Rama Krishna Sreepada, Chief Architect, [x]cube LABS

Rama Krishna has formidable expertise in a wide range of technologies, including VoIP, iOS development, mobile advertising and analytics, and much more. He has been part of organizations such as PanTerra Networks and Competent Solutions as a Software Architect before joining [x]cube LABS. At [x]cube LABS, he is responsible for project management as well as engineering standards and training implementation. Most people simply call him RK.

Connecting things is only one aspect of digital transformation in retail. AI is about transforming data into insights that inform actions that lead to better business outcomes. Artificial Intelligence in retail, such as Machine Learning and Deep Learning, is critical to generating these insights. For retailers, this means incredible customer experiences, revenue growth opportunities, rapid innovation, and smart operations—all of which help you stand out from the crowd.

According to CB Insights, 374 Artificial Intelligence startups raised $1.8 billion in 374 deals between 2013 and 2018. Currently, more than 28 percent of retailers are deploying Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning solutions, a sevenfold increase from 2016, when the figure was only 4 percent. According to Markets and Markets’ research, the global AI in retail market size is projected to grow from $736.1million in 2016 to $5034 million by the end of 2022 at a CAGR of 38.3%.Growing need for stringent surveillance and monitoring at a physical store, rising awareness as well as application of AI in the retail industry, enhanced user-experiences, improved productivity, greater Return on Investment (RoI), mainlining inventory accuracy, along with supply chain optimization are some of the key factors driving the growth of this market. 

Hence, it would be appropriate to say that AI is boosting the growth of the retail sector in various ways – 

Enhancing In-store Experience

Artificial intelligence has the potential to automate in-store operations and lower operational costs in retail stores. It can replace salespeople in the stores to assist customers, reduce queues with cashier-less payment, replenish stock through real-time stock monitoring, and digitize store displays and trial rooms. There are so many stores that have stopped hiring cashiers and accept payments through their app so as to ensure the purchasing process becomes easier for customers. 

Chatbots can deliver superior customer service

AI chatbots provide an even higher level of customer service, improved searching, send notifications about new collections, and suggest similar products. It gives hints to online shoppers with similar preferences bought on the website. It also offers consumers products based on their previous purchases. These chatbots further help in recommending the latest version of the viewed item.

In-store Assistance

Retailers also invest in technologies that assist customers during the shopping process as well as store employees. Retailers are using artificial intelligence (AI) in-store to create one-of-a-kind experiences. These experiences elevate the physical store to the status of a destination, giving customers a reason to return. In-store devices can now see, hear, speak, search, understand, and accelerate decision-making, enabling a plethora of experiential use cases.

Supply chain management & logistics

Poor execution in this supply chain management costs retailers around the world approximately $1.1 trillion each year. Leftovers and out-of-stock situations can be avoided. AI in the retail supply chain can be used for restocking — calculating the demand for a specific product based on sales history, location, weather, trends, promotions, and other factors

Enabling visual and voice search for customers 

Customers can upload images and find similar products based on colors, shapes, and patterns using Visual Search systems powered by Artificial Intelligence. The voice search feature lets customers simply ask the virtual assistants for the desired item and its delivery status. In fact, 27 percent of people worldwide use mobile voice search, and 52 percent prefer it to mobile apps and websites for convenience.

Summing up!

As the digital revolution is transforming the landscape of businesses across sectors; the retail sector has been no exception. It has been keen to embrace digitization, especially AI adoption due to the plethora of benefits the new-age technology offers. It is anticipated that the solution will not only ensure the provision of high-end customer experiences, seamless online shopping but also personalized as well as customized purchasing experiences to the customers. At this point, when business owners realize that embracing digital technologies is key to the success of their business, they have a couple of choices-do it themselves or work with a digital transformation agency. The latter will help take a lot of overheads off the companies by reducing costs and time to go to market. 

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