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Published on October 23rd, 2018 | by Bibhuranjan

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Tapping into Retail Industry with Artificial Intelligence

With the automation increasingly becoming the part of consumers’ life, thanks to the Smartphones and numerous mobile apps, different industries and retail sector in particular need to adopt practices that enhance customers’ journey and customer experience.

Rise of ecommerce has already disrupted the traditional retail shops. Until recently, when the large players like Amazon and eBay began applying artificial intelligence and machine learning in ecommerce, online marketplaces again witnessed the major change. The technologies applied are still at nascent phase, but have unique capability to understand the customers’ behavior, like a psychologist. The result is the ability to identify the buying pattern of the customers and alerting companies to take necessary measures.

What is left for the brick and mortar retail shop and small ecommerce companies is to either ride on the wave of success of the large companies or create a wave of their own. No matter what they pick, retailers are bound to face challenges. But with a tech-focused and agile approach, they can make things work in their favor.

Remember that a happy customer is the foundation of successful business. Any effort made in this direction, from personalized services to smooth experience, will only strengthen the foundation.

Establishing Connection Between AI, Customers and Employees

In an organization, where AI settles on the plank of technology, both customers and employees are interconnected or communicate through processes. The key here is AI strengthens the processes in such a way that it ultimately enables the employees to deliver smoother experience to customers.

How AI strengthens the process?

The answer would be by providing data to create efficient data-driven models to optimize the operation. AI technology checks the past behavior of the customer, such as how the individual has responded to a campaign, what type of products they have liked, and then start suggesting about the new products accordingly.

According to a study, AI has introduced positive disruption in the retail industry and by 2020, around 85% of the customer interactions will be managed through AI. Chatbot is a clear example in this case, which is now used by almost all the major online retail companies.

Even consumers in the retail segment have appreciated the use of AI technology, and in a recent survey, 70% of US younger generation and 62% of millennials from UK has confirmed that they have shown interest in the AI powered products by retailers.

6 Ways How Retail Industry Can Seek the Benefits of Artificial Intelligence

With machine getting intelligent, it does not require humans to take decision from the data, rather it draws conclusions on its own. AI powered machines recognize the customer’s behaviour pattern on the basis of the interactions done with the employees and identify the requirements and preferences to understand the propensity to purchase. The result is smooth and streamlined experience for customers at every touch point and high profitability for the business. Below are the 6 ways retail industry can seek the benefits of AI:

Enhancing Customer Experience: AI can help enhancing the customers’ experience by increasing the level of speed and convenience to improve the service quality. Along with IoT, AI can be used more tactfully by the retail stores to handle customers’ queries and provide immediate response on different platforms. Advancement of data capturing tools support the functions of AI, creating a larger scope for collecting and analyzing data to find the loopholes and enhance the service’s quality.

Managing Workforce: Automated process with advanced AI capabilities require less workforce thereby reducing the cost of management, while increasing the profitability. In retail sector, Automation powered by AI increases the level of accuracy and decreases the waste of time and resources.

Personalized Marketing: It is one of the unique of services that AI can help retail stores to achieve. With personalized marketing, AI enables the retailers to focus on each customer individually and revolutionize the way in-store shopping is done. Through a range of services such as facial recognition, touch-screen payments, instant feedback, and continual robotic assistance, AI can help retailers streamline the offline and online process to personalize and simplify the shopping experience for their customers.

Enabling Smarter Ecosystem: AI streamlines the entire business, and not just a bunch of processes and people. From helping to generate insight to drawing conclusion from the insight, AI is now highly powerful to make predictions and deliver results.

Key features

  • Helps customers find right product at the best prices
  • Reduce the manual interventions from the task
  • Automate pricing process and initiate discount for individual customers
  • Manage inventory to reduce out of stock material
  • Handle customers and provide immediate respond to improve sales
  • Create a smooth customer’s journey from the start to finish
  • Prepare organization to adapt to changing customer’s preferences quickly

According to study, implementation of AI focused on frozen and fresh produce has reduced the shelf-gaps up to 30%. The technology has helped in reducing the waste and missed sales opportunities.

Inventory Management: AI can increase the effectiveness in Inventory Management and so will reduce the risk of large stockpiles for retailers. Besides, it can also help in managing the out-of-stock products that leads to lost sales and agitated customers. Use of Artificial Intelligence in AI increase business effectiveness, ensuring a smooth supply chain. It reduces the uncertainty from the process and allows stringent monitoring of the stock levels and consumer and market demand variables.

Enhancing Existing Technology: AI is a great way to enhance the existing technology, as it clearly depicts where the legacy system is lacking. Retailers generally have a huge set of data to deal with and through AI, they can utilize this data sets to generate insight to optimize performance in different areas of business. There are a number of cloud based platforms that can reduce the amount of expenditure required to maintain modern systems and scale up the advanced solution.

Recapitulating Artificial Intelligence in Retail Industry

AI empowers retailers to enhance their critical capabilities to improve their core processes, including recruitment, workforce management, customer-service, and supply chain management. AI helps retailers make effective use of the data and focus on understanding the customer’s preferences and targeting marketing campaigns according to individual requirement.

With strategic approach, retailers can deliver smooth and streamlined customer experience and remain competitive in the digital era.

Author 

Siya Carla is Business Development Manager at Finoit Technologies, a leading mobile app development company which makes ideas into reality by providing unique web design and custom software development services.

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About the Author

Bibhuranjan

Editorial Officer, technofaq.org I'm an avid tech journalist and enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.



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