Transforming Retail with AI

There are few things I love in life more than coffee. My husband knows this, and so does Heather.

Heather owns the café I hit up every morning on my way to work. I’ve been going there since she opened—10 years ago. At first it was out of sheer convenience. But, as other cafés popped up around me, I continued to go there (despite other closer, cheaper options with larger menus). It’s because Heather knows me.

She knows that I don’t have time to make breakfast on Mondays because of morning spin class. That means it’s coffee and an everything bagel with light cream cheese. She also knows that I have day care drop off on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so my coffee is ready for me 10 minutes earlier. And, on the days when she bakes goat cheese and chive scones, she sets 6 aside for me because she knows my husband and I can’t get enough of them.

The untapped opportunity of AI

Heather is able to perfectly time and predict my order because she has “data” on me that goes back more than 10 years. Most retailers don’t know their customers as well as Heather knows me. But that’s changing. As retailers collect more data on their consumers and adopt new technologies, they’ll be able to deliver personalized experiences that rival—and even surpass—Heather’s.

Currently, more than one-quarter of the top 250 global retailers are integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into their organizations. But, in the race to improve the customer experience (CX)—with everything from smart shelves to beacon campaigns to AI-enabled checkout—many are so focused on improving their operations that they are overlooking a critical area: frontline employees.

As the world and commerce grow increasingly digital, when it comes to the in-store experience, the human touch still matters. A lot. One-third of shoppers rate salespeople as the strategy most likely to impress them when they walk into a store.

Putting the AI in trAIning

Progressive retailers have come to realize that the future of their stores depends on their frontline. And, as they focus on improving operations, they must also improve frontline performance. That’s where training comes in. According to HR Technologist, AI will transform training in 3 significant ways:

  1. Personalized learning experiences
  2. Virtual mentoring
  3. Advanced analytics

Here’s how:

AI-powered training will enable retailers to provide the highly targeted and deeply personalized learning experiences associates need to deliver better in-store CX.

As associates engage with training, AI capabilities will allow retailers to monitor and measure what each associate knows (and doesn’t know), and automatically adapt learning paths with the content needed to bring knowledge levels up to where they need to be.

AI will also allow retailers to measure (in real time) how what each associate learns drives business results and performance. With visibility into which programs make the biggest difference, how knowledge and participation influence results, and even when targets are risk, AI will give retailers the actionable, data-driven insights they need to adjust learning strategies on-the-fly so they can make changes that will make the biggest difference.

(Officially) The Best AI-based Solution for Retail

We know this is how AI will transform training, because we’re already doing it. In fact, we’ve been doing it from the very beginning—more than 7 years. And, today, we’re being recognized for our pioneering work with retailers around the world. We’re delighted to receive the prestigious “Best AI-based Solution for Retail” award from AI Breakthrough.

As excited as we are to receive this award, we’re even more excited about all the ways we are using AI to help retailers prepare their people to thrive. Here’s a high level overview:

  • Through the power of AI, we’re able to push out critical communications and training to every frontline member in real time, in a way that’s personalized to each associate regardless of whether they’re in a store in San Francisco or Hong Kong.
  • Store associates interact with the platform for a few minutes during each shift, consuming information that includes messages from leadership and training material to help them perform on the job.
  • The platform collects large volumes of data during these daily interactions and then AI identifies each individual employee’s knowledge gaps, continually pushing out tailored daily communications to fill the gaps with the right information at the right time.
  • The platform goes beyond simple test scores or completion rates in these microlearning sessions by building a comprehensive knowledge profile for each employee that captures more than 10 data points for every question answered, every single day—including subject, proficiency, progress, number of times answering a question, question difficulty level, knowledge lift, confidence and more.
  • With 30 million microlearning sessions occurring in the platform each month, the AI-powered learning engine continually adapts each employee’s daily learning experience based on past and current behaviors, plus the goals that are based upon the KPIs that are most important to the retailer, like CX, conversions, safety, transaction size, customer satisfaction scores, and more.

We’re working with some of the world’s biggest retailers to make the future of training a reality right now. You can read their stories here.  Or, read this guide to learn more about how Axonify’s AI can equip your associates with the knowledge and skills they need to deliver the same next-level-awesome CX as Heather shows me every morning.


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Let’s work together to drive frontline performance in all the right ways.