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The Unmatched Feeling of a Personalized, In-Store Experience

Smart retail, AI in retail

Philosophers have long known the importance of feeling recognized and being seen. But what the greatest thinkers of the ages could not have anticipated is that a technological solution would emerge that would make it possible to be recognized and feel part of a community by merely setting foot in a store or restaurant.

Many of us have experienced the simple joys of being a “regular” at a restaurant or a shop—feeling at ease, cared for, and perhaps even pampered. Being acknowledged by name, receiving a phone call when a much-anticipated product arrives, or having a dish prepared that accounts for your tastes and food allergies can have a significant impact on your mood, overall experience, and make you want to return just to feel that way again.

Personalization for Every Customer

Naturally, business owners have wondered whether it might be possible to make all customers feel this way, even if they have visited the store only once before.

For a long time, they could rely only on their staff’s memories. But now, thanks to the synergy between human ingenuity and cutting-edge technology, the mnemonic work can be relegated to machines, while clerks and servers can appreciate the look of satisfaction on their customers’ faces as they make them feel at home. No online transaction could ever replace the warmth and humanity of another person being attentive to your tastes and interests, and helping you to find something perfect for you.

Personalized greetings are the next frontier for #retail, thanks to groundbreaking #technologies and the incredible R&D efforts of @Intel and its partners. via @insightdottech

As a leader in the design and implementation of cutting-edge technology, Intel continually “pampers” us by creating intelligent devices that enrich the customer experience. Anything but a solo enterprise, Intel is constantly seeking partners to help it come up with creative solutions. One such partner is ThunderSoft, a world-leading OS  technology provider.

Helping Staff Provide an Excellent Customer Experience

By leveraging Intel technology—including real-time sensor capabilities based on the EdgeX framework—ThunderSoft has created an intelligent proximity device (commonly referred to as “edge computing”) that controls cameras and is embedded with facial recognition software. Essentially, the ThunderSoft Smart Retail Solution connects to the store’s ERP system to extract information about each customer, and then makes that information readily available to every staff member in the store.

Smart retail, AI in retail
Figure 1. From identifying VIP customers to assessing customer behavior, the ThunderSoft Smart Retail Solution gives staff the data they need to deliver an amazing customer experience. (Source: Intel)

In addition to recognizing the customer’s gender and age range, staff members can access relevant information about them in real time—such as their past purchases, color preferences, sizes, specific models, or favorite food items. Beyond the customer’s personal details, the information can be further customized based on the store’s management model or type of inventory—a comprehensive set of information helping staff give every customer an excellent experience.

Secure and Cost-Effective Personalization

Although the platform connects with the most popular ERP or CRM software, sensitive information is protected and retained locally, reducing the surface area for a potential attack. Customer face recognition data are stored in a way that potential hackers cannot reconstruct the original image, and data is transferred in an encrypted form, according to the most rigorous security standards. In the case of proprietary ERP software, an application interface can be established through APIs.

Since the total cost of ownership is minimal, the system can be adopted by large chains and family businesses alike. What’s more, ThunderSoft engineers have made tremendous efforts to simplify the app interface so that staff can use the solution with ease and efficiency—and the company offers training so staff can start using the system straight away. This combination of simplicity and low cost make the Smart Retail Solution almost immediately accessible to most shops, restaurants, centers, and distribution chains.

Without question, personalized greetings are the next frontier for retail, thanks to groundbreaking technologies and the incredible research and development efforts of Intel and its partners. In addition to creating value for businesses, it allows us to take a giant step forward in customer service and cater to the attention-emotion economy. Rather than feeling skeptical and as though a shop is just looking to turn a profit, technology-fueled relationships make us feel accepted and cared for.

Ultimately, we want to be seen, recognized, and reflected in the people around us. Knowing this, can you imagine how ThunderSoft’s solution will improve your customers’ experiences?

About the Author

Founder and CEO of Italian startup Digital Business Innovation Srl, Antonio Grasso is regarded as one of the top digital transformation influencers and researchers on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, blockchain, and sustainability. He is an enterprise and public sector consultant. He collaborates with large multinationals and public institutions as an advisor, B2B influencer, author, and software innovator. Currently, he is involved In two projects by the European Commission: The Next Generation Internet and AI4Europe as ambassador and external expert. In 2021 he joined The Society of Professional Journalists as a professional member.

Profile Photo of Antonio Grasso