Artificial intelligence and its applications have surely revolutionized the sectors pushing them forward in a new direction. Its application isn’t limited to the start of product development but continues post-launch and customer interaction.
One of the sectors that are reaping the benefits of AI integration is the retail industry. However, there are still many questions that are being thrown out there. From what AI-technology or application has proven to be the most beneficial in retail to which innovations have the potential to change the retail game?
We need to keep in mind that artificial intelligence has not been perfected and is still in the stages of experimentation. Some results have proven to be positive and progressive, while others a complete failure.
Having said this, from 2013 to 2018, AI startups have raised around $1.8 billion –according to CB insights. These are impressive numbers and the credit can be given to Amazon which changes the perspective of AI integration within retail.
In a nutshell: AI in retail can be explained as a self-learning technology, that with the adequate data, only improves the processes further through smart prediction and much more.
AI solutions are still in the process of growing and progressing. However, there are certain applications within retail that have proven to be fruitful – not just in terms of the value it provides as a service but the benefits businesses reap afterward.
What are the top of the line applications of AI in retail? Let’s find out.
With digitization, much of the work-load has been automated and streamlined. Now, with the COVID wave placing human contact as harmful, cashier-less stores are an idea that is very much on the table. This idea of lowering the number of human employees working on a store and being replaced by AI-powered robots is not just a concept of the movies anymore.
Amazon is already on the case – with Amazon AI introducing stores that are check-out free. You must have heard about Amazon Go and Just Walk Out technology where the items being placed within your trolley are being examined and kept track of, so when you simply walk out of the shop, the Amazon account takes the money. Pretty interesting, right?
AI and IoT play a great role in creating this cashier-less store experience, relieving stores from having expensive operation expenses. With technology like Amazon Go, human staff members are reduced to merely six or so, depending on the size of the store.
The rise of the chatbots was possible due to AI integration, making them capable of conversing in a human-like manner. Moreover, with their ability to understand the query posed by the visitor, they can analyze and provide adequate assistance accordingly.
Safe to say, AI chatbots have elevated customer service, searching, sending notifications, and suggesting relevant products – all by themselves. These AI chatbots work wonders in retail as there are so many queries that are lined up mostly filled with product related questions. In addition, they also learn the buying behavior of the customer and suggest products that would match their search and buying intent.
Chatbots are the present and future of retail helping customers navigate through online stores and increasing the revenue of businesses in return.
Voice search is catching up with 31% of smartphone users globally using voice search at least once a week. While, in the year 2020, it is projected to grow to 50%. With Alexa and others, customers can simply ask for the desired product without having to type and visually invest in the process.
Voice search is definitely one of the demanded features in any software solution and software development companies (koderlabs dot com) would incorporate voice and text search to maximize the convenience.
Visual search is a term or technology not too familiar as of yet. However, this AI-powered system enables customers to upload images and find products similar to certain aspects of those uploaded images; like based on color, shapes, and even patterns.
AI coupled with image recognition technology is marvelous and can help significantly in the realm of retail. Imagine wanting a similar dress and just uploading its picture, you get suggestions of places either selling the same or something similar. You then can compare the price difference and go for the one that suits your best.
AI can detect the mood of your customers and provide you with valuable feedback that will allow your representatives to give assistance just in time. Take Walmart as an example. The retail giant has cameras installed at each checkout lane that detects their mood.
If a customer seems annoyed, they would immediately approach and try to help. So, with AI and facial recognition technology, stores can build strong relationships with their customers and ensure their satisfaction.
AI in the retail supply chain can help retailers dodge poor execution and management that leads to major losses. With AI, calculating the demand for a particular product through analyzing the data that includes the history of sales, promotions, location, trends, and various other metrics allow retail stores to make a better future decision.
AI can predict the demand for that certain product and allow you to order just the right amount without having to deal with leftovers or shortage of it.
Since we are currently facing COVID that has placed the necessity of an online-smart-world, AI can predict through the data received from either the websites or mobile apps. Either way, the supply chain is effectively managed and processed systematically.
With the usage of machine learning, the retail industry can easily classify millions of items from various sellers with the right category. For instance, sellers can upload the picture of their product, and machine learning will identify it and classify it accordingly.
Clasification helps automate the mundane and time-consuming task and can be done in a few minutes with the help of AI.
What more is that with such smart classification, customers are able to find the right products under the categories of their choosing.
The retail executive’s survey conducted by Capgemini at AI in Retail Conference entails that the AI application of technology in retail could potentially save up to $340 billion each year for the industry till 2020. In addition, nearly 80% of these savings will come from supply chain management and return as AI will improve these processes by a large margin.
The global market for AI in retail is projected to grow over $5 million by the year 2022.
Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning-powered software solutions can really change the game for retail, especially amid the pandemic. Not only AI facilitates automation but provides a better insight into businesses by predictive analysis and reporting.
On the customer front, AI-powered chatbots and cashier-less stores provides convenience and futuristic shopping experience with improved customer service.
Although the pandemic has slowed down much of the progress; still, we can see considerable growth in AI-powered solutions geared to improve the retail industry and prep it for the times ahead.