Retailers, let's face the challenges
of innovation together

Matthieu JOLLY
4 minutes

BevMo! The American Liquor Stores

You want to buy whiskey but all the sellers are already busy with other customers? Instead of waiting silly on the shelf, ask SmartAisle, the voice-activated sales adviser furniture that finds the right bottle for you in less than two minutes.

Fact : A smart store shelf that can replace a shop advisor

You want to offer a bottle of whiskey to your father-in-law but unfortunately you don’t know much about it. To avoid making any mistakes, you are forced to wait patiently for a salesman to come and advise you, hoping that he really knows something about whiskey! Or if you don’t want to waste your time unnecessarily, go to the SmartAisle furniture installed in the heart of five stores of the American brand BevMo!




All started with the independant New York liquor store Bottlerocket that was the first to test the solution created by The Mars Agency called Bottle Genius. They experienced a 20% increase in their turnover after implementing the solution. This solution, now named SmartAisle, is deployed at liquor chain BevMo!

In practical terms, it is a voice-activated sales advisor located in the heart of the department. His role? Allow you to find the right bottle for your needs in less than two minutes.


Bottlerocket alexa

Once you face the furniture, just say “Alexa, open SmartAisle” and the experience begins. Amazon’s voice assistant then asks you a series of questions to determine your needs. For what occasion would you like to buy a bottle? What are your tastes? How much do you want to spend? Immediately analysed by artificial intelligence, your answers make it possible to identify the three bottles that, among the fifty or so available, correspond most closely to your desire of the moment. The furniture then takes care of showing them to you thanks to a lighting system. It is then up to you to choose the one you will buy.

Decoding : Towards a simpler and more automated customer journey

To engage the customer in a sustainable way, two axes currently coexist. The first: to offer him a simple, automated journey that allows him to save time and be efficient. Any examples? Amazon, the drive, the self-checkout,… Second axis: to make the customer live a different, unique and even magical experience. This is clearly the card that retailers are currently playing by gradually transforming their stores into living spaces.

Voice assistants are clearly part of the first axe, that of simplification and time saving. But does their role end there?  With Il était une fois une brique, the French brand Fnac and LEGO are innovating with an Advent calendar that delivers a daily story of Santa Claus on Google Home. Here, it is in the heart of the home that the experience takes place every day in December. A moment that can also be a time of sharing between children and parents around a connected speaker…

With SmartAisle, voice assistants leave home to enter the point of sale for a different purpose. Experience is not at the heart of the system. It is indeed the search for short-term turnover that prevails. The device is inexpensive and attempts to create traffic at the point of sale through word of mouth.  But its real benefit is of course to effectively supplement salespeople if they are overwhelmed or if the customer does not want to talk to them.




Thanks to artificial intelligence, the automation of the advice allows the customer to find and buy the right bottle in less than two minutes. How? How? Each whiskey is qualified not according to its physical characteristics (flavours, brand, origin, etc.) but according to the use that can be made of it. Blended malt, rye or single cask: only insiders understand and master the technical language associated with alcohol. By popularizing its use, BevMo! makes it accessible to the greatest number of people. This approach can or must be integrated into the salespeople’s training plan so that they can adapt to each consumer’s level of knowledge to avoid constantly talking about connoisseur jargon.

Matthieu JOLLY
Facing with the changes in retail, today's innovations help Matthew to think about tomorrow's relationship between the brand and the consumer.
Back to the top

Recommended posts