Mobile devices are driving the future of computing. It not only helps us to remain connected, but also provides unique solutions to retailers and marketers. The advent of image recognition, using the smartphone cameras, is a unique feature that will help retail industry to reduce operational and customer support costs. Besides, it will help in reducing the need for human resources in many of the retail environments.
For example, the next time you walk into a large retail store’s shoe department, instead of waiting for the sales associate you find a pair of shoes and use the camera of your smartphone/ tablet to scan the shoe with the help of a mobile app powered by image recognition technology and the augmented reality app will pull up the current inventory of the shoe. Such augmented reality apps are integrated with various other technologies as well, such as geo-location that allows the app to pinpoint the specific shoe stores nearby. Besides, such mobile apps will help you to determine if the store has your size. Image recognition technology also enables the app to recommend similar shoes that are available in your size at that particular store. And mobile commerce allows you to purchase the shoe and alert a clerk for bringing it directly to you. The augmented reality app, thus, eliminates the need for customer support and the retailer can easily save the money otherwise incurred on customer support costs.
The above mentioned example is likely to become a commonplace for large retail stores to interact with their consumers within the next 3 years. And retailers need to adapt to this newest model of customer service in order to compete. This interactive shopping experience for the customers “will extend to pre, in-store and post-product use”. Geo-location, image recognition and other similar tools will allow retailers to know what buyers are looking at, at what location, for how long and how often before they make a purchase. Customized mobile applications also help retailers to gather information on post-product experience, which further help in better serve customers as well as to reduce product returns.
The following are some important concepts that you need to understand about image recognition:
Image recognition helps you to reduce labor costs. Retailers can have less on-floor employees per shift as more customers can interact with the product directly in-store without the assistance of any sales representative. And the remaining on-floor sales associates will be able to dedicate more commitment and time to customers with complex questions and physical demands with such mobile apps. Also, retailers can offer a more personal shopper experience to each customer without paying any additional fees.
Better yet, augmented reality apps help retailers to monetize space that didn’t exist previously. Landis White, the CTO of Parallel 6, said: “I predict that the virtual space insights will eventually be more valuable to retailers than those gathered by people. It provides insights and analytics that can’t be gathered by sales associates, yet it will cost you less money than training staff, paying wages, scheduling and managing employees.”
This is a platform that has a variety of modules. And a mobile app with image recognition technology allows the retailers to leverage upon a set of unique features, which also includes push notifications, geo-location, augmented reality, gamification, mobile CMS, mCommerce, and insights and analytics. However, it is important that the mobile application you are opting for comes with features that can increase customer frequency, drive sales, and help you gain insights.
With a proper mobile application you can actually manage the entire lifecycle of your product as analytics gathered through your mobile app will allow you to see when and where you had the highest or lowest demand for your product and based on such insights you can decide if the product should continue to stay on shelves.
Today, most of the data available is digital and image recognition can leverage upon the already created digital resources for providing helpful tools for customers to make proper purchase decision. This further amplifies the return of digital resources.
White further adds, “I truly believe that image recognition is here to stay because it’s a feature that customers will find helpful in making purchases and a feature that retailers will realize increases revenues. What do you think?”
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