Nearly 80% of shoppers interact with brands or products online before visiting a physical store. What they find through digital – may it be information, inspiration, or reviews – helps them prepare their visit and partly make up their mind. 45% of these shoppers actually find that using digital makes it easier to shop in-store. On top of this, using digital when being in the store leads to a 20% higher conversion rate! (Deloitte)
The rise of digital assistants … in stores
Acknowledging these facts, it’s no surprise to see retailers experiment with mobile digital assistants, meant to assist shoppers who prefer to lead their own shopping journey, while other shoppers are invited to seek the advice of a salesperson.
One of such retailers is Macy’s, the American retailer, which has made omnichannel innovation one of its objectives. Indeed, the chain has worked with IBM Watson to offer an AI-powered digital assistant to its clients. Tested in 10 stores, this in-store digital service is called “On call”. What it does is provide guidance to shoppers, based on: real-time, geolocalization, and machine learning.
At its launch, On call mostly answered requests regarding the location of products in the store. It recognizes product types and brand sot provide the specific location of what shoppers are looking for.
Online to offline to online…
While this is just the beginning of what AI can bring to stores, it is a service crafted for shoppers who prefer not to ask sales persons for information, and enjoy being on their own while shopping. It is interesting to see how a physicial asset of stores (concierge or sales persons) are inspiring digital services to please all customers in stores.
Such inspiration is also feeding new online services for e-commerce shoppers, such as the personal shopper video chat, call or bot service of 24 Sèvres, LVMH’s brand new luxury e-commerce. More on this later!