The digital era has led to a complete transformation in most of the industries in the world in terms of organization, business models, and the processes involved. The focus of this technological existence is on ‘knowledge power’. The implications of the digital transformation are invincible. The huge impact on the socio-economic state of society has led technology to feed everyone with new-fangled knowledge. To drive value, many industries are showing confidence in the adoption of artificial intelligence. The dawn of the ‘digital world’ is upon everyone and has led to retail digitalization.
The retail sector is one of the most fast-paced sectors in the world today. With technology providing ways to transform the distribution of resources, the retail sector is under a radical reorganization of what it can and cannot offer. The ways in which various services can be offered are under the radar and influencing the needs of the consumers and businesses alike. Artificial Intelligence has proved to be a constant contributor in achieving the desired outcomes backed by the need for change. AI has taken over many processes in the sector of retail to simplify usage and fulfill consumer demands in no time.
1. Virtual Avatar: Customer conversations, product recommendations, and feature demonstrations being the basis of these avatars, the dynamics of the retail industry are changing exponentially. These virtual avatars can be a part of websites, mobile applications, kiosks, VR headsets, or other digital channels.
2. Virtual Store: Going through the layout of an actual store to shop on a digital platform is a technology that was never imagined by anyone else before. With this technology emerging to alter the entire theme of ‘online shopping’, buying items in the digital world has never been this accurate or fun. With 3D walkthrough, automatic rendering, customization, and analysis being the revolving themes, adopting AI in retail as a business has become more profitable and satisfying.
3. AI Chatbot: With the ability to initiate a productive digital customer journey, these chatbots are seeing the light of the day in many fields. The retail industry is no different and is benefiting from this substantially. With the advantage of learning what the customer is looking for and providing accurate solutions on time, these chatbots are changing the way one can shop online. These chatbots are built on algorithms that gather minimum data available to carry out processes and learn with the experiences they have to become more intelligent. So, this product is also cost-effective.
4. Smart Warehouse: Inventory management is another great application of AI in retail. It helps fulfill the demands of the 5 A’s successfully. The 5 A’s being acquire stock, assign place, assess price, accurize time and analyze quantity. Automating the entire process of inventory can prove cost-effective and efficient for the retailers that use the technology.
With the competition in this field increasing day by day, to be noticeable has become difficult. Technology making proper resource management advantageous, people are in no mood to take risks when they can earn sure shot profits. With the sales linked to the decisions made by the customers, it becomes imperative to enrich the customer shopping experience every step of the way. Customer experience has a direct impact on the functioning of a business and the success it aims to achieve.
‘Retailtainment’ is becoming popular and ‘shopping’ is not the only activity people are looking out for while they decide to buy something. The concept of entertainment in retail is on the rise with the focus of the customers shifting on various necessities that were nonexistent before. The dynamics of the in-store experience are also changing with ‘variety’ being the only constant looked out for by many. With the ability to fulfill the demands of this erratic period, AI is the only strategy that can help achieve the essential.
The retail customer experience is largely affected by AI. With the prominence of the ‘online world’ increasing, stepping in it has become necessary. When it comes to handling various businesses, AI is one technology that can put any business on the map for a long time and secure its position in the marketplace for the years to come. There is a big difference between the user experience and the customer experience. The users are people going through a particular digital platform with a purchase being optional. But when it comes to the customers, they are the people who have needs and are looking to buy something to fulfill those needs. That is what the businesses need to target; the customer experience. Some ways in which AI affects CX in the retail sector are:
1. AI-led CX initiates a customized discovery: While looking for a particular product or a service on a digital platform, the process can get time-consuming and overwhelming. The item that is in question can be unavailable or unsuitable for the buyer. AI in this scenario enables a personalized display of items picked out for the buyer based on the required needs or preferences.
2. AI-led CX provides guidance to customer queries every step of the way: With a personalized shopper guiding the digital experiences at all times, all the doubts are eliminated leading to an accurate purchase. This guidance can be availed at any time of the day without any restrictions on the time zones or locations.
3. AI-led CX helps in generating useful promotional campaigns: There are many advertisements created on a daily basis today. But there are many such advertisements that go unnoticed by people. The main reason for this is personalization being absent. Applying a predictive model to create activities for promotions helps particular content reach the actual target, interested in the product.
It is time for many businesses to revamp their resources and give AI-rich processes precedence. There are many new retail strategies that are in talks today like delivery through drones that Amazon wants to develop or use of tools to identify and discard defective products that can further take the use of AI to its highest potential. An AI-powered b2b platform can help kick start the AI-led CX journey for a personalized shopping experience. The future of AI in retail is luminous and cutting back the risk of losses, AI will lead the retail industry to be ranked topmost in terms of sales worldwide in the coming years.