BULENT DAL | CEO
The more the technology becomes a part of consumer’s life, the more it forces retailers to change their business models so that sometimes new technologies can be accepted without any questioning. After testing the success and usability, applications with the new technologies are disseminated with a few upgrades. Walmart tries countless business models based on new technologies in order to stay ahead of its major competitor: Amazon. Walmart realized CodeEight project under Jetblack at the begining of June after a testing and trial period, which is a business model that offers personalized shopping services. Jenny Fleiss, CEO & Founder of Jetblack, explains that they passed out Jetblack with the “Consumers are looking for more effective ways of shopping for themselves and their families without sacrificing product quality” apporach. Jetblack operation that Walmart launched in New York allows consumers make orders with a plain text and get delivered at the same day. If it works, the business model will be live in all regions.
Another innovation from Walmart, similar to Amazon Echo model, it is possible to buy products from Google Home. Walmart recently, signed a strategic partnership with Microsoft to use Microsoft Azure infrastructure which is the biggest competitor to Amazon Web Services. In other words, the two of the Amazon’s biggest competitors in retail and cloud began to cooperate.
Digital Marketing: Digital marketing is becoming more important than ever to connect with consumers those using internet connected devices. According to “Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda”, digital marketing activities like digital coupons, virtual storytelling, email, advertisements, etc. will have the highest share in new marketing channel investments. Again an example from Walmart, its digital marketing application which uses artificial intelligence that reminds consumer abondoned products in the basket when the consumer tends to leave the website might be beneficial to increase sales.
It is very common to find and order the same or similar product online when the color or size options are limited at the store. Consumer reviews on products are highly effective on buying decision. Being aware of consumer’s online shopping behaviour like searched products, interested products, abondoned baskets before they visit the physical store can help giving more personalised and related product offers via virtual sales assistant application. Virtual reality helps improving customer experience. Sephora enables users to try on make-up products on their faces via its mobile application.
It seems that face recognition feature at smartphones like iPhoneX, will totally change the consumer shopping behaviour. According to Counterpoint Research Company, in following 2 years more than 1 billion phones will have advanced face recognition features which will increase the percentage of smartphones that have facial recognition features in 2020 from 5% in 2017 to 64%.
One of the examples among many retail formats that are beginning to benefit from face recognition is CaliBurger in California. The digital kiosk recognizes the loyalty card customers from their faces and creates a personalized shopping experience from their previous behaviour by giving similar product offers or listing favorite products. In another pilot application which will increase customer satisfaction, consumer’s instore activities and demographic details creates a micro segment, the real-time face recognition detects the consumer and creates offer according to the similar micro segment preferences and sends alert to sales assistant via an application to make the relevant offer immediately.
Face recognition technology also allows better understanding of consumer behaviours. For example, how much time spent to make the decision which cereal to buy, the emotional state of the customer at that time, age, gender etc. data can be used to create meaningful insights. These insight will lead to improve shelf layouts in store, real-time promotions, store specific processes.