What is AI and AR?
In 2020, there was a threat of a retail apocalypse wherein E-commerce was a major factor contributing towards the shift from brick-and-mortar shopping to home/online shopping. Retail resurgence was expected in 2021 but with the onset of the global pandemic, E-commerce won the race. There is still a large debate about the apocalypse – the end of physical shopping and the rise of online sales.
A wide range of technologies have contributed towards this new scenario, including digital signage with the incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR).
In the retail industry, AI involves the use of automation, data and machine learning technology to create algorithms with an aim to deliver hyper-personalized experiences via LED sign programming, to consumers in both physical and online worlds.
With sophisticated AR technology, customers can walk through a store before actually visiting the physical location. The use of augmented reality enables them to get a feel of the products they are interested in and learn about the essential details beforehand.
“AI + AR = hyper personalization. Hyper-personalization = happier customers”. (Digital Signage Today)
How AI can personalize shopping experiences
The huge array of tools that come with Artificial Intelligence helps to recognize buying patterns of consumers. This information is automatically refined as more and more data is collected and extensive patterns are formed. With interactive digital signage, customers themselves will provide contact information and personal preferences. Moreover, with consumer behavioral patterns, you can predict customer needs and cater to demands easily.
By knowing which products are in demand, AI helps your store keep up-to-date with stocks so that customers don’t switch to competitors when you are out of stock. Automated supply chain facilities will identify fast moving items and which items run fast in which seasons and can automatically place orders from your suppliers, thereby ensuring you have sufficient stock at all times to offer optimum shopping experiences to your target market.
With AI and automated learning, retailers can now deliver experiences not to a targeted group but in a highly personalized manner. For example, in a customer loyalty application, each customer can be given the best recommendations of your products to improve their shopping experience not only in the store but also on digital shopping platforms.
Furthermore, with the help of chatbots, ultimate personalized experiences can be offered. Chatbots can assist with navigation, and also help customers quickly locate a product without having to browse through the entire website or physical store. Chatbots can also recommend certain accessories and products that complement a customer’s initial requirement to boost sales further. Clothing retailers for example can encourage customers to upload pictures of their desired outfits so that your chatbot can suggest similar designs from your collection. This will instantly impress customers and guarantee their return for future clothing requirements.
How AR can enhance shopping experiences
Augmented reality provides an immersive and interactive experience by incorporating real-life objects with computer-generated visuals on high quality indoor and outdoor LED displays. In simple words, AR is to navigate through a physical store as if it were an online platform. For example, at a clothing store, customers can see how a particular outfit looks on them, which size and which color would suit them best before physically trying it on. Also, when purchasing home interior items, AR allows to visualize the product in your environment to see if it fits the aesthetics and interior of the room.
Some of the features that AR technology allows retailers to offer their customers for a better and unique experience are:
- Displaying audio-visual information when viewing a product label
- Displaying elements of multimedia on a real image
- Pointing a smartphone at an aisle to display navigation guides for an interesting product
As a technical milestone, retailers should be able to understand customer preferences with the use of technology and provide a personalized experience whether the customer is at your physical store or whether they are browsing online with their smartphones.
Retailers must keep in mind though that the application of technology and LED sign advertising should be considered a strategy, not an objective. The central focus should be the customer, and how their experience within your physical store will be comfortable, smooth, seamless, and excellent overall, just like it would be when browsing the e-commerce platform of the same brand.