How will an AI-powered DOOH network change the face of retail visual marketing?
Change is the only constant is a very popular adage and nowhere is it truer than in the field of commerce. As consumer trends and desires keep on evolving, both retailers and advertisers are
hard-pressed to keep ahead of others. One particular retail outlet that has shown tremendous potential in satisfying consumers' heightened demands for convenience and personalization is digital out-of-home (DOOH) networks. These networks continue to grow in popularity as a means of reaching out to customers, but it is also important to gauge what role will artificial intelligence play in future development? And how will an AI-powered DOOH network change the face of retail visual marketing?
What is AI?
Artificial Intelligence or AI refers to a branch of computer science concerned with machines such as robots or software programs that can sense their surroundings using sensors and interpret the information gathered through advanced computations. Over time they can make independent decisions such as where to go and what to do without explicit commands. Thus, AI has become more advanced with the passage of time, allowing programs to adapt their behavior based on new information and data. IBM's Watson platform is one such example that uses machine learning techniques to simultaneously analyze data from multiple sources.
Unlike earlier systems that were often rule-based with fixed decision criteria, AI is capable of adapting quickly in the face of increased and diverse information. It also has the ability to scale, meaning it can be taught to perform a task in one location and this knowledge can then be applied elsewhere without requiring additional programming or instruction. This is an added benefit of using AI.
What impact will AI have on DOOH?
Digital out-of-home networks are already growing at a rapid pace. The impact of AI on DOOH is already starting to show, particularly in Asia where technologies are making their way into the continent's thousands of existing digital screens. For instance, Omnicom Media Group Asia-Pacific has partnered with Alibaba Cloud in China to use AI for its media platforms in order to deliver personalized ads based on weather conditions and changing demographics.
Digital out-of-home advertising can also be extremely effective at targeting specific demographics depending on location. For example, an advertiser may choose a particular screen in case it is located near their targeted demography. Moreover, AI can further improve targeting by taking into account new data that is gathered each time the out-of-home advertising space is accessed. If a consumer interacts with a screen regularly, then an advertiser using AI technology will be able to learn about their preferences and modify their ads accordingly.
A move towards personalized shopping experiences is gaining more traction as shoppers now are
less likely to be satisfied with a generic message that fails to cater to their individual needs. AI-powered DOOH networks can provide more relevant information based on a shopper's tastes and preferences, blocking irrelevant adverts and thereby increasing the chance of them making a purchase.
How will an AI-powered DOOH network change the face of retail visual marketing
Personalized ads are currently available on smartphones with most major social media platforms offering this service. For example, Facebook uses information about the user to display advertising content that they feel will be more relevant or interesting based on their previous behaviors. However, with AI-powered DOOH networks having access to a much larger range of data than smartphone applications, advertisers can better understand consumer demographics and locations which in turn allows them to create highly personalized messaging across the network of screens in real-time.
The use of AI in the field of DOOH also has the potential to increase brand awareness by using smart signage. The technology takes into account what products are being viewed by consumers while visiting store premises. It can further analyze shoppers' preferences over different promotional periods (e.g. weekends/holidays). AI, thus, can be used to recommend items to customers depending on their preferences and purchase history. For example, a consumer that
views sunglasses might receive an advertisement for sun lotion during the summer months or additional sunscreen products depending on how frequently they view this section of the retail store.
A similar practice is already being implemented in South Korea where digital screens can recognize shoppers who enter certain stores through facial recognition technology. Once identified, appropriate personalized recommendations based on previous shopping behavior are shown on nearby screens.
AI-powered DOOH networks also have the ability to provide real-time data analytics for businesses that own them. This includes information regarding demographics, footfall, dwell times, and information such as what other shops are visited by the local customers. This information provides actionable insights for retail brands that are then implemented quickly for better business. For instance, if a sales volume drops at one location it can inform management whether this is due to underperforming products or poor store layout which could result in rapid transformations.
Although the majority of AI technology used in DOOH networks today is still heavily reliant on programming, there has been an increase in the use of machine learning. These systems are designed to improve themselves over time through observation rather than being explicitly programmed, making them capable of more sophistication as they collect larger data sets. The process involves taking labeled data and formatting it into categories where algorithms learn from a series of examples. With enough exposure to labeled data (e.g. images of flowers), algorithms can learn to spot distinctions between different objects.
AI powered DOOH network can change the face of retail visual marketing through the ability to personalize messaging to consumers and provide real-time analytics for business organizations. Thus, we can safely say that AI is the need of the hour.
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