Facial Detection and AI Helping Customize Retail Experiences

When shopping online, today’s customers want all the personalization of an in-store experience. And when they walk into a brick-and-mortar store, they want continuity from this online experience, based on the choices they made across all other touchpoints.

Savvy retailers have met these expectations by pulling in incredible amounts of data for highly personalized cross-channel offerings. Online, they’re performing advanced real-time analytics on customer behavior to deliver digital experiences tailored around customers’ interests and needs. In store, they’re using cutting-edge software to understand who’s looking at displays, and to engage, entice, interact and motivate action.

This level of personalization uses artificial intelligence (AI) for facial analytics. It is an essential tool for any retailer who aims to keep up with the changing expectations of digital consumers and find more effective ways to generate revenue. Here’s how the power of AI and facial detection enable a deeper understanding of customers and provide more personalized experiences.

Two humans look at a tablet.

What visual experiences do

The goal of in-store personalization is to deliver experiences that are as individually tailored as those online. While this might sound like a tall order, the truth is that the latest digital displays can collect analytics and deliver content just as precise as those of any web platform.

Only 13 percent of in-store eye fixations are on signage, and the average shopper looks at signage for only three-tenths of a second. Less than half of those people can remember what they saw on the signs. In short, it’s not what you look at, but what you see, that’s really crucial — and a very effective way to ensure that shoppers see a display is to provide them with targeted content.

It all starts with deep insights about consumers. These can come from digital touchpoints, from in-store analytics or, ideally, from a combination of data from all channels. Taken together this data can reveal trends and deeper customer insights — for example, 50 percent more shoppers engage with alcohol brands on Tuesdays rather than on Thursdays, and they’re two times more likely to browse frozen foods on a Wednesday afternoon. This leads to a better understanding of the customer, greater data personalization, insight and a better overall customer experience.

When you connect online and offline data to arrive at these kinds of insights, you’ll deliver more personalized experiences and establish loyalty for your brand. The next step is to leverage AI to reach the shopper.

AI in retail experience

The latest data shows that interactive digital signage gets more than twice the engagement rate of top social networks. It also gets a dwell time that’s 24 percent higher than Google benchmark data for online rich media. But not all interactive signage gets these impressive results. To really activate the power of this channel, you’ve got to use it to learn about customers — then deliver personalized, customized content that connects with them at the right time.

Many retailers are scrambling to increase personalized experiences and are calling on companies with proven results that offer groundbreaking retail technology, specializing in driving brand and consumer engagement. One of the most powerful tools for in-store personalization is facial facial detection . This technology can play visually interesting content for individual customers, based on past purchases. But that’s only the beginning.

Digital and interactive displays go far beyond facial detection — they can detect returning customers’ emotions, demographic information, shopping time, location and more. These cognitive analytics enable the display to engage in a real-time feedback loop with the customer, refining its messaging in response to the shopper’s reactions, in order to reach the right consumers with even more precise messaging in the future.

The results speak for themselves. Using a combination of facial detection, emotion detection and advertising refinement raised the average dwell time per display to an almost-unheard-of 32 seconds. Impressions and engagements also went through the roof, as more shoppers interacted with personalized displays and were far more likely to purchase following those interactions.

Some brands are beginning to go a step even further by adding object detection to their personalization strategy. This can yield even better results, and serve targeted behavior-driven messages to individual customers. All touchpoints in all stores can deliver a single, consistent experience that spans every digital touchpoint and brick-and-mortar location.

This is the level of consistency and personalization demanded by today’s shoppers. Aside from the increase in engagement and revenue, the real value is the ability to build emotional connections with your customers. This personalization is an absolute necessity in the future of retail to keep customers coming back, time and time again.

Visit intel.com/retail to learn more about how Intel technology is shaping the future of responsive retail. To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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