What Artificial Intelligence Knows About Retail Merchandising Might Surprise You
Artificial Intelligence or AI is poised to revolutionize business and life as much as any technology we have seen in our lifetime. Recently there has been a huge amount of hype around an AI natural language processing chabot known as ChatGPT. GPT stands for Generative Pretrained Transformer. Launched by startup Open AI in November of 2022, ChatGPT has gained viral popularity by virtue of its ability to use its Generative AI technology algorithm to harness vast amounts of data from the Internet and apply deep learning, pattern recognition, and natural language processing to produce human-like conversations with users.
Not only is Generative AI fundamentally transforming Internet search, but it is already replacing human workers in nearly all the companies that are using it. Microsoft recently launched Bing.AI and Google responded with its own product called Bard, but these Generative AI technologies, along with ChatGPT, have yet to be perfected as Google learned the hard way when Bard generated some wrong answers that erased $100 billion of market value from parent company Alphabet.
In today’s post, we decided to explore for ourselves what AI knows about retail merchandising so we interviewed ChatGPT to find out. Below in blue are the questions we typed into ChatGPT, and in red are the responses we received instantaneously.
Hi ChatGPT. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. There has been a lot of buzz about ChatGPT and AI in recent weeks. I thought we could start by having you tell us a little about yourself.
Sure! I’m ChatGPT, an AI assistant designed to help people in their day-to-day lives. I use natural language processing and machine learning to understand and respond to questions and requests. I’m constantly learning and evolving so I can provide better and more accurate answers. I’m also constantly growing my knowledge base so I can provide more accurate and helpful responses to queries.
By the way, I should have asked if you like to go by “ChatGPT” or if you prefer to be called by a nickname?
I don’t really have a preference. You can call me whatever you like!
There is a lot we could talk about, but I would like to focus our interview today on retail merchandising. I am interested in your perspective on some of the key trends in retail merchandising.
Sure, I’d be happy to share my perspective on the key trends in retail merchandising. The most important trend I’m seeing is the shift to a more streamlined and efficient approach to merchandising. Retailers are focusing on optimizing the customer experience by reducing clutter and streamlining the shopping process. They’re also utilizing data-driven insights to inform their merchandising decisions. This data-driven approach allows retailers to understand customer preferences and tailor their offerings accordingly. Additionally, retailers are increasingly leveraging technology to improve their merchandising processes, such as leveraging AI for product recommendations and personalization. Finally, the shift to e-commerce has been a key driver of change in the retail merchandising landscape.
Do you think online purchasing will continue to eat into sales of physical retail stores or do you see that trend leveling off?
I think it’s likely that the trend of online purchasing will continue to grow, at least in the short-term. Online shopping is becoming more convenient and accessible, and as a result, more and more people are opting to shop online. Additionally, many physical stores are now offering online shopping options, which further contributes to online sales growth. That said, I believe that physical stores will still remain a vital part of the retail industry in the long-term. Physical stores provide an opportunity for customers to touch and feel products before purchasing them, as well as offering a more personal shopping experience. As a result, I think physical stores will remain an important part of the retail landscape, even as the trend of online shopping continues to grow.
What are some of the key principles or best practices you think are important in achieving retail merchandising excellence?
The key principles or best practices for achieving retail merchandising excellence include understanding customer preferences and behavior, leveraging data to inform decisions, utilizing technology to streamline processes, creating an engaging customer experience, and staying ahead of trends. Additionally, it’s important to stay agile and responsive to changing customer needs and preferences. This requires retailers to regularly review customer feedback and adjust their merchandising strategies accordingly. Finally, it’s important to focus on creating a positive customer experience, both in-store and online. This includes providing easy-to-navigate stores, helpful customer service, and relevant product recommendations.
Clear and compelling messaging is critically important for brands to get noticed and capture consumer attention in a retail store. What suggestions would you have for brands who are looking to be clever in their messaging? Please show us how clever you are by answering this question in the form of a short poem that rhymes.
Messaging needs to be grand
So shoppers take a stand
Be creative and clever
To capture their attention forever
Incorporate technology and data
To ensure your message resonates
Ok, you seem to be a fairly accomplished poet. Can you provide advice on what a brand or retailer should consider in picking the right point-of-purchase display firm to work with? What is most important?
When selecting a point-of-purchase display firm to work with, it’s important to consider their experience and expertise. It’s also important to look at their portfolio to get an idea of the type of displays they have created for other clients. Additionally, it’s important to evaluate the company’s customer service and responsiveness to ensure that you are working with a partner who is reliable and easy to work with. Finally, it’s important to evaluate their pricing structure to ensure that it is a good fit for your budget.
As you know, retail stores are very competitive these days. Shoppers have lots of choices. What suggestions would you have for a brand that is looking to stand out and get noticed by shoppers?
My suggestion would be to focus on creating a unique customer experience. This could include offering unique and engaging in-store experiences, such as interactive displays, product demonstrations, and product customization. Additionally, they should focus on providing a seamless online shopping experience, with easy navigation, product recommendations, and fast delivery. Finally, they should focus on leveraging data to understand customer preferences and behavior, and use this information to tailor their offerings accordingly. By creating a unique and personalized customer experience, a brand can stand out from the competition and get noticed by shoppers.
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in our world today. What materials would you suggest that can be used in making retail displays to help brands achieve their sustainability goals?
When creating retail displays with sustainability in mind, it’s important to utilize materials that are eco-friendly and have a low environmental impact. This could include utilizing materials such as bamboo, recycled plastic, and other sustainable materials. Additionally, it’s important to focus on reducing waste and energy usage by utilizing reusable and recyclable materials. Finally, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of the manufacturing process and ensure that the company is using sustainable practices.
Let’s end on a lighter note. Tell me your best knock-knock joke related to retail merchandising?
Merchandise, so come on in and take a look!
Ok, that’s pretty good. How about another joke?
Why did the chicken cross the playground?
To get to the other slide!
ChatGPG, it has been a pleasure. Thank you for your time.
It was my pleasure! Thank you for the opportunity.
Jim Hollen is the owner and President of RICH LTD. (www.richltd.com), a 35+ year-old California-based point-of-purchase display, retail store fixture, and merchandising solutions firm which has been named among the Top 50 U.S. POP display companies for 9 consecutive years. A former management consultant with McKinsey & Co. and graduate of Stanford Business School, Jim has served more than 3000 brands and retailers over more than 20 years and has authored nearly 500 blogs and e-Books on a wide range of topics related to POP displays, store fixtures, and retail merchandising.
Jim has been to China more than 50 times and has worked directly with more than 30 factories in Asia across a broad range of material categories, including metal, wood, acrylic, injection molded and vacuum formed plastic, corrugated, glass, LED lighting, digital media player, and more. He also oversees RICH LTD.’s domestic manufacturing operation and has experience manufacturing, sourcing, and importing from numerous Asian countries as well as Vietnam and Mexico.
His experience working with brands and retailers spans more than 25 industries such as food and beverage, apparel, consumer electronics, cosmetics/beauty, sporting goods, automotive, pet, gifts and souvenirs, toys, wine and spirits, home improvement, jewelry, eyewear, footwear, consumer products, mass market retail, specialty retail, convenience stores, and numerous other product/retailer categories.