Location-Based Services and AI: The Secret Ingredients for Retailers This Holiday Season
Retailers are set for a big holiday shopping season. Consumers today are more discerning than ever, seeking convenience, personalization and customization. For retailers, this is both a challenge and an opportunity. Those that digitally transform to become more visible, personalized and connected will be well-positioned to thrive.
Location data has always been integral to retail companies. With the addition of artificial intelligence (AI), this data can be transformed into a powerful tool to understand consumer behavior, optimize operations, and remain connected to audiences.
Here are the top ways in which location intelligence and AI are transforming the retail industry.
Increased Visibility Through Store Locators and SEO
It has become increasingly critical for retailers to provide a seamless omnichannel experience for their customers as the physical and digital worlds continue to merge. Adding an advanced store locator to a website or mobile app can boost footfall, especially with click-and-collect options that enable customers to buy or order goods from a store's website and collect them from a local store. Insider Intelligence estimates that click-and-collect sales will surpass the $100 billion mark in 2023 in the U.S. alone.
Additionally, keeping your store information and customer reviews updated online can greatly improve search engine visibility for both large and small retailers. Location intelligence tools let businesses manage all of their store details, reviews and ratings at once, while also providing information on users' favorite products and offers, helping to create a seamless omnichannel experience.
Strategic Marketing Through Geo-Marketing and AI-Powered Recommendations
Geo-marketing, also known as location-based marketing, uses location data to plan and execute marketing activities. It can be used for any aspect of the marketing mix — including product, price, promotion and place (i.e., geotargeting).
In a world where consumers expect products and services to be available at the click of a button, traditional marketing practices are struggling to gain traction. Location-based marketing allows businesses to send personalized messages to users about offers and new product launches at their nearest stores, engaging them at the right moment.
AI can be used to leverage historical data on past purchases and preferences to generate personalized recommendations that entice users to shop from their favorite brands and products. Additionally, AI chatbots can easily direct consumers to their desired products and enhance the overall user experience.
Enhanced Shopping Experiences With Faster Checkouts and Accurate Addresses
Online shopping and ordering has become an ubiquitous part of our lives, offering a faster and more responsive experience than ever before. However, any additional steps or complexity in the checkout process can lead to shopping cart abandonment. While there are many reasons why consumers may abandon their carts — e.g., hidden shipping costs, lack of payment options, or simply window shopping — too many steps and complexity in the checkout process remain a top reason why purchases aren't completed.
Location intelligence tools can help to reduce shopping cart abandonment by autocompleting and validating addresses, ensuring minimal errors and faster checkouts. This improves the user experience, address reliability, and conversion rates.
Efficient Supply Chain Management and Reverse Logistics
Holiday traffic also brings the task of planning, dispatching bulk orders and dealing with returns, while ensuring quick and accurate deliveries. Retailers not only require a well-planned supply chain, but also models that can process and operate such a huge amount of order data. AI tools applied to location-based solutions can be used for efficient last-mile deliveries and pickups while factoring in costs, sustainability, and unforeseen supply chain disruptions. Providing consumers with real-time tracking of those cherished and much-awaited holiday packages can further enhance the overall consumer experience.
By using these technologies to increase visibility, execute targeted marketing, enhance the shopping experience, and optimize supply chain management, retailers can create a seamless omnichannel experience that meets the needs of today's consumers. The holiday shopping season is a critical time for retailers; those that embrace location-based services and AI will be well-positioned to succeed. By taking advantage of these technologies, retailers can create a holiday shopping experience that's convenient, personalized and efficient for their customers, leading to increased sales and customer loyalty.
Anthony Michael is the director of the Location Intelligence Practice at Searce, a cloud computing solutions and technology services provider globally that specializes in cloud, AI and analytics.
Anthony Michael is the global director of the Location Intelligence Practice at Searce. With 18-plus years of experience, he has a proven track record of Consultative Business Development, Large Enterprise Account Management, and Developing Diverse Global Teams. Anthony believes in the power of collaboration & providing clarity of vision to unite teams, partners, vendors, and customers alike. He is passionate about people success & draws massive inspiration from sports in operating the business.