Well, the recent buzz word is the Artificial Intelligence. Do you know that it has even stepped into the Retail sector? IT has been applied across the entire industry sector. You can see it right from service cycles, assembly, customer service interactions and many more. But the fact, AI is still in its nascent stages. Now, let us answer the questions to some of the important questions in retail.
Can you name the AI applications that play a vital part in automation in retail process? Does it also play a role in augmentation? How do retail companies use the recent AI technology to stay ahead from their competitors? What are the innovations in AI that can bring about changes in retail in the next decade?
In this article, we deal with AI and retail in the following categories –
- Sales & CRM applications
- Recommendation from the customer
- Manufacture of components
- Payment services
Innovation always come across as double edged swords. It can either fetch positive results, or the results may come as mixed. Yes, in any type of innovative technology, failures are common in the initial stages. The same applies to AI. But businesses of all types are now concentrating on AI to increase their productivity and reduce the changes of errors in their operation. AI applications in retail have ended in profits for example, retail marketing and segmentation. Yet, in other sectors, the AI innovations have mostly ended in failures. So, barriers still exist and once they are overcome, full implementation of AI can take place.
In this article, we deal with five retail domains. Every case provides a brief glimpse of the AI technologies in use today. They are right now used as retail industry standards in eCommerce as well normal shop operations.
1. Sales & CRM Applications
A. Pepper Robot
It was in 2010, that SoftBank from Japan developed in co-ordination with Aldebaran (French Robot manufacturer) to develop a human type of robot known as Pepper. This robot can interact with humans and act as per their emotions. The yields have been good. In Japan and other areas, there has a increase in the numbers of customers who have joined this bank.
Now, even Nestle and Ave are planning to introduce Pepper robots in their stores.
One of the other software in tune with sales operations processes and automation is the Conversica sales assistant. It can identify and converse with leads from the internet. Just imagine the technology pace, dear friends. In the future, there will be no BPOs or customer care executives. The AI powered software can engage in conversations to the tune of 35 percent.
For example, Star2Star communications through its “Rachel” rep got good email response. This software can re-engage with previous leads or cross-sell products.
2. Customer Recommendations
A. IBM Watson based on Cognitive Computing
This software gave rise to Gifts When You Need (GWYN) concept. 1-800-Flowers made use of this idea to generate more sales.
The popular store, North Face has made use of this technology to help customers determine the jacket that can suit your preference. The decision, you can make on gender preference, and location.
B. North Face XPS software
With the conversational interface, North Face can identify patterns and spending of a individual customer or customers. Then it can send suggestions that work on the specific time. Thus it can generate more sales. For example, a family buys new sweaters only one month before winter. By using conversational interact, the software can determine the time of spending.
During the time, a suitable suggestion is sent which makes the family buy the products online.
C. Brilliant Manufacturing
The Brilliant Manufacturing software by General Electric can make the production easy. The total manufacturing process – design, distribution – services can be made more efficient. In the process, the major errors get identified. Thus, the products are manufactured in top quality. The software can be modified to suit a variety of manufacturers. The content consists of analytic and intelligence tools.
Example – Toray Plastics
D. Gakushu Learning Software
The Gakushu learning software is meant to make robots learn the tasks by training. After the process, they can perform the tasks and adapt as per the conditions. Tesla has about 600 robots in its manufacturing division at Fremont.
4. Logistics and Delivery
E. Domino’s Robotic Unit (DRU)
This robot can keep food, drinks unspoilt by keeping them in the perfect temperature. It can also deliver food and the technology is still in its nascent stage. But in the next decade, do not get surprised if a robot delivers the food for night time delivery.
F. Amazon Drones
Prior two years, Amazon in coalition with the UK thought of using drones to deliver small parcels. Now, the company has entered into partnership with aviation countries in the world to implement this sort of technology. Do not feel afraid if in the future, you hear a small drone dropping on your terrace to deliver a parcel. The project’s name is Prime Air.
5. Payment Services
G. Amazon Go
All said and done, can payment services be far behind? You can use the Amazon Go app to go inside the website, but the experience will get automated. After you make the exit, the products you shopped get entered in the analytics. Your account will get charged after you leave the store. Every activity is done online.
Yes, there have been barriers in the process, and Amazon has delayed the project.
Its fraud prevention algorithms can easily decipher stolen accounts. The patterns are observed, and then it is stored into the database.
I. Payment Fraud
It is major part of online sales. Many fraud prevention companies have emerged and Sift Science has employed machine learning to detect payment frauds. In recent times, e-Commerce industry has touched billions and retail industries in internet are a common phenomenon.
AI in Retail – Concluding Remarks
Kindly consider the other side. Only companies with budget can introduce AI in their operations. In the future, small scale and medium based corporations will introduce AI in their operations.
Let us imagine a situation. You are in Bangalore and have a branded LED TV. It has completed its years of warranty, but now the display has become dim. The best method to repair will be to search for the best home maintenance company which provides doorstep services in Bangalore. So download the app, and search for the technician who provides best TV repair in Bangalore. Do you chance upon the home maintenance website? Then a chat box gets opened. You enter into a chat with the executive thinking it is a human. But of course, it is AI and a chatbot. But yes, you can get your TV repaired in short time by hiring the best TV repair technician in Bangalore easily.