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Interim Report for FY24

Eagle Eye Interim Report 2024

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Transforming the Grocery Loyalty & Shopping Experience with Artificial Intelligence

Transforming the Grocery Loyalty & Shopping Experience with Artificial Intelligence
Transforming the Grocery Loyalty & Shopping Experience with AI

Imagine a supermarket that can predict what shoppers will buy before they enter the store? That’s the potential power of artificial intelligence (AI) within the grocery sector.

AI software analyzes massive amounts of data, providing grocers with insights beyond just numbers. It's like having a super-powered inventory manager and marketing team rolled into one. AI has the potential to be a win-win scenario for grocers and their customers, leading to more convenient, efficient, and satisfying shopping experiences. How can AI be implemented to achieve these mutual benefits?

Today’s shoppers want personalization; according to our 2023 report, Grocery’s Great Loyalty Opportunity, 60% said it was "very" or “extremely” important to receive personalized offers, and 84% believe personalized offers save them money. With the help of AI, grocers can deliver on that need by leveraging data to deliver individually targeted offers, build emotional connections, and elevate customer loyalty in a crowded market. But they also face loyalty program hurdles: thin margins, generic rewards, and rampant competition. AI can resolve many of these pain points.

AI Creates Personalized Grocery Shopping

The most transformative power of AI may lie in 1-to-1 customer personalization. As grocers pursue true 1-to-1 personalization at scale, AI empowers retailers to become more data-driven and customer-centric, translating to a more personalized shopping experience for customers and increased efficiency and profitability. What does that AI-powered grocery shopping experience look like?  Think of targeted coupons with optimized prices for deals adjusted in real-time to boost sales and reduce waste.

Empty shelves and generic discounts can be a thing of the past as more grocers embrace AI to understand customers’ needs better than ever. AI analyzes vast amounts of data, including purchases, demographics, and social media sentiment, to create highly targeted promotions and loyalty initiatives.

AI can also optimize inventory management, which can be an issue for grocers. As the past few years of supply chain challenges and unanticipated demand spikes have highlighted, grocers are at constant risk of foregoing revenue due to out-of-stock items and keeping operating capital locked up in excessive inventory. By analyzing the weather, local trends, and social media, AI can help stores predict demand and ensure the right products are always in stock, minimizing waste and maximizing sales. Even product placement gets smarter. AI analyzes traffic patterns to create "heat maps" that show where shoppers linger. This helps stores strategically place high-demand items and group complementary products to encourage impulse buys.

Beyond physical stores, AI is transforming online grocery delivery. In "micro-fulfillment centers," robots directed by AI pick and pack online orders, making the process faster and more efficient. And for shoppers’ in-store questions, AI-powered chatbots are available 24/7, offering instant responses about products, promotions, and locations.

The Nuance Advantage AI Brings Grocery Retailers

Taking personalization one significant step further, AI unlocks the "why" behind purchases, analyzing factors like frequency, time of day, and even what items are purchased together. AI can predict future needs, like offering discounts on charcoal to shoppers who usually buy grilling meats with their burger purchases. It personalizes offers based on local events, sending party supply deals to shoppers who stockpile chips and soda before holidays and game days.

AI provides this unique nuance, allowing grocery retailers to avoid bombarding shoppers with irrelevant offers. As AI learns from behavioral buying patterns, rewards and discounts can become more relevant, creating deeper engagement and loyalty. It’s a shift from generic loyalty programs to ones designed for individual customers.

For grocers who want to elevate engagement, the nuance advantage allows them to differentiate themselves through unique loyalty programs and targeted promotions, thereby boosting sales. By leveraging the data grocers already have available, AI personalizes retail marketing, transforming it from mass campaigning to deftly targeting individual customers with relevant offers and engaging loyalty experiences.

Examples of AI in Grocery Loyalty Programs

Several grocers are already committed to AI-powered personalization, and they’re reaping the rewards. Two examples of AI in action within the grocery sector include Carrefour, one of the world’s largest food retailers, which launched Carrefour’s Challenges last year in partnership with Untie Nots (part of the Eagle Eye Group). This gamified loyalty initiative uses AI to tailor reward thresholds and challenge goals based on member purchase history and preferences and has been an unqualified success for the French grocery chain.

Customers receive "challenges" with custom thresholds and goals, like discounts on frequently bought items. Carrefour uses AI to gamify shopping, incentivizes engagement through promotions, and leverages predictive analysis to trigger the next desired action. The personalization platform also matches the right thresholds and goals to the right customers and works seamlessly at scale across all channels, creating incredible value.

ASDA, the UK retailer that is another early AI adopter, launched its highly successful loyalty program, ASDA Rewards, in 2022. The program, which already has over 6 million active members, allows customers to earn pounds instead of points. And gamification is the critical program trigger where customers must meet product, spend, and frequency targets to earn cash.

In 2023, ASDA elevated its customer engagement strategy by introducing additional AI-powered gamified elements called "Spin-to-Win" and "Scan-to-Win" to the value proposition. These interactive games add an exciting twist to the shopping experience and have contributed to the results generated by ASDA Rewards, which now account for nearly half of all ASDA’s revenue.

The AI-Powered Future of Grocery Retail

Earning and keeping customer loyalty is crucial in the highly competitive grocery sector. AI can play a pivotal role in achieving this by analyzing vast amounts of data to help grocers understand and predict what customers might want next—and when they want it--thereby reducing waste and ensuring availability.

More than just optimizing inventory, AI transforms customer interactions through personalized communication and offers. By customizing marketing messages and loyalty rewards to align with individual behaviors and preferences, AI ensures customers receive a shopping experience that feels exclusively tailored to them. This strategic use of technology elevates customer satisfaction and delivers a sense of unique value to an individual shopper.

Using AI to treat customers as individuals at scale is the future of retail marketing, and no category of retailers will benefit more than grocers.

Grocers, already at an advantage with a wealth of customer data from well-established loyalty programs and higher foot traffic and purchase frequency (compared to other retailers), are primed to benefit from predictive AI. The technology allows them to craft shopping experiences that feel uniquely tailored to each customer, deepening engagement and loyalty. By embracing this approach, they're not just enhancing relationships with their customers; they're stepping into a new era of retail where personalized everything isn't just a strategy—it's the cornerstone of growth and a new definition of success in the grocery sector.

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