AI in Retail
Many retail organizations are looking for new ways to improve customer service and are researching the use of technology and computers in the back-end of the business. This includes software programs to help with inventory control, point of sale solutions, and credit card processing.
The possibilities seem endless for how computers can be used to enhance the retail experience. Here are some thoughts on what artificial intelligence means for retail and why business owners are interested in using this technology.
Artificial intelligence can refer to anything that is smart and able to take advantage of its environment to accomplish a task.
Software programs like the Point of Sale system mentioned earlier are able to integrate with store fixtures and shelves to figure out where products are and make suggestions on how to best display the items. They are able to do all this without being aware of the specifics of each situation or without human intervention.
Another application of such software is to check on the status of products in stock. Retail software can be programmed to perform various functions such as reporting when a particular item is out of stock, calculating the minimum order for the next order and so much more.
For smaller businesses, the software can also incorporate customer loyalty programs. A system may calculate customer responses to specific offers and make recommendations on ways to increase customer participation.
How does AI work in a retail outlet? Once a computer program figures out a sales pattern for a particular day or week and then reports back, it can be plugged into a store. This, in turn, means that store employees can be given data feeds from the software programs. If an item is sold well over the course of a day, for example, the computer may recommend stocking the item in bulk.
Such programs may also suggest changes in displays, promotions or employee incentives. Perhaps there are less expensive displays or promotional items that attract customers or perhaps the item sells better because of a promotional offer.
With the help of sophisticated software, it may even be possible to give coupons and other discounts that would be difficult to achieve manually.
With technology becoming more sophisticated by the day, computers and software are taking human relationships to the next level. They are taking into account not only what the customer is experiencing but also their perceptions. This is called cognitive computing, and in retail this can be very effective.
The question is, what is artificial intelligence in retail that could affect a store’s sales? Retailers need to consider whether they want to be part of the trend toward providing e-shops and stores with the tools of the future.
Some believe that in the long run, it will be cheaper and more efficient to create an online retail store and have staff Manning it from top to bottom. Others believe that the end result will be far less stressful, as employees will be free to do other jobs, like interacting with customers, while the store continues to rake in the profits. If you are in a business, you have a responsibility to your customers.
With artificial intelligence, you can train people to work at different parts of your store, instead of always remaining in one location. This gives them the option to move from store to store or work their regular job within the company instead of spending all day in one location.
The idea is that if they want to go somewhere else, they get a text message or an email to tell them where to go. This could ultimately reduce your staffing requirements, which could mean more profit for your business overall.
Many businesses are already making the transition to artificially intelligent systems. Amazon, for example, recently opened its second “robotics facility” where it is testing out its new line of robotic sales people.
Other businesses, such as CitiBank, have long been testing out their own artificial intelligence efforts. In fact, CitiBank recently made waves when it released a robot that would allow customers to interact with a bank teller on the phone.
Hence, it can be concluded that AI in retail is the implementation of technology to create predictive sales patterns and the forecast of customer behavior so that your store is better prepared for peak and off-peak times.
AI helps you keep up with changes in the market to provide your customers with the best buying experience. If you’re still on the fence about incorporating artificial intelligence into your retail business, it’s time to take action now. Research the topic well and consider implementing artificial intelligence in retail.
Impact of AI in retail
Many believe that artificial intelligence impact in retail is already being felt by most retailers. Why is that so? It is not just because of the way we use computers and the Internet, but also because of how we interact with each other.
Today, sales representatives are no longer just sitting in a cubicle, surfing the Web for retail leads. They go into the store, speak with customers face to face and often even hear what they want to buy, before they buy it.
This is all because of artificial intelligence’s impact in retail. Now that computers can help shoppers make informed decisions based on real-time shopping data, the interaction between the sales representative and the customer has dramatically changed.
The sales people are now spending more time with the shoppers, getting more personal questions answered, more than ever before. This personal interaction creates trust and loyalty. People are willing to pay more money for products because they feel safe purchasing them from someone they know, trust and can easily explain their needs to.
What will artificial intelligence’s impact on retail be? Well, as time goes on and as the technology becomes more prevalent, artificial intelligence’s impact in retail will be seen even further. We will see e-shopping, or as some call it e-commerce in retail. This will completely change the retail landscape, as we move from being buyers to being sellers.
E-commerce means that stores no longer have a physical store location. Instead, they now have an online presence through websites. Consumers visit these websites to look for specific items.
When they find what they are looking for, they can either visit the brick and mortar store to make their purchase, or they can click on the link to the website and make their purchase online. Both methods are completely seamless and have completely different impacts on the overall revenue stream.
While some of the sales of traditional products would still occur, it would not be nearly the same as it is now.
As robotic assistants enter the retail space, they will be able to do much more than walk around the store searching items. They would also be able to look through the inventory to determine where products should be placed.
They would then place those items into carts and bring them to the front of the store. If you look at the potential revenue involved, you will see that this would dramatically affect all aspects of retail. Not only would it increase foot traffic to the store, but it would also increase sales.
There are so many things that will change the way we shop. However, the current artificial intelligence impact in retail is very promising. As technology improves, robots and artificially intelligent software will become more capable. Eventually, robots may replace store clerks and make shopping more of an interactive experience.