Retailers urged to gain consumer insights via technology

Economy September 17, 2018 01:00

By Sirivish Toomgum
The Nation

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Retailers need to create more value for consumers by using the proper equipment, data and technology, according to Will Yunfei Wu, project manager for RetailEX Asean, the largest annual international trade exhibition and conference in Southeast Asia.



“2018 is the year of evolution of physical retail. As we head towards the end of the year, we expect to see an increasing number of bold changes to brands and retailers in Asean,” he added.

Wu said the use of Big Data helps retailers gain insights into consumer behaviours and preferences, allowing them to provide the right product at the right time amid fierce rivalry in the sector.    

Wissanupong Wongwas, chief executive officer of Adasoft Co Ltd, a supplier of IT products and services for wholesale and retail businesses, said retail operators could turn to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance their businesses.

The fourth RetailEX Asean event will be held from September 19 to 21 at IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Centre in Bangkok under the theme “Transforming the Asean Retail Landscape ”.

It is co-organised by the Thai Retailers Association (TRA), Clarion Events and IMPACT Exhibition Management Co Ltd (IMPACT) with support from the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).

The open event of exhibitions and seminars will feature more than 80 companies, over 100 speakers and 60 keynote and breakout sessions.

An estimated 4,000 industry players from Thailand and the region are expected to attend.

Wu added that the highlights of this year’s event include VENDASEAN (a showcase pavilion of vending machines) as well as a wide range of cutting-edge retail technology, innovation and solutions to enhance the experience of shoppers and retailers. 

The event will focus on digital, in-store technologies and brand marketing strategies, delving deeply into how these technologies can transform business operations, he said.

One of exhibitors, Zendesk, a leading customer service and engagement platform, will be presenting  its latest software for the management of customer services and interactions. It could also engage customers directly on WhatsApp.

“Trakomatic, another exhibitor, specialises in advanced video analytics to capture human traffic behaviours, not just in footfall but also in age and gender profiling, so that retailers could know more about the shoppers,” he said.   

Trakomatic technology can also be used to help retailers “feel their shoppers” through their emotions, such as whether a shopper is happy, sad, neutral or surprised. Retailers can also use this technology to “classify their shoppers” in terms of ethnicity, for example, if they are Chinese, Malaysians, Indians or Caucasians.

Adasoft is one of the exhibitors in the event. It will showcase many technology solutions including AI with image processฌing capability, which can be used to replace a barcode scanning system, Wissanupong said.

Shoppers can just place the purchased items at the cashier counter for the AI system to capture images of the products. It will then convert the  images into information for delivery to the cashier system.

Adasoft's other solution is the AI facial recognition system which scans the face  of a shopper for a search in the retailer's data base to find out if he/she is a member of the company. The technology cancels the need for shoppers to carry their membership cards, or disclose their mobile phone numbers. 

The AI facial recognition technology can also be used to capture a shopper's emotions, enhancing retailers' insights on consumers.

In the case of a shopper not being a member, the system will just inform his/her age and gender. 

This will help retailers know which group of customers is most interested in a particular product.