Data Intelligence: Putting the “Custom” in “Customer”
With advancements in data intelligence – the ability for computers and apps to gather information, and use it to give customers a tailored experience – personal shopping has taken on new meaning.
Increasingly, people are becoming less resistant to the idea of individualized product suggestions through multi-media channels such as social, print, and audio. This creates a new dynamic of customer service, wherein people expect products to be presented to them in an easy, personalized, intelligent way. They expect a customized experience – in short, to "be known."
This would not be possible without data intelligence.
The trend is clear: machine learning is changing the way people shop, relax, do errands, and yes, buy groceries.
And it's no surprise why. On both ends, AI is transforming commerce, bringing positive impact to both the consumer and retailer.
For the consumer
Data intelligence gives online shoppers a more frictionless buying experience. Smart apps, using segment-of-one personalization, create a unique interface for each customer, showing them products that are specific to their tastes, preferences, and shopping history. Instead of having to sift through an entire catalog , shoppers are presented with their favorite items right away. In addition, a smart app will suggest similar products – foods they might like based on past purchases. Similar to how music lovers find new artists through smart apps like Pandora, now people can find new foods based on smart apps that are driven with a back-end like locai's eGroceryIQ data intelligence engine.
Efficiency isn't the only benefit. Smart apps have capabilities that bring additional value to shoppers, providing them with information to problem solve for quantity and product type. Customers can filter and scroll through listings to compare nutritional information and see what items fit with their dietary preferences. They can use tools such as meal planning to maximize use of products already in their virtual shopping cart.
Data intelligence helps customers not only buy groceries more easily, but also make smarter choices, find more meal options, and discover new foods and recipes that are specific to their preferences.
For the retailer
All that value for your customers translates to higher sales. Smart apps mean higher basket sizes, improved loyalty & retention, increased conversion rate, and higher purchase frequency. More convenience equals more revenue.
Another benefit of smart apps is that retailers receive volumes of data about their customers, which AI then processes and evaluates. With that information, retailers can pivot their business strategies, optimize their interfaces, and offer products that are more likely to sell.
According to Tech Emergence, "the predictive capabilities of AI may play an important role in forecasting inventory needs, determining prices of products based on internal and external factors, analyzing customer behavior, loss prevention, delivery services–and potentially much more." The possibilities for data intelligence to impact e-grocery are enormous, and sure to develop rapidly in the months and years to come.
What data is being collected?
When customers first sign in to an app powered by an engine like eGroceryIQ, they answer questions about their dietary preferences, portion sizes, and favorite items. After that, each time they make a purchase, the details of that purchase are collected and used to modify that user's next shopping experience. If the customer reviews an item, that information is also integrated into future product suggestions.
Smart apps today and tomorrow
According to Forbes magazine, almost half of Americans now buy groceries online. Recent surveys by Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Nielsen show that 49% of US consumers had bought CPGs (consumer packaged goods) online in the past three months, up from 23% in 2016. The rates were higher among younger demographics – 61% for millennials and 55% for Gen Xers. As these rates continue to increase, experts predict that AI will continue to expand to meet the growing needs of both grocers and shoppers.
Without AI, brick-and-mortar grocery stores will have a difficult time adjusting to the changes in consumer behavior and demands. Many are finding that simply adding an online catalog is not enough to satisfy their customers, nor drive higher sales. Solutions embedded with machine learning, such as eGroceryIQ, are designed to meet the needs of both the retailer and the consumer – by providing an end-to-end, scalable software system that gives the consumer an engaging, personalized experience, and the retailer a comprehensive, sales-driving platform.