We live in a world where artificial intelligence is now slowly becoming part and parcel of everyday life. Whether it is the avenue of mobile technology with the introduction of smart devices. Or the arena of finance where payment methods are becoming more mobile and autonomous with each passing day. The truth is that artificial intelligence is no more a far-fetched reality but has found its place in our world.
AI In Retail
There is no surprise that AI has found its way into an industry that almost everyone and anyone is intertwined with – the retail industry.
Over the past few years, online shopping has begun to establish itself. With a strong force of online retailers popping up and taking over the rather traditional methods of retail i.e. in-person retail stores. This shift gained even more momentum during the pandemic. Many developing countries also jumping on the bandwagon of online shopping.
Therefore, AI has begun to take center stage for such enterprises to provide consumers with personalized products and establishing roots of AI in Retail Industry. Additionally, a shopping experience tailored to their individual needs. This impact is now becoming a powerful tool that can help retail brands get a step ahead of their competitors.
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So what really Artificial intelligence in the retail industry is doing?
AI can automate in-store operations in an attempt to reduce operational expenses. Also, provide a seamless and “calm” experience for the shopper.
It holds the ability to quite literally replace in-store sales personnel and provide assistance to customer’s on-the-go. This, coupled with the ability for customers to pay through digital payment methods can help create an experience where physical contact is no more a necessity.
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For the retailers, AI can monitor stock in real-time and provide tracking updates to make sure that accurate data is there about the products available at the retailer. It can also go a step further to digitize store displays and even trial rooms!
Isn’t it cool to see how a shirt would look on you without actually having to try that shirt on?
Some online retailers for optical accessories now offer customers the opportunity to scan their faces and “try” on glasses to see whether they would suit their facial features.
24/7 Customer Service
With the introduction of AI chatbots, retailers have been able to answer customer queries regardless of what the time maybe. So for a consumer that wishes to shop in the middle of the night. There will always be someone ready to respond to their questions.
This also means that customer interaction is no more restricted to physical retail stores. With AI, customer engagements improve by building interactive chat programs that can cover not only frequently asked questions. But also recommend products, address any concerns and also collect consumer data to provide a customer-centric experience for each consumer.
The fashion giant H&M has shown the potential that AI has by utilizing the chatbot messenger application Kik to provide users the ability to make choices from recommendations. While also helping them filter through style preferences so they only see the products that they want to see.
With an intelligence solution as diverse as AI, retailers can make use by utilizing it to provide information for pricing strategies. AI can learn from consumer behavior and interaction. To provide data that can better understand consumer patterns and help the retailer understand what pricing models will suit their customer base.
It can help retailers shift prices based on demand, seasonal trends, or mere customer traffic at a given time.
Inventory planning is a demon that all retailers have to face – a demon that has retailers lose money every single year.
With AI-enabled logistic management, the retailers can get data about product demands. Moreover, historical sales and any other trends that are related to inventory management and product placement.
AI also works within the warehouses to better utilize space and effectively place products depending on the availability of space and in line with store demands.
Customer Insights And Personalization
With technologies like biometric or facial recognition that can identify customers revisiting stores and provide them with options based on their likes. AI can create a personal level consumer experience for them.
Advanced AI algorithms also have the ability to carry out research on demographics and offer certain locations the type of content that they are more likely to look for. In other words, through AI each area will be shown the products that are more liked by the people there and in line with general customer demands.
This holds the potential of carrying out in-depth consumer research. This can help decode trends and help the retailer understand the kind of products they should be making for each demographic.
Machine learning retail software can classify millions of items from a variety of sellers and categorize them for customers. To provide them with just the type of product that they’re looking for.
For example, if you’re looking for a particular color and type of shoe, you can simply take a picture of that shoe and search it online. You will have hundreds of options for that same product, which obviously makes it an easy consumer journey as compared to the older need of visiting each retailer individually and sifting through the products to find exactly what you’re looking for.
With AI, there is no need to have long hours of sifting through a data warehouse. Or spending time in back-office activities.
With an automated system in place, retailers can spend more time on creating better products. And leave all office management and paperwork to the AI systems in place.
Future of Retail With AI
Artificial intelligence has the ability to quite literally transform every aspect of retail for both consumers and retailers. Whether it is the offering of a consumer-centric purchasing experience or the inclusion of a better management method. AI provides the industry with options like never before.
Now is the time for retailers to set targets. Also, assess needs before deciding what AI services they would like to make use of.
Yes, this is a capital investment that might take some time to yield results and even understand its workings. But once it becomes a mainstay for the industry. It has the potential of providing returns like something never seen before!