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How three retailers are making for more personalized, rewarding in-store shopping experiences

Academy Sports
Academy Sports has a localized merchandising strategy.

An important part of a positive omnichannel customer experience is making shoppers feel recognized in the store.

As customers increasingly live and shop seamlessly, blending their experiences across physical and online channels with digital devices, retailers need to cater to their seamless needs and ensure they have an engaging, familiar and personalized in-store experience.  

Here's a look at how three retailers are making for more personalized and seamless shopping journeys.

All merchandising is local at Academy Sports

Academy Sports, which plans to open 13 to 15 new stores this year, has a localized merchandising strategy and a value proposition that allows it to connect with a broad range of consumers. The retailer’s product assortment focuses on key categories of outdoor, apparel, footwear and sports and recreation, and includes national brands and a portfolio of private label brands.

Key to Academy’s localized merchandising strategy is its ability to offer shoppers attractive prices in each community it serves utilizing Revionics’ Base Price solution. Additionally, with Revionics’ Markdown application, Academy can clear its seasonal inventory quickly and profitably, keeping its on-shelf selection fresh.

Academy is able take a customer-centric and data-driven approach to pricing, using an advanced AI platform to crunch massive amounts of data to help  understand how shoppers will react to different combinations of price increases and decreases.

This allows the retailer to price competitively on its most popular goods and be less aggressive on items where demand stays relatively stable even when prices go up. 

The Home Depot

The Home Depot rolled out its proprietary mobile in-store app, called Sidekick, in January 2023, in addition to mobile devices it provides store associates called hdPhones. 

Leveraging a cloud-enabled machine learning algorithm, the app guides associates to prioritize the highest-demand products, helping to ensure in-stocks for shoppers. Sidekick also utilizes machine vision to identify which shelves associates should restock, and the location of excess product on overhead shelves.

In a recent exclusive interview with Chain Store Age, Home Depot explained how as the holidays are approaching this fall, Home Depot has enabled the Sidekick app to help associates them find where a missing product is and then prioritize those holes in the in the sales floor. 

Those two capabilities are helping associates get better on-shelf availability for the products that customers need.

Ulta Beauty

Ulta Beauty is partnering with smart vending machine provider SOS to place interactive kiosks in select Ulta Beauty store locations across 10 cities in New York, Massachusetts, Florida, California and Texas. The kiosks will provide a seamless sampling experience for Ultamate Rewards loyalty program members and are also intended to incentivize new member sign-ups.

The kiosks will also serve as dynamic, interactive advertising platforms using digital screens for sampling awareness, product launches and brand messaging, linked to the retailer’s UB Media network advertising partners.

Existing loyalty members can enter their phone or email at a kiosk to gain access to their Ultamate rewards account to receive a free sample, while non-member customers can sign up and create an account at the machine to receive the samples. The machines will also offer complimentary Rael period care products for shoppers.

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