We’ve talked about cognitive technology solutions as the tools that pull Artificial Intelligence (AI) into business. With options like Azure Cognitive Services or IBM’s Watson cognitive services, it is possible for retailers to put cognitive technology to use in-store. But maybe thinking about using AI feels too much like a daydream about Jetson’s style robot assistants. Well here’s the thing, a lot of the Jetsons’ tech ideas did come true, robot assistants included.
So let’s look at some cognitive technology examples that have shown up at in-store retailers to help get us moving from daydream to plan.
Macy’s In-Store Virtual Assistant Gets Customers Where They’re Going
Customers of Macy’s department stores can now navigate their brick-and-mortar store with a pocket AI assistant. Using their phone and the Macy’s app, a customer can ask for specific items and figure out exactly where their favorite brand’s jeans are kept. Plus, the assistant doesn’t just give them a map—it walks them to what they’re looking for with human-style directions.
Plus, customer app usage means that the company has more data about what its customers want. The store can double up on its cognitive technology. Also, it can use deep-dive analytics to think about what customers are looking for vs. what they end up with, or how they prefer to navigate between items.
Human Customer Service Made Better by Natural Language Processing Tools
BBVA Compass Bank recently started looking more closely at its customer comments. Not by reading comment cards filled out at the bank, but by rooting through a lot of social media chatter. A cognitive technology solution that can not only read social comments but can smartly figure out their meaning, is natural language processing. By using this smart tool, BBVA Compass got a lot more information than it would have been able to put together manually by surveying its customers.
So how did this data change a customer’s in-store experience? Well, when the company decided to get rid of one of its member benefits, it knew its customers wouldn’t love the change. With the sentiment analysis, the company figured out how tellers should explain the changes. When talking to customers, tellers were told to talk about the member benefits that the company had worked to keep, not just the benefits that were changing. Cognitive technology helped the bank get ahead of the issue. It helped make visits to their branches a little smoother.
The Smartest Vending Machine Is Never Out of What You Want
Food and drink retailer Mars Drinks wanted to make sure its vending machines are always stocked with what customers want. So they decided to hook their vending machines up to the Cloud and connect to keep a better eye on what was needed.
In the end, they found that cognitive technology predictive analytics tools could tell them a lot more than just when to restock. They could track demand and repairs against things like the local weather. Microsoft Azure’s Cortana Intelligence Suite could then create plans for the best routes for repairs and the best times for reordering particular items. The result: a vending machine that keeps more customers happy.