How brick-and-mortar stores can personalise shopping experience with AI
Priya Wadhwa
Artificial Intelligence

How brick-and-mortar stores can personalise shopping experience with AI

Intouch receives further investment from Egypt-based investor, A15.

Intouch, the Ireland-based retail personalisation platform, allows brick-and-mortar stores to collect in-store data about its customers using artificial intelligence (AI) to optimise customer interactions and operations. Their tool helps retailers with physical stores personalise the shopping experience and better connect their customers to appropriate products.

One of its investors, Egypt-based A15, has now doubled its initial investment in the AI-driven firm. It has also been providing in-kind services to Intouch, to strengthen its product offering to support retailers in the Middle East.

“The investment from A15 will strengthen our deep ties with the region and our commitment to serve the region with state-of-the-art technology to push the retail experiences for shoppers to the next level. The Middle East is vitally important to us with several pilots for the largest players in the region going live within the last year.”
Sameh Abdalla, CEO of Intouch

Intouch has developed an AI-driven in-store personalisation platform for grocery, convenience and petrol retailers to recommend products in real-time in physical retail stores. Their platform enables retailers to influence customers’ buying decisions through automated recommendations that increase sales and drive loyalty.

It counts Circle K as one of its clients, and has integrated its technology with Re-vision, a world leader in self-scanning software providers, which is co-sold by Microsoft.

Intouch’s technology automatically understands and responds to hyper-local individual contexts. For example, individual shop managers often print promotional materials to attract the local audience — 91% of which never reaches its target audience, according to Bain and Company — because it puts emphasis on content rather than context, such as the weather outside, demographics, or nearby social events.

Intouch’s technology is expected to counter this by putting context first, allowing retailers to customise their offers based upon multiple data points.

As per the 2018 Personalization Pulse Check from Accenture Interactive, 91 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that personalise their offering to customers, i.e. recognise, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations. However, this often works in favour of online retailers, who have the ability to use AI systems to provide such personalised experiences.

Offline retailers have been struggling in the face of such competition from online retailers. Intouch is dedicated to bring artificial intelligence systems to brick-and-mortar retailers to help them with solutions that are catered specifically to the Middle Eastern market. While the firm is based in Ireland, it has offices in Cairo, Egypt and Toronto, Canada.

According to A15, Egypt’s retail food sector is estimated to be $24.7 billion as of 2018; the market is expected to grow by 15%-20% by 2023. “By that time [...] purchasing power will increase after the government’s economic reform program, which was implemented in 2016. In so, the Egyptian retail foods sector is a ripe space for Intouch’s technology as modern retail food outlets collectively operate 1,500 outlets, representing 20% of the total sector sales,” explains Fadi Antaki CEO of A15.

He adds that A15’s regional offices and networks will pose as a launchpad for Intouch in MENA to boost its traction and client base in key markets as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Egypt.