With a large number of buyers moving to online shopping in the last decade, sceptics had predicted that retail was heading towards a dead-end. Today, even the likes of Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket and others brimming with online shoppers, retail stores seem equally packed. As new technology is evolving at super-fast speeds, this industry is already witnessing leapfrog innovations that is improving the overall retail experience and business processes.
We can credit big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence for opening up a new world of opportunities for physical retail. If you’re an existing retail owner or plan to start one soon, power up your retail business with AI tech.
We’ve listed down a multitude of AI possibilities that will benefit your retail business:
1. Smart stock management
AI can help retailers predict demand for products on the basis of sales history, response to store-specific promotions, seasonal requirements, location-based demands and a host of other parameters. Store managers will be able to decide stock requirements based on intelligent predictions and avoid shortage or excess stock pileup. Also, this will enable better streamlining of stock purchase and return management. All in all saving a lot of money and time for the business.
2. Personalised in-store assistance
Stores can now deploy AI-powered assistants to help customers find what they’re looking for. From providing details related to making of the product to break-down of ingredients, calories present and upselling of complementary products, the virtual assistant will provide all the support required up until billing. Customers get a personalised walk-through without having to speak to a customer support executive.
3. Virtual billing mechanism
Amazon has already experimented with a no-cashier store. And it could soon become a common occurrence as technology takes over. Today, customers are comfortable making payments using their digital cards. It is no longer mandatory for retail outlets to have cashiers, stock up on exact change or deal with long billing queues. This will save stores a lot of their logistics costs including expensive billing machines and software systems, the frequent human errors and heavy resource costs.
4. Track customer satisfaction
AI-powered software allows stores to address customer grievances in real-time, helping improve the overall customer experience. IBM is also developing an in-store software for facial recognition. A particularly distraught or annoyed customer is immediately offered personal assistance by the store manager.
5. Influence customer behaviour
AI will empower customers to use customer data more efficiently to encourage long-term loyalty. Basis a customer’s previous shopping history and responses to offers and products, they will be offered individual recommendations that will increase the chances of conversion.
While these tech innovations may soon intrude into the personal space of customers, what can be agreed without debate is that customers can soon expect high quality retail shopping experiences. So if you’re a retailer, it is time to seriously consider the integration of tech with your business, specifically AI.