by smart, machine learning based systems are transforming the level of engagement of retail associates and helping store ops to drive productivity and skills in ways that previously were not feasible.
Drive revenue and performance
Faced with the reality of an increasingly competitive and challenging retail environment, what can store ops teams do to help drive and protect top line revenue while improving the performance of associates?
With the power of smart mobility and AI-driven recommendations, new approaches to information distribution are presenting store ops with new opportunities to move the needle in three key areas.
With AI in retail, we can now…
- Improve learning and training by moving it from the back office to customer facing, which in turn helps with freeing up square footage, makes the associate feel supported, and improves flexibility of staffing.
- Improve win rates by delivering better, more compelling information available at the exact point of need to create new revenue opportunities.
- Be more productive with on-the-floor completion of tasks, stock takes and forms, and by automatically comparing systems as associates and managers go about their day.
Improve your impact on the customer
But most importantly, it’s customer relationships that count – and with mobile and AI transformation in the retail industry working together, you can change how that relationship is formed and developed.
With AI in retail, you can know when a customer comes into the store, understand their actions on the web or previous visits, and make recommendations for the associate to drive sales in areas that really interest the customer. Retailers who embrace the power of mobile and AI-powered sales enablement tools will learn they can sell smarter and engage smarter to deliver improved top line and lower costs – all while delighting customers.
Learn more about how Bigtincan is facilitating the AI transformation in retail and empowering retail sales teams to revolutionize the shopping experience for their customers.