Retail is being disrupted. Amazon is leading the charge. Still, a massive offline market still exists.
Industry experts compare Artificial Intelligence to industries as Mitochondria to a cell. They believe that AI will be the powerhouse of every sphere of our life.
Artificial Intelligence with robotics does sound scary, though. The horrifying future portrayed by Terminator still haunt us. AI will definitely shift the pattern of work. Still, we believe the tasks requiring a human touch, empathy, cognition, and value would stay with humans. There will be disruption, but experts also believe that more industries will spur out from AI.
Remember, tractors or mechanized farming did disrupt many occupations, yet it became the powerhouse for the creation of many new industries. So, relax and be a part of the next AI driven era.
Can retail use AI to maintain its existence? Let’s look at some of the ways AI can help retail.
Consider a case, where image recognition with AI is efficiently indicating the problems with the inventory of a retail store. Employing manual labor to manage it, checking all commodities in stock, checking shelves to see if all items and labels are in place, fixing and updating prices, is bound to run into operational inefficiencies. Why not use an AI-powered bot to automate all this?
Fellow Robots has developed NAVii, a robot that can do all above. NAVii goes around the store and takes high definition images. Then it uses AI can to detect misplaced objects, price tag errors, count all inventory and come up with an up to date stock report. After this, it notifies the management and staff of the problems.
Now consider the situation of checkouts and counter handling. With built-in barcode scanners and price data, a bot, who never gets tired, can prevent human errors.
You could argue that you would prefer human touch and empathy. For a certain set of people, this will matter and retail can use this opportunity to use it as differentiator providing superior human experience.
AI systems can use forecasting and predictive analytics techniques to determine market conditions. If you can analyze all the available data and its relationships, simulate decision making around pricing, promote the right product at right pricing, forecast inventory better, plan for better merchandise, you might want to give AI a chance.
Dublin-based, Presidion has produced an experienced predictive analytics software for the retail industry. It claims to improve customer engagement, optimize pricing, manage inventory, and detect fraud for you. They also claim that their product can also assist you in improving profitability, customer satisfaction, product development, and product marketing.
Predictive Marketing and Promotional Insights
Like any industry, marketing and promotions are vital to brand’s awareness and steady profits. AI-based predictive analysis techniques can help you to effectively promote and brand. AI system can do all this by learning historical sales data, advertising methods, seasonality, competition, and provide recommendations for a variety of marketing tactics.
Remember as per industry analysts, personalized product recommendations can increase brand sales by up to 10%.
Canadian company Daisy Intelligence has developed an application that uses two years sales data, location, and promotion history. The app analyzes this data to predict better combinations of products to promote, the cadence to promote specific items, strategies to improve the bottom line, and a better assortment per store or region.
Food Waste Reduction
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, large quantities of food are wasted at retail level due to quality standards that over-emphasize appearance. The figures go to roughly US $680 billion.
Incorporate AI learning can definitely help retail and all us to curtail this huge waste. Again predictive analysis that helps you in anticipating the right quantity of a product will be a tremendous help.
Afresh Technologies claims that they can forecast demand and inventory replenishment for grocers. The app, according to the company, aims to reduce food waste on a massive scale, increase food freshness, and maximize customer profitability for clients by avoiding stock outs and turning inventory much faster.
Fulfillment and Delivery
People are hooked to E-commerce because of the ease with product delivery.
According to a study, users find it easier to leave instructions to a bot than to a human. This pattern will make AI bots easier and profitable to deploy in the retail. Improving customer service, communication, training, supervision, will become a thing of past with AI.
Pathover is an interesting AI based all-in-one solution for an ecommerce solution, fulfillment, delivery, and engagement. For fulfillment and delivery, it uses AI for routing, load balancing, optimization to reduce the cost for last-mile same-day delivery.
Ease with convenience is the rage nowadays. Retails need to innovate to save itself. Utilizing AI can be one of the options.
Amazons of the world are loaded with all kind of Machine Learning and AI tools. It’s time for retail to also step up to innovate and work with AI.