Elevating Retail Experience with Cloud and Artificial Intelligence

 |   Microsoft News Center

smart retail

Digital transformation is rapidly changing the way many businesses and industries work. According to an IDC study, this is expected that by 2021, 60% of Hong Kong’s GDP will be derived from digital products and services created directly through the use of digital technologies, such as mobility, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI). As one of the key industries in Hong Kong’s economy, has the retail industry jumped on this band wagon? We often talk about incorporating digital technologies in retail and marketing but what does it actually mean for retailers and consumers?

One of the most common integration of digital technologies in retail marketing is product and content recommendation with AI. The system can interpret consumer data paired with profile information and demographics, continually adapts to the users’ likes and dislikes, and react with new recommendations tailored in real-time, helping retailers deliver a more personalized and delightful experience to consumers.

This is just one example of how the use of technologies in retail and marketing can help retailers better interact with consumers. You might wonder – what else can digital technologies like AI or cloud do?

Delivering personalized in-store experience with indoor navigation technology

The retail landscape in Hong Kong has been rapidly changing in recent years. The buoyant economic environment, the rise of e-commerce, squeezing margins, and the escalating customer expectations for unique and personalized experiences urge retailers to rethink their customer engagement strategies.

Home-grown technology startup Cherrypicks has introduced a brand new retail experience solution in a number of shopping malls and shops. By utilizing Starbeacon, the company’s proprietary location intelligence technology, retailers can deliver real-time and location-based proximity push marketing content to shoppers to attract traffic and stimulate consumption. Powered by Microsoft Cloud, the solution directs customers to destinations with a single click in the app. With big data analytics capabilities, they can ensure a personalized experience for each shopper, and provide insights for marketers and management to make business decisions, such as strategic retail promotions.

Realizing hassle-free insurance management with cloud and mobile technologies

Modern consumers no longer shop only at the mall. They engage with brands across platforms and channels on web and mobile. It is therefore critical for retailers to adopt an omnichannel strategy and ensure a seamless and consistent experience for customers across online and offline touchpoints.

Hong Kong-based web and mobile application development firm Oursky has helped a regional financial service company transform their customer engagement experience with cloud technology. Financial services industry, especially insurance, often rely on face-to-face engagement. Building on the trusted and scalable Azure cloud, Oursky created a new mobile application that allows customers in Asia to purchase travel insurance and manage their insurance portfolio on the go, providing more and more flexible experience for modern digital-savvy consumers.

Crafting the best event experience with machine vision technology

Loyalty program is becoming an imperative for brands as customer expectation continues to rise. Customers are looking for meaningful connections with brands that share their belief which is why it is increasing important for brands to connect with their customers and build a community.

However, forming a community requires much more than simply gathering people together in the same place. While event is an important mean for retail marketers to outreach, engage and build loyalty for their customers, it has never been easy for marketers to measure the success or effectiveness of an in-person event strategically. This is where AI technology and data analytics come into play. In Hong Kong, an AI and data analytics startup, Dayta.ai, developed an AI solution to empower a global luxury brand to craft the best-in-class event experience for its customers.

By incorporating machine vision technology into the surveillance system, this AI-enabled human tracking solution helps the brand to detect and analyze people’s interactions at each stage of the event, including the amount of time they spent in each area and their level of engagement. These insights are highly useful for brand to measure customers’ satisfaction, as well as to plan and design even better experience in future brand community engagement.

Wherever retail marketers or management choose to implement digital technologies such as cloud and AI, they all realize that these technologies are reshaping the retail industry and affecting various aspects of business. To thrive in this digital era, retailers should be attuned to how digital transformation can empower them to achieve things that could not be done before. Cloud and AI that are secure, ethical and respecting privacy should be the top priority investment for businesses that wish to succeed in the competitive market. Those who fail to do so, will be left behind.