Artificial intelligence (AI) is reinventing the retail landscape. From using manual files to manage inventory to applying machine learning, retailers can use AI to connect with their customers and operate more efficiently.
In a digital era where consumers are constantly seeking personalized products and services, AI solutions in retail are helping retailers align their offerings with the expectations of their customers. The disruptive impact of AI in retail is seen across the value chain and is emerging as a powerful tool for retail brands to gain an advantage over their competitor brands.
Not just that, AI-based systems can eliminate manual guesswork for activities such as conducting product promotions, inventory assortments, and identifying supply chain difficulties, etc. Major retailers are already experimenting with the use and possible applications of AI. It helps customers make smarter decisions with better accuracy and real-time forecasting. Good forecasts also help retailers optimize supply chain, create impactful promotion strategies, and improve customer experience.
Why is there a need for AI in the Retail Industry?
In addition to the business intelligence and sheer speed that AI can provide, it is simply setting successful businesses apart from unsuccessful ones. There are countless benefits that can be credited to AI in retail business, but here are the five primary ones that retailers can count on.
- Enhancing In-Store Experience
Today, many brands are enhancing their in-store experience with mobile apps. Once a customer enters the store and opens the store app, the in-store sensors can identify and track the customer activities and behaviors. The in-store AI can also find when the customer had last visited the store and track the multiple visits and the products bought in the past. AI can use this information to suggest good recommendations and offer personalized rewards such as discounts, loyalty points, etc.
- AI-enabled Chatbots to Assist Customer Service
AI-enabled chatbots provide an even higher level of customer service, improve searching, send notifications about new collections, and suggest similar products. If a customer already bought a black hoodie, a chatbot can suggest snapback caps to match and the look is complete.
- Effective Supply Chain Management and Logistics
AI-enabled logistics management can predict demands for products by scrutinizing historical sales, location, buying trends, etc. Retailers can see all aspects of the retail supply chain, including inventory, staffing, distribution, and delivery, can be managed in real-time by implementing artificial intelligence.
- Intelligent Product Searches
See a t-shirt you like? What if you could take a picture of it, and that picture brought you to a shop where you could buy it? That’s visual search in a nutshell. Visual search uses machine learning algorithms trained on image datasets. Whenever a user takes a photo and uploads it to the visual search engine, the system searches the library for any items that match that photograph along with relevant details such as brand name, price, etc.
- Personalization and Customer Insights
AI solutions in retail can offer a personalized shopping experience to customers. Technologies such as biometric and face recognition can identify customers revisiting a store and remember their likes and dislikes thereby enabling them to offer personalized shopping experience. Accordingly, they can recommend products and design promotions for them. Advanced AI algorithms can look into demographic data, social media impressions and digital footprints of consumers to decode their interests.
Also Read: Augmented Reality in Retail-5 Things You Should Know
Examples of brands leveraging AI for business growth
Taco Bell Helps Customers Order Tacos on the Go
Taco Bell allows customers to order food directly through AI. The Tacobot works with Slack and makes it easy for customers to text their order. The bot even allows for customized and large group orders.
Amazon Eliminates Cashiers with AI
No list on retail AI would be complete without Amazon and its revolutionary Amazon Go store. Customers can simply walk into the store, take what they want from the shelves and walk out without going through a cashier. Sensors and cameras throughout the store track what customers purchase, and their Amazon account is charged when they leave. AI helps create a quick and seamless shopping experience, so customers aren’t stuck waiting in line.
Olay Uses AI to Personalize Skincare
With the help of AI, Olay customers can get personalized skincare treatment without having to see a dermatologist. With Olay’s Skin Advisor, customers take a selfie of their plain face, and the app uses AI to tell the true age of their skin. The app evaluates skin health and makes recommendations for problem areas with personalize skin care regimen recommendations.
H&M Uses AI to Keep Popular Items Stocked
Popular clothing store H&M relies on staying on top of trends to be successful. The store uses AI to analyze store receipts and returns to evaluate purchases at each store. The algorithm helps the store know what items to promote and stock more of in certain locations. The data could find that floral skirts sell well at urban stores and change the inventory to match what customers want.
AI can transform every aspect of retail business. It replaces intuition with intelligence and gives retailers a vision for the future. However, business leaders need to be practical in their approach while implementing AI. They need to understand that it is a capital-intensive technology and that it shows results in the long run. A company needs to set a long-term AI objective to ensure success.
Automated processes, better insights, and stronger relationships with customers results in increased revenue. Artificial Intelligence retail solutions such as chatbots, visual search, or voice search can dramatically transform the bottom line of the business.