It’s hard to believe that another year is coming to a close. Before we officially bid adieu to 2022, we’re reflecting on our favorite moments and product milestones from the past year. Whether you’re our customer or just passing by, we’re grateful you’re seeing our year in review, and we look forward to connecting with you more in the new year!
Omnichannel is here to stay
COVID-19 accelerated the merging of the physical and digital worlds, forcing the grocery and broader retail industries to meet rising consumer expectations. Today’s consumers are shopping across various channels with a growing array of payment methods. Every one of those trips and clicks is an opportunity to better engage and delight them with new product offers, promotional deals or rewards they would otherwise miss.
The most forward-thinking organizations are doubling down on digital experience investments to boost brand loyalty and maximize customer lifetime value. Companies that utilize data infrastructure and AI-powered solutions to get and remain closer to their customers through reliable first-party data are well-positioned heading into 2023.
In-person is back
Both grocery shoppers and industry events returned to the physical world in a big way. U.S. consumers led the return to in-store shopping, with 48% of shoppers going in-store more than they did two years ago. What’s more, 38% said they enjoyed the process of discovering new products when shopping in brick-and-mortar locations, highlighting an area of opportunity in 2023.
In April, foot traffic at grocery stores generally returned to levels not seen since 2019. Around the same time, the Microblink Commerce team returned to in-person industry events, starting with Shoptalk USA. Thousands of attendees gathered in Las Vegas to talk about the ever-changing retail tech landscape, and those who visited our booth experienced AI-powered product recognition technology for themselves. (More on that milestone below!)
Between hiring and onboarding employees across Product & Engineering, and our Brooklyn-based team movin’ on up to the 23rd and 24th floors, our Commerce org headed across the pond in June for Shoptalk EU, followed by July planning meetings in Zagreb.
We were thrilled to have our three software engineering interns join us in the capital of Croatia to toast summer, brainstorm compelling customer problems solvable by A.I., and finally – present their projects. Those projects included working on training a model to read abbreviated receipt descriptions and translate them into full product names, an image stitching app on Android, and an iOS app to help our data collection teams on the ground. We can’t wait to welcome our next class of engineering interns next summer.
After celebrating the unofficial end of summer with a look at every U.S. state’s favorite ice cream flavor (we see you, New York, and we agree), we headed back to Vegas for Groceryshop 2022.
Whether a technology provider, traditional retailer, or brand, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center was abuzz with individuals looking to reimagine the “direct to consumer” engagement model and to utilize data to deliver magical, personalized shopping experiences.
It was a pleasure to reconnect with grocery colleagues and showcase our AI-powered computer vision product innovations.
Digitizing the shelf
Last, but certainly not least, we brought our latest offering, BlinkShelf, to market in under 12 months – an ambitious undertaking that involved virtually every team across Microblink, from AI and Engineering to Design and our Data teams. This builds upon our computer vision expertise and product intelligence to evolve our core receipt scanning technology into scanning real-world shelves and product images.
By integrating our technology into their existing apps, customers’ users can capture grocery shelves and detect products in real-time. It’s a significant step towards truly digitizing the shelf that opens up a variety of use cases across promotional and product discovery, personalization, market research and more.
We’re able to identify which specific products users have purchased through receipts, regardless of merchant – and now, we’re able to detect which products they’re scanning on shelves. Achieving this required significant upfront investment in building our own product catalog (the number of products ingested into our taxonomy within a given market). Today, our product catalog contains 15 million products and growing, which when combined with our product intelligence, allows us to match or identify receipt or product images to the UPC.
It’s an exciting and rewarding time to be part of Microblink. Our growth (recently recognized on Deloitte’s Technology #Fast500 list) is attributed to enterprise-ready AI solutions and best-in-class user experiences born from a culture of curiosity.
Thanks for being part of our year and pushing us to bring the benefits of AI to every person on earth. We’re just getting started, and we can’t wait to see what 2023 brings!