The Rise of AI Powered Visual Merchandising

Leading SaaS and tech providers like Algolia, Dynamic Yield, and several others have had focused efforts in enhancing their AI powered merchandising product suite off late. This directly relates to how leading brands and retailers including fashion biggies have sported an increased demand and interest in adopting these type of technologies to not only support evolving buying needs at the point of physical sale, but to also get their brand to stand out from the crowd in a market that is rife with competition always.

Customer-facing brands from around the world have been adopting the experiential retail trend through use of these technologies to drive customer value and to enhance the end-to-end shopping and buying experience.

Experiential retail doesn’t just end at providing a better buying experience at a physical store or point of sale, it includes boosting the concepts of personalization and conversational experiences too.

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Some of the world’s top customer facing brands have adopted newer methods including self-serve kiosks to ensure their retail experience stays above par, while others like Nike have in the recent past grabbed a lot of consumer and media attention for their eye catching and attention grabbing 3D billboards, built just to boost footfalls at a time when customers were still opening up to physical or as experts would put it – phygital  buying experiences.

Most recently, renowned multinational footwear retailer Bata launched India’s first visual merchandising app powered by AI (artificial intelligence), a company official wrote on social media last week. The app is equipped with key visual merchandising and retail deployment management facilities. Bata was also instrumental in launching a 3D billboard at Bengaluru’s Garuda Mall, becoming the first footwear brand in India to bring this format of 3D OOH advertising into the country.

If implemented well, AI powered retail merchandising tools can drive conversions at physical stores and even boost the number of return shoppers for a brand.

Simply put, these type of tools allow store owners and store managers to access campaign information, to acknowledge receipt and share feedback on campaign materials at retail outlets while also potentially allowing brands to provide a gamified approach.

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An earlier trend saw several brands moving to chatbots to enhance the digital experience but this only allows digital users to navigate, chat or share feedback on products with a brand’s customer service team. Turning to AI powered tools to enhance the retail experience can boost the delivery personalized shopping and buying tips with better recommendations.

AI powered merchandising suites help reduce a lot of the ground complexities for merchandisers, thereby allowing them to efficiently orchestrate product display, brand promotions, pricing changes, and inventory management from either single or no code, merchandising consoles.

According to recent studies, the global use of artificial intelligence in retail markets was valued at $5.50 billion in 2022 and it is projected to grow from $7.14 billion in 2023; it will be interesting to view how AI powered merchandising tools play a key role here.

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