It could be said that in a world of limited traffic, conversion is king! As brick-and-mortar stores experience declining traffic, seizing every opportunity to convert customers is more important than ever. "Conversion pinch points" – those critical locations where a buying decision often requires personal assistance – exist in virtually every store. But how can retailers identify and respond to these valuable sales building opportunities without increasing staffing costs?
The Conversion Challenge
A well-known conversion pinch point exists just outside the entrance of many stores. All those big-ticket seasonal items – riding lawn mowers, BBQ grills, ATVs, snowmobiles, and more – often attract the attention of arriving shoppers. Yet, it can be frustratingly difficult to find a store associate to answer questions, much less facilitate a sale. Since these items are rarely urgent essentials, but rather aspirational items, the pinch point effect often prevails and the prospective buyer's dreams of a shiny new grill or performance snowmobile are quickly and easily put off for some other day. A sale opportunity lost, possibly to an online retailer or even a competitor. Engaging shoppers with knowledgeable staff at that critical moment of interest can turn losses into wins; but how can store personnel know exactly when assistance is needed?
AI Comes to the Rescue!
Artificial intelligence has the power to turn ordinary sensors and cameras into customer engagement detecting sentinels. Imagine a store associate tasked with monitoring customers browsing outdoor big-ticket merchandise. A well-trained store associate would look for customers who are "kicking the tires", they would identify customers displaying behaviors that indicate they're perhaps interested in making a purchase. Once identified, our trusty store associate would engage these customers, answer questions, and use their training to help convert the customer. Leveraging the power of AI, retailers can now teach machines to perform this very important, yet labor intensive task, of identifying "interested customers" based on their behaviors. Ordinary cameras can now silently observe each shopper's behavior and only trigger once a specific set of behaviors are identified. Almost exactly as our trusty store associate was doing before only without the labor cost. Once identified, the system can notify the appropriate store associate who can then respond to this "qualified" customer and take advantage of a valuable conversion opportunity. Prompt engagement of the interested shopper by the right associate at the right time ensures the valuable conversion opportunity is not missed.
This powerful functionality is available today. Using existing asset protection cameras, Indyme's AI-based AutoAssist™ technology individually tracks shoppers dwelling in a high-value merchandise zone, detects their behaviors, and identifies those exhibiting interest in targeted merchandise. Once a shopper meets the "interested shopper" criteria, a knowledgeable store associate is notified via existing in-store communication devices to respond and provide assistance.
AutoAssist is one of many exciting new solutions leveraging AI to increase retail operational effectiveness while helping control payroll costs. Given the prospect of a $15 federal minimum wage, the timing for judicious application of labor where and when needed is increasingly critical to brick and mortar retail success. Using AI to automate labor-intensive tasks can make today's store smarter, increasingly effective, and more efficient – benefits every retailer can embrace in these challenging times.