Retail is defined by competitive pricing, customer insight, and supply chains that keep shelves full. But to be effective, retailers should focus on innovation and digital infrastructure as much as they do on their customers and competitors. Successful brands are achieved by businesses who are able to build themselves up and prioritize customer satisfaction.
Migros is an example of this successfully blended attitude. Having dominated the retail sector in Turkey for 65 years, it maintains a dominant market position thanks to understanding the benefit of innovative technology combined with customer insight.
Their dedication to digital transformation has seen them introduce Artificial Intelligence (AI). By keeping shelves stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables at all times, it’s learning how to keep customers happy and coming back for more.
Pandemic state of mind
Ensuring a consistent and customer-friendly experience in 2,200 stores across a huge 81-province territory is a colossal undertaking and one that would be difficult to achieve without relying on innovative technology.
Putting the customer first means ensuring that people can find the products they want, when they want them. After all, how can you expect repeat visits from happy customers if you can't keep them satisfied with the products on the shelves? While pandemic shopping habits saw people prioritizing their favorite brands and minimizing multi-store visits, McKinsey research discovered that three quarters of shoppers have had to shop in different places due to a lack of product availability.
Ultimately, this reveals that if a brand isn't delivering what they need, customers quickly become dissatisfied. And when it comes to fresh food, it's essential to give health-conscious customers access to well-stocked displays, which appeal to their eyes as much their wallets.
This is where Migros turned to AI to help meet their customer’s expectations. By organically learning about their habits and reacting to meet them on an ongoing basis, a retailer can ensure a consistent shopping experience that keeps everyone happy.
AI shelf stocking
With an AI-powered system, Migros used cameras to capture stock levels on shelves, which then got passed through advanced data analysis. This enabled each store to predict when shelves would be empty and stop products dropping to an unacceptable level. This was all down to Microsoft's Azure Cognitive Services technology, with technical implementation of the image capturing and processing service completed by Motiwe, a Microsoft partner.
AI is an incredibly useful tool for all businesses since it can learn from the data that it processes, becoming an increasingly bespoke product as time progresses. It's a continually learning inventory and reordering system for Migros, which offers increasingly detailed and useful insights.Best of all, they were able to achieve great results by augmenting their existing technology, instead of replacing their legacy systems.
"Azure and the image processing service enabled us to add new capabilities to our existing system," explains a spokesperson from the R&D Department at Migros. “Without requiring any extra investment, we completed the process quickly with our existing system infrastructure and technological infrastructure opportunities provided by Microsoft Azure."
Successful retailers are adaptable, open to change, and understand that growth will come from working with their customers in new and innovative ways. And digital transformation is the key to getting them there.
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