Customers get AI help shopping at Al-Ikhsan Sports outlets

PETALING JAYA, 10 Aug 2023:

Taking cues from the customer experience at e-commerce stores, local sporting goods chain Al-Ikhsan Sports has rolled out an artificial intelligence (AI) aid for customers at all its 51 outlets nationwide.

Chief executive officer Vach Pillutla yesterday said the tech solution drive by artificial intelligence (AI) aims to “improve the overall customer journey within our stores”.

Designed and implemented by retail analytics platform ComeBy, this solution includes an interface on smartphones that customers can access to check on availability of sizes for selected sporting items and requesting for assistance from shop staff.

Because the ComeBy solution is linked to the Al-Ikhsan stock database, the interface will also direct to another nearby store if the sizes sought aren’t immediately available at the outlet where the customer is at.

“We were impressed by how much better the customer experience is with the ComeBy solution,” explained Pillutla. “It goes far beyond the sales generation and measurement of how effective our sales strategies are to draw in customers.”

Having done a pilot test some months earlier, the Comeby Solution was implemented at all 51 Al-Ikhsan stores last month – with the premise of being able to gather up to 80 data points of customers in each physical retail store, said ComeBy CEO Barry Ooi.

He said the solution “can improve individual store performance by putting in place initiatives to drive traffic, enhance front end look and feel to bring in higher footfalls or ensure stronger visual merchandising or even bring in the most appropriate merchandise for the catchment.”

He said the platform will also empower Al-Ikhsan Sports stores to measure staff performance, including visitor-to-customer conversion rates as well as average transaction values to upsell and obtain cross-selling capabilities.

“Armed with valuable insights on shopper browsing, best-selling products, and emerging trends, Al-Ikhsan Sports will be able to make informed decisions to eliminate blind spots and sustain its competitive edge,” Pillutla added.

The ComeBy solution is the latest in initiatives by Al-Ikhsan, following the launch of its sales rewards campaign until March 2024 where minimum purchases of RM100 will qualify for prizes and the highest amount spent will win the top rewards. Prizes to win:

  • Olympic Games 2024 opening ceremony in Paris (7D6N) worth RM50,000
  • EURO 2024 TRIP to Germany including Final UEFA EURO 2 match tickets (5D4N) worth RM40,000
  • EURO 2024 TRIP to Germany including Group Match UEFA EURO 2 match tickets (5D4N) worth RM35,000
  • Trip to Anfield / Liverpool for 2 including EPL match tickets (5D4N) worth RM25,000
  • F1 VIP Pass + trip / season 2024 worth RM12,500
  • Racing Experience in Sepang International Circuit worth RM10,000
  • 4x RM7,500 al-ikhsan cash vouchers rewards
  • Monthly prizes including smart phones and electrical goods.

Al-Ikhsan Sports started in 1993, when founder Ali Hassan opened his first store in Holiday Plaza, Johor Bahru after a rather painful experience when buying football boots and became determined to help Malaysians to get quality goods at affordable prices.

Following the entry of Ekuiti Nasional Bhd as a shareholder in 2016, Al-Ikhsan Sports has grown and introduced in 2018 a new branding of Football Republic, which specialises in football sports products only – resulting in almost 190 outlets under both brands across the peninsula.