The appeal of offline stores
In today's digital age, the allure of offline stores remains strong, surprisingly even among Generation Z shoppers. This group is expected to significantly influence the features and trends in the offline market in the near future. Despite the convenience of online shopping, consumers still value the tactile and emotional experience of offline retail stores. They appreciate the opportunity to touch and try products, enjoy on-the-spot purchases, and the social aspect of spending time with friends and family. However, to stay relevant, retail businesses have to adapt and integrate the aspects of the engagement, personalization, and convenience of online stores into their offline spaces.
The challenge for retailers
Today's key focus of many marketing studies and companies is the evolving challenge retailers face: adapting to increased consumer demands. Modern shoppers are seeking the convenience of online shopping within physical store environments. To meet these expectations, retailers must continually evolve, ensuring that in-store shopping remains a compelling and preferred choice for consumers.
The role of customization and personalization
According to recent research, between 40 and 70 percent of customers expect a purchase to be accompanied by a personalized experience, recommendations, and usage of innovative technologies to help and entertain them throughout the shopping journey. Customization and personalization are critical mechanics in this case. While often used interchangeably, these approaches have distinct roles in enhancing the shopping experience. Customization allows consumers to modify products or services to their liking. On the other hand, personalization is driven by the retailer, who uses data and analytics to tailor the shopping experience to individual customer preferences.
Customization in retail
The client plays a central role in the customization process, such as adapting a product to their preferences. Customization is a potent tool for retailers, allowing customers to tailor products or services to their needs directly. This can include choosing product features or personalizing services, like selecting a specific number of minutes for mobile plans, creating unique product design, or opting for in-store pickup or home delivery.
A customization strategy is particularly effective for companies with loyal audiences who understand its benefits and for products easily customized independently by the consumer. It's crucial to demonstrate the value of customization to attract the widest audience possible, clearly explain what is needed to achieve the desired result, and illustrate how it works, such as through video tutorials.
Great example of effective customization is Nike's interactive T-shirt project, conducted with the DISPL software solution. During this project, customers could design their unique T-shirts choosing colors, printed text, and jersey number. They used a touchscreen interface to select designs from a catalog and could then have their personalized product printed on the spot. This strategy reinforced Nike's image as a forward-thinking, tech-savvy brand, significantly enhancing customer engagement and sales at the project location. In just nine days, 705 T-shirts were customized through this service, with a remarkable conversion rate where every fifth interaction led to a purchase.
Another case study is a promotional campaign by Coca-Cola that used DISPL's audience analytics for interactive promotion in a food court. The campaign involved digital screens with an analytics module, prompting customers to smile for a discount promo code on Coca-Cola drinks in a suggested meal. The goal was to enhance sales and create a positive brand association through engaging customer interaction. DISPL's solution, which analyzes non-personal facial features to detect age, gender, and emotion, enabled personalized promotions and provided valuable engagement data. This approach was more effective than traditional methods and fully compliant with GDPR, ensuring no personal data collection or storage.
Personalization in retail
In personalization, the initiative originates from the business. Retail personalization involves tailoring marketing strategies, product recommendations, and store layouts using insights based on audience data. This strategy necessitates meticulous customer data handling to ensure that personalization is merely beneficial and doesn't risk customer privacy. Crucially, transparency in data usage and the explanation of its benefits are vital in maintaining customer trust. For example, clearly explaining how technology processes data while safeguarding privacy can significantly reassure customers about the security of their personal information.
Prestigio Plaza is a consumer electronics store in Limassol, Cyprus. They specialize in mid and premium brands and wanted to come up with something special for a brand module for heater manufacturer AENO. As heaters are quite big, retailer decided to sell them specifically via their website, only leaving a brand module and a sample in their offline store. They implemented DISPL's real-time targeting solution to create a more engaging customer journey. This involved detecting customers approaching a screen, gender detection, displaying targeted content, and then offering a promo code and a link to the website. This approach led to a significant engagement increase, with 44% of traffic becoming engaged leads (viewing promotions for over 6 seconds), boosting sales figures, while not requiring sales representatives for an initial pitch. The client gained valuable metrics for tracking and improving campaign effectiveness.
The project with Neat Burger, an international vegan fast-food chain, focused on elevating service quality through digital technology. The goal was to make the restaurant more accessible and convenient, matching the efficiency of traditional fast-food competitors. DISPL's team contributed by implementing a comprehensive digital solution at one of Neat Burger's outlets in Dubai. This included digital menu boards, self-service kiosks, digital screens, and queue management systems. Digital menu boards allowed for targeted promotions during specific times of the day, optimizing sales by displaying relevant offers. For example, the breakfast menu could be hidden at 11 AM, making way for other special offers.
Addressing privacy concerns
Our systems prioritize the security and confidentiality of the data we collect. All data processing occurs on our clients' devices, ensuring that images and videos are not transmitted elsewhere. We are confident that the information transmitted does not contain personal data, making our platform compatible with GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Our commitment to data security is backed by multiple legal firms in both the European Union and the United States. For more detailed information about our data security approach, you can refer to our article.
The AI technology employed by DISPL exclusively identifies facial points and the position of the head in space, including aspects like the angle of tilt. This information is solely used for analytical purposes and does not include any personally identifiable details.
In conclusion, choice between customization and personalization in retail should be guided by a deep understanding of the brand's audience, the simplicity of the implementation process, and the commitment to respecting customer data privacy. Both strategies can profoundly enrich the in-store experience, combining the best aspects of online convenience with the unique, tactile nature of physical retail spaces.