How retailers can leverage AI to wow customers
OVER the last few years, retailers have been working hard to leverage AI in a way that maximizes customer loyalty and spends.
According to one Juniper Research study, the retail industry is set to spend some US$7.3 billion on AI solutions in the next three years, as compared to US$2 billion last year.
The study highlighted that more retailers are seeking to emulate Amazon.com’s runaway success with AI and hope to use the technology to improve pricing, optimize discounts and forecast customer demands.
Here are a few AI-driven solutions that are revolutionizing the retail space at the moment:
#1 | Smart shelves that display targeted products
Smart shelves have the potential to boost the dwindling foot traffic to traditional brick and mortar outlet. These futuristic shelves, currently being piloted by Krogers features LED displays that will show targeted ads and promotions.
Based on the information of shoppers gathered via cameras that are integrated with facial recognition technology, some shelves are even capable of displaying customized videos and promotional campaigns specific to customers’ profiles.
Beyond that, the shelves also come equipped with a network of sensors that tracks the movement of products within the store and maintain a real-time inventory of goods.
#2 | Machine learning engines to handle customer complaints
More and more enterprises are starting to deploy AI for customer-facing functions, mainly due to AI’s machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) capabilities.
Ocado, a UK based grocery store, for example, managed to increase customer contact center efficiency by 3.5 percent by responding to customer emails four times more quickly, which immensely enhanced customer experience (CX).
This increased efficiency was made possible by a cloud-based ML model that can pore through customer complaints and categorize them with improved speed, enabling prompt response and resolution of issues.
#3 | Cashier-less store with robot guide
Whether we are ready for it or not, cashier-less retail stores are already here and are expected to proliferate in the next few years or so.
Taking a leaf out of Amazon’s playbook, other retail giants such as Walmart, are also investing heavily on human-free self-checkout facilities in their stores.
Leveraging AI technologies such as machine vision, facial recognition, and shelf sensors, retailers could multiply the points of sale at more locations in-store, reduce overhead cost, amass more customer data and ensure smooth inventory management which will ultimately result in shifting more goods.
#4 | Smarter shopping cart
As the grab-and-go concept continues to revolutionize brick-and-mortar shopping experience, more tools, and solutions that facilitate that function set to become more prevalent in the near future.
One such tool that is getting a lot of attention from retailers is the smart shopping cart, which essentially functions as an in-store moving point of sale.
The cart uses cameras, sensors, and computer visions to ring up items that are placed in the cart and upon completion of shopping, customers could pay using mobile apps or credit card readers on the cart itself.
In short, AI technology continues to push the envelope of innovative solutions and functions, which are transforming the way businesses interact with customers.
And, the retail sector, in its quest to enhance the customer experience, increase efficiencies, and maximize profits, has been embracing the technology in a significant way. From the looks of it, this trend will not slow down anytime soon.
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