Google’s cloud-based data, AI, and omnichannel customer experience capabilities are playing a pivotal role in helping retailers unlock new opportunities and enhance customer experiences through digital channels. Paul Tepfenhart, Global Director for Google Cloud and Head of Food, Drug, Mass, and Convenience Retail Solutions, highlighted the company’s commitment to providing core capabilities to retailers worldwide, regardless of their size or budget. This allows even regional grocers to effectively compete in their markets, offering exceptional service, efficient operations, and outstanding experiences to their customers.
In the rapidly evolving landscape of consumer behavior, digital shopping tools have become more crucial than ever. Tepfenhart noted that pre-COVID, only a small fraction of businesses operated digitally, but post-COVID, digital channels account for 10% to 15% of business for many retailers, and in some cases even higher. This shift signifies a permanent transformation, with consumers expecting seamless integration of digital tools to save time, access better deals, and improve efficiency.
To stay competitive, Google is focusing on four key areas to shape the store of the future and create robust omnichannel experiences: data-centricity, digital and omnichannel experiences, modernizing the in-store experience, and promoting efficiency and sustainability in store operations.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) emerges as a game-changer, capable of delivering personalized digital shopping experiences that resonate with individual customers. The holy grail of digital shopping, according to Tepfenhart, is one-to-one personalization. AI technology enables retailers to connect the dots within their consumer data, leveraging information from promotion engagements to call-center interactions. By implementing a data platform, retailers can achieve one-to-one personalization at scale, tailoring recommendations and product suggestions based on unique preferences, health concerns, and purchase history.
AI’s potential goes beyond recommendations; it can streamline mundane tasks in online shopping. Tepfenhart envisions AI taking the lead in creating shopping carts that align with consumer preferences, reducing the effort for customers while enhancing their exploration of new products.
For retailers, regardless of their size, Google encourages starting small and gradually expanding digital capabilities. Smaller and regional grocers can focus on one or two areas to enhance their digital shopping experience. Implementing a customer data platform is another crucial step for retailers to leverage the power of AI and personalized recommendations effectively.
Google aims to democratize data and AI, making it accessible to all retailers, from major players to corner grocery stores. As a responsible enterprise partner, Google believes in empowering retailers of all sizes to compete effectively and thrive in the increasingly digital world of retail.