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Analytics In Retail: Powering Offline Festive Shopping Experience In 2021

AI with analytics is increasingly being incorporated into the daily operations and functioning of offline or brick-and-mortar stores

Festive seasons are the big opportunity for the offline retailers to grow their consumer engagement and shopping experience. The post-COVID-19 retail has witnessed a huge AI disruption that has revolutionized the way retailers operate, run and thrive. This festive season, retailers across industries are gearing up with new product launches and attractive finance schemes along with seamless shopping experience to woo customers. Consumers are progressively seeking the personalized, hassle-free shopping experience, global brands are hence aligning their offerings to meet the renewed customer expectations. Retailers are increasingly using AI, ML and predictive analytics, to gain valuable real time insights into inventory, consumer behavior, latest trends, demand forecasting, in-store operations and personalized recommendations. With 87% of the consumers in India planning to shop this festive season, formulating smart campaigns using near real time data analytics will be the key to spike up festive sales.

Here a few of the ways in which retailers can use AI to boost festive sales.

Adopt Data Analytics combined with AI for Inventory and Pricing Strategy

AI with analytics is increasingly being incorporated into the daily operations and functioning of offline or brick-and-mortar stores. Adoption of such advanced solutions will enable retailers to forecast sales, improve pricing strategy and optimize product placement. Using bots can help detect products going out of stock or approaching expiration dates to avoid inventory shortage concern ahead of time specially during festive season when inventory management becomes a hard task. Again, integrating technology into the warehouse unit will help ensure product availability. Incorporating their entire administrative functioning into AI powered tools will allow them to collect product data, sales and other key information from the market directly and devise effective pricing strategies, get an edge over competitors, both online and offline, during festive season when all are in a rat race to win over customers.

Opt for Customer Behavior Analytics and Personalization

Today retailers are leveraging the algorithm backed mechanism to navigate the entire consumer journey that enables to make better product suggestions, faster checkouts and facilitates convenience. These models profile the consumer journey and analyze the data based on the previous interactions, demographic data, preferences and customer data in real time to provide targeted recommendations to customers, ultimately, drives increased sales. Consumers are turning to personalized recommendations to drive purchase behavior and, in fact, 51 % of consumers expect retailers to anticipate their needs well before they personally interact with the brand. Hyper-personalization is impelling the industry to go beyond the market segmentation and offer tailor made personalized offerings accordingly. Chatbots are another great option as they can self-learn from past data to refine customer interactions with more personalized recommendations.

Croma is one of the examples who is using big data and analytics to analyse consumer behaviour and tweak its business strategies. The electronics retail giant has developed an inventory management system between offline stores and online to allow them to offer more aggressive timelines for delivery and therefore out-compete the marketplaces.

Enhancing In-store experience

Retailers aren’t just using AI powered data for inventory, pricing but also for improving overall in-store experience. Take example of Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, that has streamlined offline shopping by allowing shoppers to move in, grab items and leave merely. This has only resulted in giving much needed convenience to the customers as retailers offer quick and convenient checkout experiences to customers by eliminating checkout lines.

Conclusion

While some retailers hope for a significant recovery in sales during the upcoming festive season, most of the categories, including FMCG and consumer durables and electronics, are expecting the festive season sales to touch pre-pandemic levels this year. The offline retailers are also getting push from e-commerce players as Flipkart is connecting more than 5,000 offline brand stores on its platform this festive season. This engagement is meant to help offline sellers to leverage Flipkart’s expertise and customer reach to help stores grow their business through technology support.

Source: Business World

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