Empowering offline retailers to thrive in the evolving consumer landscape - Hindustan Times

AI video analytics - Empowering offline retailers to thrive in the evolving consumer landscape

ByHindustan Times
Nov 20, 2023 11:36 AM IST

This article is authored by Atul Rai, co-founder and CEO, Staqu Technologies.

As technology continues to shape the way consumers shop, the retail industry finds itself at a crossroads with the ongoing offline vs. online debate. In recent years, the Indian e-commerce market has witnessed exponential growth, fueled by convenience, wider reach, personalised suggestions, and cost-effectiveness offered by online stores. In comparison, offline retailers have experienced slower growth, that leaves a cavity for technology to play a role and secure their position in the market.

Artificial intelligence tools can now even write for you.(Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash)
Artificial intelligence tools can now even write for you.(Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash)

According to the latest findings by Redseer Research and Analysis, the Indian e-commerce market witnessed an impressive year-on-year growth of 22% in 2022. However, in April 2023, offline retailers reported a more conservative 6% growth compared to sales during the corresponding period in 2022. These statistics underscore the pressing need for brick-and-mortar retail establishments to swiftly embrace innovative approaches and technologies in order to remain competitive. This is particularly crucial as today's consumers seek personalised products and enhanced shopping convenience.

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Therefore, in the quest for increasing customer engagement, retention, and revenue growth, retail businesses can harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to unlock an array of inventive applications. These encompass distinct footfall analytics, real-time occupancy visualisation, efficient queue management, and comprehensive customer journey analysis. Achieving this transformation is feasible through the integration of AI into existing CCTV camera infrastructure. These cameras, which presently operate as passive devices, can be elevated into intelligent analytical units. This evolution empowers them to furnish qualitative insights and data to users, revolutionising their utility and enhancing their contribution.

The insights derived from AI-generated data can be effectively employed to facilitate well-informed business choices. This encompasses elevating the customer's shopping experience, refining marketing strategy, and enabling retailers to adapt store layouts as needed for enhanced customer support. Such valuable information serves to align offline retailers more closely with the consumer insights achieved by their e-commerce counterparts. The subsequent example serves to illustrate the scenario for offline retailers.

For instance, envision yourself as the head of retail marketing, grappling with the task of comprehending the reasons behind lacklustre performance in specific stores within a particular region, despite implementing identical processes as your successful outlets in other areas. To unravel this enigma, you can leverage AI-driven video analytics to gain invaluable insights into the challenges faced by your customers. This advanced technology facilitates a nuanced understanding of footfall patterns, allowing you to precisely identify the distinct demographic preferences in each region. For example, you might uncover that young adult males between the ages of 22 and 27 in northern India display a heightened inclination toward apparel purchases in contrast to their counterparts in the south. Empowered with this discernment, you can dynamically reshape your marketing strategies to engage the relevant audience effectively. This strategic approach will lead to heightened sales and foster business expansion in the previously underperforming geographic area.

AI is proving to be more than just a tool for retailers to comprehend their customers; it's also empowering customers to enhance their purchasing decisions by recognising their own buying habits. This marks just the initial phase of AI's role in the retail sector, where audio-video analytics can yield remarkable insights into customer behaviour. The impact extends beyond customers, as it aids store employees who contribute tirelessly to their employers. AI has the capacity to gauge employee fatigue or stress, indicating the need for rest. Additionally, it can identify absenteeism that may be adversely affecting business operations. AI represents an ongoing progression aimed at continuously refining overall business growth.

In this dynamic retail landscape, the adoption of AI and video analytics is not solely a competitive advantage, but a fundamental requirement for offline retailers. Such technology is imperative for not only thriving but also remaining relevant in an ever-evolving realm of consumer preferences and expectations.

This article is authored by Atul Rai, co-founder and CEO, Staqu Technologies.

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