DETROIT, Jan. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Mars Agency is partnering with specialty beverage retailer, BevMo!, to conduct the next phase of testing for its breakthrough, voice-activated, SmartAisle shopper platform for retailers. SmartAisle is the first voice-powered, in-store shopping assistant, providing superior product selection and education support at the point of purchase. This proprietary, patent-pending shopper tool combines an intuitive voice interface, a powerful artificial intelligence engine and navigational LED shelf lights.
Shoppers can experience the live 5-store pilot of SmartAisle in BevMo! stores at the following locations in California, through the end of March:
Oakland, 525 Embarcadero
San Jose, 14800 Camden Ave.
Santa Clara, 3149 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Mira Mesa, 8140 Mira Mesa Blvd.
Carmel Mountain, 11475 Carmel Mountain Rd.
"We're excited to partner with The Mars Agency and test the SmartAisle platform in our stores," says Tamara Pattison, Chief Marketing & Information Officer at BevMo!. "This simply enhances our commitment to using technology to offer better customer experiences and this kind of forward-thinking, in-store solution is totally in line with our strategy."
The SmartAisle system is embedded in a stand-alone merchandising display in the lobby of each BevMo! store. It features nearly 50 whiskey bottles, an Amazon Echo smart speaker and custom signage that instructs users how to launch the experience.
Once initiated, SmartAisle guides shoppers through a few simple questions about their whiskey preferences, such as type, taste profile, price, etc. It then filters the assortment down to three recommended bottles, reading out names and custom descriptions. Shelf lights highlight the locations of the recommended bottles. Alternatively, shoppers can ask about a specific bottle or brand, and also receive a recommendation with a similar taste profile.
The whole experience is designed to last no longer than two minutes. To keep it interesting and different each time, SmartAisle mixes in additional product information, whiskey facts and even jokes.
"Voice is poised to surpass mobile as the preferred digital shopping interface within the next five years. Voice commerce is expected to grow from $2 billion today to $40 billion by 2022. When it does, we'll be ready to seize the opportunity," states Ethan Goodman, SVP of Innovation at The Mars Agency.
"The potential impact is limitless," says Jason Hittleman, The Mars Agency's Chief Technology Officer. "AI and voice technology are going to change retail altogether."
In February 2018, Mars partnered with an independent retailer in Manhattan to test a similar SmartAisle whiskey selector. The 2-month pilot was very successful, resulting in a 20% YOY sales lift for the featured bottles and positive feedback from shoppers about the experience.
Ken Barnett, Global CEO at The Mars Agency, shared plans to expand the program. "We believe SmartAisle has the potential to transform the way people shop for products across a wide range of categories. We're in discussions with several brands and retailers to turn that vision into reality."
About BevMo! BevMo! is the leading alcoholic beverage specialty retailer in the western United States, with nearly 170 stores located throughout California, Arizona and Washington. BevMo! provides a uniquely friendly and welcoming environment for competitively priced alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The retailer also has a wide assortment of complementary products such as specialty foods and snacks, cigars, glassware and related bar and wine accessories. Its friendly and product-knowledgeable team members assist both enthusiasts and first-time buyers of wine, spirits and beer. BevMo!'s philosophy is simple: we help find the "perfect drink for every glass."
The Mars Agency – The Growth Company The Mars Agency is a global marketing practice, specializing in marketing to shoppers, consumers and retailers across the ever-expanding omnicommerce environment. Mars uniquely refers to this environment as the A-to-V CommerceSM space, which incorporates everything from Autonomous to Voice commerce.
Mars, proud of its independence and growth-for-clients focus, operates internationally across the Americas, Europe and Asia through its network of 13 offices.