How to Meet – and Exceed – Customer Expectations in a Reimagined Retail Landscape

Key Takeaways

  • With so many computer vision, artificial intelligence, and IoT technologies available, it can be difficult to find a starting point. Implement a digital transformation roadmap to build long-term success.

  • Start with smart retail solutions, such as cameras and IoT devices, that identify your customers’ needs using digital demographics.

  • Plan out how digital transformation can make the best use of your workers’ skills and time, what tools will make their jobs easier, and how their roles will change.

  • Bring the benefits of online shopping to brick-and-mortar locations with digital displays, smart shelves, and curated ads for a personalized and informative shopping experience.

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As businesses work to encourage customers to return to their premises, they must demonstrate and maintain a hygienic and safe environment that adheres to the latest health guidelines. At the same time, retailers must aim to provide an engaging customer experience that makes shopping, dining and socializing in-store enjoyable.

IoT and AI-based technologies are essential tools in meeting this goal. From implementing touchless kiosk systems to improving in-store signage and customer flow management, retailers can make impactful changes quickly, and at relatively low cost. This article explores the benefits and opportunities of doing so, and how a range of Intel® technologies can help to make these IoT and AI-driven use cases a reality.

Deliver Touch-Free, Hygienic User Interfaces

Many customers are understandably concerned about potential health risks when shopping in-store. One way that retailers can help to lessen these worries is by offering a range of touchless checkpoints. Innovations such as gesture and voice recognition enable customers to search for products and navigate around the store without the need to touch a kiosk or enter close contact with a store employee.

At the checkout, computer vision makes it possible to accurately ‘see’ items in a customer’s cart, avoiding the need for every product to be scanned. From the retail edge to the cloud, data collected by the point of sale system can also generate tailored product recommendations, helping retailers make better decisions about product promotions. This in turn will help build customer loyalty, and keep shoppers coming back.

Improve Customer Flows Through the Store 

With the ability to connect to Wi-Fi or 5G, Intel technology-based interactive kiosks, smart cameras, sensors and edge computing hubs can help reassure customers that their in-store experience is as safe as possible. For instance, smart cameras using computer vision capabilities can keep count of the number of customers in a given area, and the direction in which they’re moving. If an area becomes too crowded to properly enable social distancing, or people are moving the wrong direction through a one-way area, an alert can be triggered. This will help staff to take corrective action and help ensure safety is maintained. Meanwhile, temperature sensors at the entrance to a store could help ensure that anyone coming in is not running a fever.

Help Staff Prioritize Their Time Spent on the Shop Floor

Maintaining an accurate inventory is a major challenge for retailers, especially as workers must socially distance – both from each other, and customers. This means reducing the amount of time workers spend on the shop floor, so they can focus on meeting shoppers’ needs as safely as possible.

AI inventory management solutions use smart shelves to quickly identify out-of-stock items and pricing errors. Inventory robots can alert staff to low stock or misplaced items for more-up-to-date inventories. And computer vision‒enabled checkout systems can help mitigate product loss in real time. As a result, retailers can run stores more efficiently and free up associates’ time to focus on improving the shopping experience.

Begin Your Store Transformation with Intel

Intel® technologies support a host of AI and computer vision use cases that can help retailers to reimagine their stores safely:

Explore more use case examples for using IoT to enrich and enhance the customer experience in a post-Covid world, and learn how you can go about implementing them in your own organization, in this handbook.