The advent of the digital age has swiftly changed our lives. Even the way we shop is no longer confined to limited shopping malls nor grocery stores in our neighborhood. Customers prefer a hassle-free shopping experience, the one synonymous with online e-commerce apps. Hence most of the brick and mortar stores are on the verge of shutdowns. So the best alternative is using the available modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Big Data to revive the retail industry.
According to a report by IBM, more than 80 percent of executives in both the retail and consumer products industries expect their companies to gain momentum by using intelligent automation by 2021. In intelligent automation, artificial intelligence (AI) is infused into automation, enabling machines to learn and generate recommendations and to make autonomous decisions and self-remediate over time. AI can draw meaningful insights from the massive amount of data and help retail in creating personalized shopping experiences via highly-structured webshops, intelligent in-store bots, and online chatbots. Finally, changing the retail store experience that only involved: enter a shop, select what you want to buy, pay for the product.
Retail shops need to recognize the customers’ expectations and demands and take measures to align themselves with them. This shall not only increase profits but also boost customer loyalty and revenue. Therefore they must adopt AI for the same and transform the way we view shopping culture. As both the online and offline purchasing channels blend, the retail shall be innovation-oriented and thereby emerge as new leader in the market.
The extensive AI ecosystem shall help achieve this objective, along with IoT and data analytics. By using radio-frequency identification (RFID) based cameras, the stores shall now be equipped with live video surveillance. This can allow retail managers to observe and study the buyers’ behavior like what products and brand gets picked up most of the time, time spent per aisle. Based on this data, the most popular products from specific consumer groups are identified, and customers are given discounts on those products. Also surveying the stocks can issue alert for product replenishment needs, forecast about the next busy days, or rush hours. Moreover, this feature can improve in-store security and reduce the instances of shoplifting too.
Using data patterns, the retail outlets can understand engagement levels with current store layout, optimize it later, and regulate traffic during peak hours. This prevents crowding, reduce waiting lines near the cash counter or any particular segment in the grocery section as well as it can improve strategic staff distribution.
Using AI technology, fashion brands can create virtual racks and trial rooms with gesture walls and touch-free monitors to find the perfect style, without having to shuffle through a pile or having the need to change every time they try a dress. In this way, shoppers are given more number of choices.
With the rising demand for an omnichannel and customer experience, retailers should test the field of automating their services. These can help to provide individual assistance, intelligent product searches, read digital user reviews, and analyze past search and purchase history, and an existing curated list of recommendations automatically. Eventually, AI along automated services can scour every aspect of business brands, check for trends, consumption data, and consumer feedback, and have a deeper understanding of disparate data.
Lastly, incorporating AI into the retail world can synchronize digital and physical shopping streams and empower flexibility in logistics networks. Implementing AI solutions in retail can seem daunting, yet it is not. Instead, it leads to a broader return on investment. Although it may seem like a daydreaming, yet the AI is sure to rule this domain. Now when speed and communication are the drivers, customers are looking for having a frictionless and less chaotic interaction next time they step out to shop or buy groceries. Hence it is high time retailers put on the shoes from consumers’ perspective and approach the path of AI.