Can Artificial Intelligence Take the Guesswork Out of the Customer Journey?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is shedding light on one of the most examined yet least understood experiences of modern life: the customer journey. From shopping malls and sports arenas, to train stations and city streets, C2RO is an AI-powered video analytics platform that captures anonymized data about people’s movement so organizations can improve the customer experience.

“We analyze human behavior in physical spaces and transfer it into actionable data,” said Tim Heaney, vice president of Sales at C2RO. “With a fact-based understanding of the amount of people coming into a space, how they move through it with whom, where they linger, and what they touch and eventually purchase, organizations can manage physical environments more efficiently to improve the customer experience and business results.”

Real-Time Data Eases Commuter Experience

A transportation organization used data from C2RO to improve subway train and bus terminal planning.

“Based on the number of people boarding and leaving trains at certain times and days, as well as which direction they’re headed at terminals, transportation managers could alleviate traffic crunches,” said Heaney. “They could reverse escalator directions to help people more easily exit or enter terminals. Aligning vehicle dispatches to actual passenger traffic flows reduced wasted trips. It also means fewer people waiting in the cold or forced to stand in crowded cars and buses.”

Real-time data is particularly valuable to manage other operations such as shopping malls and entertainment venues during peak usage times like rush hour, holiday shopping, or performances. Companies can also use historical data for future planning.

Heaney added that monitoring in-person occupancy levels has helped organizations meet social distancing mandates during the pandemic.

Secure, Anonymized Data Powers Informed Decisions

C2RO’s platform was designed to be fully GDPR compliant. The metadata that customers receive on dashboards through a browser or mobile device is anonymized for privacy protection. Companies decide on the frequency of data updates, from real time to hourly, daily, or weekly.

Revenue Growth from AI-Based Algorithms 

There’s nothing trailblazing about counting customers – Heaney acknowledged that companies have been doing this for decades. However, C2RO provides highly accurate, granular, data-driven insights based on an organization’s KPIs.

“The data shows when someone came inside the store after looking at a promotion,” said Heaney. “Did they visit the promotional display, examine the item, and visit the POS? Which entrance and exit did they use? This is valuable data to help companies quickly evaluate promotions and make adjustments if something isn’t working as expected.”

Case in point was a convenience store that used C2RO to determine the relationship between high traffic displays, such as coffee, and other areas where product sales were lower. After discovering that 25% of the store’s space had no traffic at all, the management made layout changes to attract customers to overlooked areas and increase sales.

“Many customers tell us that their physical spaces are a blind spot, and our data opens their eyes to the metrics of what’s going on in their space,” said Heaney. “Mall owners can quantify the number of people visiting anchor tenants and identify cross-shopping patterns in other stores. With these statistics, they can sell space at a proven premium and help tenants drive stronger sales.”

SAP.iO Grows Market Opportunities with Expertise 

Heaney expected C2RO’s growth trajectory to continue, thanks in part to support from SAP that began during the company’s participation in the data and analytics cohort of SAP.iO Foundry Berlin.

“SAP’s brand is strong worldwide and providing us with introductions to their customers is a huge opportunity,” he said. “Our customer behavioral data is complementary to SAP solutions like SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. We also valued SAP’s sales and marketing expertise, helping us with our product messaging, value proposition, and packaging.”

C2RO is available on SAP Store.

AI Intelligence Addresses Competitive Market Demands

Originally founded as a cloud robotics startup, C2RO evolved to take advantage of existing video camera infrastructure worldwide. Heaney brings over 30 years of business experience to his position, having worked extensively in telecom, IT, electro-optics, and computer vision.

Besides retail and transportation, he saw potential value for C2RO in industrial manufacturing for production efficiency improvements, as well as sports and entertainment venues, where fans could time food and drink breaks to avoid peak crowds at the refreshment stand.

“Tough markets demand smarter, more scientific solutions to understand space management and visitor behaviors,” he said. “We’re at an inflection point where we can train intelligent algorithms much faster and have secure servers on-site while taking advantage of the cloud. AI-based intelligence is revealing the customer journey to achieve business results never imagined before.”


Follow me @smgaler.
This blog also appeared on SAP BrandVoice on Forbes.