This article was based on the interview with Joe Shasteen from RetailNext by Greg Kihlström, MarTech keynote speaker for The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlström podcast. Listen to the original episode here:
Retail spaces must meet customer needs and provide a positive customer experience in order to thrive in the digital age. With the continuing increase in online shopping, physical retailers must find ways to differentiate themselves and attract customers. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics come into play.
One key aspect of meeting customer needs is through interaction with products and associates. Many customers still prefer to go into stores because they want to see and touch the products before making a purchase. They also value the assistance and expertise of store associates. Therefore, it is crucial for retail spaces to ensure that they are meeting these needs. Associates should be available on the sales floor to answer questions and provide help when needed. By doing so, retailers can create a positive and engaging experience for customers.
Data can play a significant role in understanding and improving the in-store experience. One metric that can be used is pass by traffic, which provides insights into the overall opportunity of a location. By analyzing pass by traffic, retailers can determine the potential value of different locations and make informed decisions about real estate. This metric helps retailers understand the flow of people walking outside their doors and identify locations with higher pass by traffic.
Interior analytics and interior dwells are additional metrics that can provide valuable insights into customer behavior within the store. Retailers can analyze where customers go when they first enter the store, what captures their attention, and where they interact with products. This information helps retailers understand the customer journey and identify areas for improvement. By making layout changes and optimizing the in-store experience, retailers can enhance the overall customer experience and drive positive shopping behavior.
Mixed spaces, which combine retail with other amenities such as living spaces, theaters, dining, and children’s playgrounds, are also becoming increasingly important in the future of retail. These mixed-use spaces provide a sense of permanence and attract a consistent flow of traffic. By diversifying the offerings within a retail space, malls can create a destination that offers more than just shopping. This strategy aims to bring people back into retail stores and provide them with a reason to visit.
Retail spaces must adapt to meet customer needs and provide a positive experience in order to thrive in the digital age. AI and advanced analytics can provide valuable insights into customer behavior and help retailers optimize their operations. By leveraging data and technology, retailers can create personalized experiences and compete with online retailers. However, it is important for retailers to prioritize data privacy and compliance to build trust with customers. With the right implementation of AI, physical retail can continue to evolve and provide unique and engaging experiences for customers.