AI is the Lebron James of retail. Both arrived with incredible hype and went on to deliver on sky-high expectations. Retailers are using AI everywhere, from supply chain optimization to shopper analytics.
However, after countless conversations with retail operations leaders, we’ve found that most won’t adopt AI (or any new solution) for stores unless they’re confident store teams will buy in and use it effectively enough to make an impact on sales.
Getting buy-in is a tall task as store managers’ time and attention are already stretched thin with a multitude of duties. Asking them to take time out of their day to use a new AI solution requires a big leap of faith.
To overcome these challenges, AI has to be absurdly easy-to-use and deliver results fast before store teams lose faith. Read on to learn how CB4 earns their trust from the jump.
Master the Basics, Lose the Tedious Reporting
Retail is insanely competitive right now. Regardless of the retail subvertical you’re in, major players and upstarts alike are one-upping each other, competing to offer the best experience and greatest value to consumers.
Macy’s flagship location in Herald Square features a 260-seat restaurant offering views of the Empire State Building, charcuterie plates, and wood-fired pizzas. CVS is piloting locations offering blowouts, 30-minute makeup refreshers, and skin care services for walk-ins or booked in advance online. With the birth of BOPIS, retailers offer shoppers instant gratification without having to step foot in their aisles.
And yet, all of this effort is wasted if shoppers can’t easily find and purchase the products they love. It’s the equivalent of dining in a beautifully decorated restaurant with impeccable service… but terrible food.
Retailers use CB4 to build a solid foundation for their in-store experience. Each week, CB4 sends store managers a short list of recommendations that improve product availability and findability. The recommendations highlight SKUs that are underperforming, despite high demand from local shoppers. Store managers simply walk over to the shelves and fix the underlying issue responsible for dragging down sales, without having to read or interpret any reports.
Here’s what that process looks like in the fashion environment:
A Win-Win-Win for Store Managers, Store Teams, and Customers
As the bar for in-store experience gets higher and technology advances, store managers wear more and more hats. As head team builder, they need to hire, train, retain, and manage a team of sales associates, many of whom are part-time and only moderately engaged. As the face of the company, great store managers convert upset customers to loyal brand evangelists.
Adding to these table stakes duties, store managers have to mind their selling floors. They manage inventory, spearhead visual merchandising, and interpret selling reports to find opportunities to drive sales. This is where CB4 steps in to lend a hand, in a way that has ripple effects on team building and customer interactions.
“CB4 really helps us in that it identifies and spotlights those items that are really causing a problem for us, and allows the store manager in a very short amount of time to go, address the issue, and then get back to serving the customer.“
—Bill Wood, Executive Vice President; President, Digital at Barnes & Noble
In many retail environments, store managers delegate recommendations to their team. These associates engage in critical thinking on the floor, flexing muscles that help them become more valuable team members. CB4 automatically tracks and shares the revenue their actions generate, a seemingly small detail that serves as a powerful motivator. Store managers still walk their aisles, but have more time to focus on the big picture.
Localized Retail, the Easy Way
Localization in retail comes with many benefits, but also has accompanying challenges. It’s hard to pinpoint demand for each and every store in your chain, and you don’t necessarily know when you’re getting it right or wrong. Every store manager spends valuable time arguing with management to justify anomalies in their sales patterns or unique asks based on their business. New Yorkers want black clothes in size XS. Floridians want more linen. However it’s often difficult for store managers to act on their unique local insights without a good deal of collaboration with corporate.
Sometimes, CB4 recommendations validate store managers’ intuitions. Sometimes, they may run contrary. Regardless, when store managers act on CB4 recommendations, corporate leaders understand that their actions are backed by local demand patterns and can track the financial impact that follows. Stores capitalize on due north trends for the business that shouldn’t be omitted from single-store considerations. At the same time corporate can better understand local shoppers, while reducing the time and aggravation involved with store managers having to advocate for their locals.
CB4 is the Bees Knees
AI has many uses cases for retailers. CB4 harnesses AI to help retailers build a solid foundation for their in-store experience, increase associate engagement, and easily execute on localized retail.
Store managers have come to accept the burden of tedious reporting as the cost of entry for harnessing retail data. But with CB4, store managers deliver the friction-free brick-and-mortar experience their customers demand and tailor that experience to account for local preferences without the tedium of analytics reports.
Ready to see how you can put CB4 to work for your retail chain? Let’s talk.