A Virtual Presenter Who Plays By the Numbers

March 2, 2014

Like any good exhibitor, RetailNext wanted to capture the attention of retailers at National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Retail’s BIG Show in New York. Like any good exhibitor, they wanted to do something that would be relevant to their business, their booth visitors and they wanted it to drive conversations.

RetailNext helps retailers, shopping centers and even manufacturers analyze data on store traffic and buyer behavior. Their customers are interested in the use of displays to interact and engage with their own customers and potential customers. The question is, what would connect the two?

Enter PRSONAS. PRSONAS is the maker of virtual presenters. Using artificial intelligence and computer generated visual technologies, the virtual presenter interacts with customers, or in this case, booth visitors.

Suzanne Tran, director of marketing communications for RetailNext, said she knew the interaction would be something different for that audience. It was something RetailNext had never done before, so they wondered just what the reaction would be.

RetailNext took a laid back approach with their virtual presenter. She acted as the crowd gatherer and initial point of contact for booth visitors. After a very short overview video, (all RetailNext’s messages were less than one minute long), the virtual presenter invited visitors who wanted more information to tap one of the sales reps on the shoulder.

Tran said, “this was a technical audience, so it’s good. It wasn’t intimidating. They felt at ease and not pressured to interact. There wasn’t the pressure of hovering sales reps hanging around.”

Tran said the mobile display was quick and easy to set up and packed up nicely in a suitcase making it easy to carry around. Installation time was just a few minutes.

Most of the work is in the scripts that needed to be created which PRSONAS can advise on. Once the scripts were written, it was back in PRSONAS hands where they found a voiceover actress to read the scripts and then coded the display so the virtual presenter’s lips would synch with the words.

RetailNext picked what their presenter would wear and selected hair and eye color. The entire process from scripting to approval was quick and easy, according to Tran.

As far as results go, Tran was pleased. They had 800 views of the welcome screen. On the first day, the average engagement time was 40 seconds. On the second day, that time was increased to one minute and fifteen seconds.

Tran said, “One of the No. 1 goals was to spread brand awareness, but the sales goal was to generate leads. She (the virtual presenter) did her job. She was great at attracting and building traffic, but also helped solidify the brand. She also converted people. The ‘request information’ screen was one of the top hits.”

She added, “RetailNext is all about analytics for retail stores. PRSONAS does that with (the virtual presenter). PRSONAS gives you analytics after the show.” Some of the information PRSONAS supplied was how long visitors engaged with the virtual presenter and what actions they took.

Booth visitors had the added value of not just learning about RetailNext, but also taking a technology they could use in their own environments for a test drive.

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