New types of consumption behaviour have emerged over the last ten years. Disillusion and failure are the fate of those brands which failed to adapt and ended up going bankrupt. The new behaviors, triggered by the digital revolution, have resulted in a huge increase in online purchases. Brands need to rethink their customer experience strategy if they don’t want to be the next to close their stores.
What strategy to adopt?
There is a variety of focus points, which implies for instance that retailers rethink how they advise their customers since this is why they still visit physical POS. However, the most important thing is to find a solution to the biggest pain points for customers: the waiting time at the register and articles being out of stock. Artificial intelligence, and more specifically visual analysis and image recognition, seems to provide the most appropriate solutions.
Cutting queueing time
Nobody likes to wait, especially not at a time when everything or almost everything is instantaneous. How many customers change their minds at the very entrance or turn back with the item in their hands when they see a (too) long queue? Queues are probably the biggest obstacle for physical stores. 89% of consumers say that they’ve already left a store because of a too-long line at the register. Of course, nobody is equally patient. Nonetheless, nobody likes to wait. For instance, 60% of French consumers say that waiting time should not exceed 5 minutes.
Visual recognition is a truly interesting option since it makes it possible to forecast when a queue is building up and therefore to adapt the staffing. In addition, this solution “cashier-less” stores possible.
Put into practice
Computer vision, or visual recognition, enables to count people and to detect when queues are building up so that the store manager is notified from the very beginning and can adapt the staffing.
It’s also possible to develop a self-checkout system to avoid queues. It can be done by using a customer database with customers’ facial signatures and contact details so that they automatically receive their invoice based on the products identified in their cart when leaving the store. The implementation of visual recognition solutions for such purposes will demand more efforts, but it enables you to go much further when it comes to customer experience optimization.
A system for queue forecasting generally helps to increase sales on average by 3-4% during the first month of use. This figure can rocket depending on the type of store. In the long run, enhanced customer experience can have a positive influence on the loyalty rate which in turn can positively affect the annual turnover.