This week the Gartner Symposium is being held in Barcelona. Vidiemme is also present at the event, along with more than 7,500 attendees between CIOs and senior IT managers from the most important companies in the world, to talk about technological innovation in various sectors.
Here then is what emerged on the subject of innovation in Retail.
Artificial Intelligence and Retail: what’s the situation?
The data demonstrated is positive. 16% of retailers say they have already implemented a solution based on AI and as many as 77% say they will do it by 2021. Among the projects currently most adopted are recommendation solutions for user support, Virtual Assistants and Virtual and Augmented Reality solutions.
The reasons that drive a brand to implement AI projects are both economic but above all to improve Customer Experience.
The importance of Customer Experience
Considering that 82% of consumers will no longer use a brand with which they have had a negative experience, it is fundamental for every company to guarantee a successful customer experience. Retailers must therefore think of solutions that always have the consumer as the central focus.
Customer Experience is a concept that is even more important for the so-called Generation Z, a target that in Europe alone totals 117 million consumers, increasingly looking for an omnichannel experience (which Gartner prefers to call Unified Commerce).
Once more this year, in fact, the Gartner Symposium emphasizes the need to create a unified or omnichannel strategy.
How the physical store changes
Contrary to what one might think in an increasingly digital society, the physical store is not losing its importance, but is gaining more and more in this respect!
56% of sales are actually still made in stores. Digital sales, on the other hand, constitute only 38% and the remaining 6% are via call centers and catalogs.
The store however must be significantly renewed, being the point where often the purchase decision is made, as well as the purchase. Robert Hetu, Gartner analyst focused on Retail, said: ” Real time is no longer enough: you have to move in advance!“. So, we move from an adaptive/reactive approach that adapts to the changes underway in consumers to a predictive one, based on data, to anticipate their needs.
Thus, the concept of the configurable store is born: a point of sale in which, for example, the part at the entrance adapts to consumer needs at that precise moment, thanks to the correct use of data and the forecasts deriving from it. All this once again with a view to improving the Customer Experience.
Data therefore acquires ever greater importance. For this reason, it is foreseen that by the end of 2019, 90% of the largest retail companies will have a Chief Data Officer.
Innovation to support Sales Associates
Consumers who come into contact with a brand increasingly want to live a unique experience.
More than anyone else, those who can offer this kind of experience are the Sales Associates. This is why Gartner argues that brands must pay ever more attention to these people within their organization. How? Equipping them with all the tools necessary to make the customer experience truly unique.
Here is the concept of Sales Associate Empowerment, which translates into seeking a balance between digital tools, Artificial Intelligence, automation and human work.
Technology, therefore, must not be seen as a threat to human work, but, on the contrary, as a tool to enhance and improve its efficiency.
Retail companies must be aware of these changes: they must not react by adapting to new developments but must themselves become Early Adopters of solutions. Being leaders and not following other brands, to gain competitive advantage and differentiate themselves in consumers’ eyes. Gartner has therefore introduced the concept of TechQuilibrium – a balance between the traditional and the digital aspect.
These ideas from Gartner confirm that Vidiemme has long been on the right track: the tools at the service of Sales Associates and Field staff, as well as the empowerment of Customer Service operators, have in fact long been at the center of our offer for brands in Retail and other sectors.
Vidiemme therefore confirms itself as a reliable partner for all clients interested in achieving successful Customer Experience.