Ipsos Retail Performance. Blog.

NRF 2018 key themes: AI in retail


The NRF 2018 Big Show will return in New York City between 14 and 16 January, attracting more than 35,000 delegates from nearly 100 countries. We will be returning as exhibitors, showcasing our retail analytics and customer behavior solutions and here, our North America business development representative, Kelly Fairchild, explains how Artificial Intelligence could become one of the major themes in the retail industry in 2018.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has long been seen as a far-off idea, restricted to sci-fi, however, retailers are beginning to explore how the technology could offer a seamless customer experience. The evidence is there with predictions showing that the global market of AI in retail is expected to grow to USD 5 billion by 2022.

Tech giants Apple and Google are already leading the way, making significant changes to the online shopping experience with the Siri and Home devices. Amazon is also involved in implementing AI in the home with Echo, but this innovation is not only restricted to online consumers.

The Amazon Go store is a pioneering attempt to create a bricks-and-mortar shopping experience with no queues or checkouts. Sensors and deep learning enables customers to shop as they normally would, before just walking out when they are done shopping. Items are tracked in a virtual cart and any purchases are subsequently charged to the individual’s Amazon account. This is a first look at what a retail store of the future may look like once the capabilities of AI have been embraced and implemented. Whilst this is an initial attempt at staff-less stores, there are alternatives to enhance the queuing experience which Ipsos retail Performance has been championing within the retail, banking and restaurant sectors

A less drastic change, where AI is already bringing major results for retailers, is using sales data to help optimize in-store layout. Machine learning can discover patterns in customers’ buying patterns to learn which items are most commonly bought together. Based on this information, retailers can calculate which items to place next to each other to encourage shoppers to purchase further products. Increases in sales are more likely using these methods as this information is based on real data from real customers.

Indeed, with the help of AI, brick-and-mortar customer personalization could finally start to work alongside e-commerce, offering unique selections and offers for individual customers as they enter the store.

Understanding customer behavior has long been a driver to increase conversion rates. At Ipsos Retail Performance, we offer solutions to establish how shoppers navigate stores and how to optimize store layout to reduce congestion and calculate hot and cold spots.

This data will form part of the AI revolution, which will continue to become the norm of retail. I certainly expect the topic of machine learning and automation to be a focal point of the NRF Big Show as retailers work out where to invest in technology to streamline their bricks-and-mortar offerings.

To hear more insights about how Ipsos Retail Performance can offer solutions to optimize customer behavior, traffic counting, queue management and live reporting, join us in New York and come along to see the team on booth 306 at NRF 2018.

Kelly Fairchild

      Kelly Fairchild
      Business Development, Americas
      Ipsos Retail Performance, Chicago

      Email me!
      Book a demo

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