Evaluating AI applications in retail by Adnams and Alertiee

Adnams and Alertiee have completed their pilot to evaluate AI applications in retail.

The goal of the pilot was to evaluate the usefulness of the Internet of Things (IoT) and video analytics technologies in a retail space in a modern way.

Adnams (www.adnams.co.uk) is a regional brewery founded in Southwold, Suffolk, England whose business includes Pubs (owned by, and partners with), as well as owned stores, in addition to the brewery itself. Adnams’ modern and omnichannel approach in engaging with its customers has put the company in a unique position, both in terms of its outreach and its social responsibilities, to enhance health and safety measures for both customers and staff in all of its locations and premises types.

Adnams Store & Cafe, Southwold, IP18 6GB
Adnams Store & Cafe, Southwold, IP18 6GB

The goal of the pilot was to evaluate the usefulness of the Internet of Things (IoT) and video analytics technologies in a retail space in a modern way by;

  • Providing insights about store performance and busyness 
  • Using occupancy management for health and safety purposes
  • Testing customer insight and attribute technology 
  • Evaluating store performance as a function of metrics such peak day/time  
  • Assessing the usefulness of the analytics dashboard 

The pilot ran between 1 April 2021  and 1 June 2021, during which the Adnams and Alertiee team tested the applications of IoT and AI in monitoring the physical space of a retail shop digitally. The team used Alertiee proprietary software to manage store busyness, capacity level, and Covid-related compliance measures. 

The direct connection between providing a safe and enjoyable shopping experience and consumers visiting high street shops has proven to be a key factor in welcoming customers back. Alertiee-connected sensors and cameras provided rich and reliable insights into how stores operate. 

The number of connected devices is forecast to rise to 25 billion by 2050 globally, with a quarter of these being in Europe. Closing of the gap between the digital and physical worlds has become inevitable, and the pandemic has accelerated the adoption rate of IoT and AI in many domains, including retail space. Brick-and-mortar shops are finding it more difficult than ever to increase their conversion rate and average basket size, as many customers use physical stores as a showroom before completing their purchase online. However, Alertiee technology aims to help retail stores to enhance and engage with their shoppers in an effective way. 

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An example of video analytics (stock footage for illustration purposes only)  — by Alertiee

In this pilot, Adnams and Alertiee tested sensors and cameras as a primary source of gathering information about the physical store space. With Alertiee technology, the team managed to create a digital twin of the shop, and successfully measured; safe store capacity levels at all times; mask-wearing and compliance measures, and store performance with metrics such as peak operating days and hours. 

Moreover, one of the critical aspects of this project was evaluating Alertiee’s Privacy by design platform. According to standard guidelines, Adnams and Alertiee have carried this project well within both the letter and spirit of the relevant legislation such as GDPR. Furthermore, regarding gathered data, there wasn’t any personal and identifiable information about customers or staff gathered, and finally, the interests of Adnams’s customers were paramount at all times.

How to use AI applications in retail?

By utilising this technology, the team can identify an opportunity, then boost store conversion rate, customer engagement, and future experience level. With the Alertiee comprehensive physical/digital analytics dashboard, store managers could make better space and operation-related decisions, such as organising staff availability, operation planning (deliveries), and in-store customer experience. 

We have been pleased to work with Sahand and his team on this project following an introduction through Tech East. The successful pilot has given our retail teams the ability to validate intuitive insights and dig into detail on how our customers move around and interact within the store. Together with Alertiee, we have been able to apply cutting edge artificial intelligence in a non-intrusive and safe way that allows us to focus on delighting our customers.” – Daniel Garner, Head of IT, Adnams 

This was an amazing opportunity to work with Adnams team, who are enthusiastic about technology and had the confidence to embrace it. With many AI applications, it is always the case of testing it under real-world conditions, understanding the mechanism behind the technology, and then applying it to the problem which is worth solving. In this case, we knew we had a technology with a lot of potentials and applications, but during the pilot, we’ve realised what are the key challenges retail stores are facing, and then we redefine our technology to solve those issues.” – Sahand Malek, CEO, Alertiee 

In this pilot, Adnams and Alertiee have managed to create a bridge between the physical and digital worlds by designing a digital twin store and closing the digital-physical gap for future retail experiences by using AI and IoT to generate meaningful insights.

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Sahand Malek