In the past few years, the retail landscape has become highly competitive. This has made understanding a shopper’s preferences and needs essential to stay ahead of the curve. But data is ever-growing. As a retailer, it can quickly become difficult to analyze and filter data that is useful and derive actionable insights.
Moreover, traditional shopper research methods provide only surface-level data. They fail to provide an in-depth analysis of the shoppers’ experience and journey. These methods do not eliminate bias, are tedious and time-consuming, prone to errors and not scalable.
Using AI in shopper research can solve these problems.By leveraging the power of AI, retailers can-1) understand shoppers’ opinions and perspectives, 2) identify bottlenecks in their purchase journey, 3) analyze purchase triggers and friction points, 4) take data-driven decisions etc., to increase sales and improve the shopping experience.
Let’s learn how to use AI in shopper research to navigate through this competitive and ever-changing landscape!
How to use AI in Shopper Research
AI-based technologies like Facial Coding and Eye Tracking, when integrated into the shopper research process, can effectively help generate actionable, reliable, and scalable insights. Facial Coding helps understand the shopper’s underlying emotions and feelings, while Eye Tracking monitors eye movement to evaluate attention and engagement.
There are mainly three touch points where retailers can use Facial Coding and Eye Tracking to optimize their shopper experience and increase sales-
# Virtual Shelf Testing
Virtual shelf testing helps understand shopper behavior and optimize the product to increase attention and engagement by helping retailers-
1. Identify the best product placement-Retailers can use AI to determine the best location to place their product. The right placement can help increase product exposure and draw the shopper’s attention.
2. Analyze shopper behavior- By evaluating shoppers’ interaction with the products on the shelves, retailers can better understand their shoppers. This can include monitoring what shoppers look at, pick up and ultimately purchase.
3. Personalize the shopper’s journey- Once retailers are aware of shopper behaviors, they can change the shelf layout to influence shoppers’ purchase decisions.
For example, Target redesigned its layout in 2017 to provide a more immersive and personalized experience to its shoppers. This endeavor was a success and resulted in a 3.6% increase in sales.
# Pack Testing
Pack testing helps retailers understand shopper preferences and evaluate what elements in the pack design influence their purchase decisions. Retailers can use pack testing to-
1. Get pinpoint actionability- An average pack design contains many elements, for example, the logo, a celebrity, nutritional info, special offers etc. But sometimes, these elements fail to grab the shopper’s attention. AI provides pinpoint actionability by narrowing down to the exact element that needs to be optimized.
2. Predicting product performance - AI-based shopper research platforms help gain visibility on the product’s performance pre-launch. They use Benchmarking scores to give a clear indication of how the product packaging design will perform as compared to industry standards.
3. Improving Findability- Using AI, retailers can optimize the pack designs to make them more appealing. This makes products stand out and easy to find. The higher the noticeability, the higher the chances of them being picked by the shopper.
# PoS Creative Testing
Point of Sale creatives can persuade shoppers to make last-minute purchase decisions. Testing these creatives to ensure they have the maximum impact on shoppers is crucial for boosting sales. Retailers can use PoS Creative Testing to –
1. Increase impulse buying – Impulse buying comprises about 40-60% of all purchases made. This has increased after the COVID-19-led lockdown due to shoppers going on a ‘revenge spending’ spree. By testing the PoS creatives, retailers can figure out the best way to showcase their products to grab the shopper’s attention and influence their purchase behavior.
2. Improve brand awareness and recall- Retailers can make shoppers familiar with their marketing campaigns through PoS creatives. While shoppers wait to checkout, it is a great opportunity to get their undivided attention and make your brand message stick. With AI-powered insights, retailers can foster innovation and find unique ways to showcase their products.
AI-based shopper research platforms use technologies likeFacial Coding and Eye Tracking to provide actionable and reliable insights.These insights help retailers overcome the problems of traditional shopper research methods and optimize their shopper experience to boost sales.
Using virtual shelf testing, pack testing and PoS creative testing, retailers can analyze the triggers and friction points along the shopper’s journey to influence purchase behaviors and decisions.