There is hardly any industry or area of business that is not witnessing disruptions due to the inroads made by "Artificial intelligence (AI)". The technology has been evolving at an unprecedented rate with newer and newer applications emerging with every passing day. The retail sector is no exception to this. We are witnessing some really amazing AI applications in the retail sector that are set to redefine the experience of both retailers and customers. Here are 5 fascinating ways in which AI can transform this sector.
Robots and Chatbox for Customer Support
Chatbots are one of the most popular applications of Artificial Intelligence in retail. They can provide better customer service, help customers find the items they are looking for, and send notifications about new collections. AI Chatbots can provide useful insights on customer preferences and behavior. AI-powered humanoid robots can redefine customer service by interacting and entertaining customers.
The Pepper robot, developed by the French robotic manufacturer Aldebaran in association with Japan’s SoftBank, has already become immensely popular in Japan. In Japan, Pepper has been in use in 140 SoftBank mobile stores as a customer service greeter and representative. In January 2016, Nestle announced its plan to deploy Pepper in about 1,000 of its outlets in Japan.
Cashierless Retail Stores
Cashierless retail stores can minimize the risk of stealing and shoplifting. With inbuilt cameras and sensors, the cashierless store model charges customers automatically. Although the adoption of the model is still in its infancy, there is no denying the fact that it holds immense potentials.
Amazon Go, a pioneer in this field, opened the first cashierless store in Seattle in 2016 and later expanded to San Francisco and New York. In these stores, customers do not have to wait in a long queue in order to pay for the items they have purchased. Amazon Go allows customers to pay with an app so as to provide a seamless shopping experience to customers. In the coming days, more retailers are expected to embrace the cashierless store model.
Visual and Voice Product Search
AI has opened up two completely new and revolutionary ways of searching for products - visual product search and voice product search. In voice product search, consumers can simply ask voice-activated devices and digital assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant to add an item to their shopping kit. They can also keep track of the estimated arrival time and the status of delivery. AI has also made visual search possible, wherein customers can upload images of a product to find identical or similar products. The AI-powered technology analyzes the product, its color, shape, design, etc., in details to suggest a similar/identical item to the customer.
Currently, popular brands like Kohl’s, Tesco, Costco, and Walmart are using smart devices to serve their customers better with voice product search. The London-based AI company, Cortexica has developed AI-based visual search and image recognition technology with a 95% accuracy rate. This technology has been adopted by the likes of John Lewis, Macy’s, and Zalando. American Eagle Outfitters is another brand to provide visual search in its mobile app to allow customers to find the exact or similar product.
Elimination of Excess or Short Supply of Products
Retailers across the globe are incurring costs to the extent of $1.1 trillion every year due to the mismanagement of their stock of products. AI can change the entire scenario by identifying products that are in short or excess supply in real time and thereby allowing retailers to adjust their stock more efficiently. AI can help retailers to replenish the stock of a product that is going to witness rising demands in the near future, while preventing the accumulation of products that are not performing well in the market.
Virtual Dressing Rooms and Mirrors
Virtual dressing rooms and mirrors are one of the most fascinating applications of AI in retail. With virtual dressing rooms and mirrors, consumers can try out several apparels and find the right outfit in minutes. Virtual dressing rooms and mirrors hold special importance for online stores, as these can help them reduce the percentage of apparels that are returned for being the wrong fit.
Presently, Moda Polso stores allow shoppers to create their virtual avatars and try a large number of outfits before purchasing the right products. TryOn is another AR (Augmented Reality)-based virtual dressing room app. All these will not only help you to select the right outfit but will also enable you to choose the accessories that will go well with your dress.