AI and ML for the Smart Retailer

by Nick Gordon
POSTED BY: Nick Gordon       IN Artificial Intelligence    

The presence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in retail is perhaps as yet perceivable only among the prominent players in the retail plane. However, the benefits that AI can bring to retail are multi-fold and combined with Machine Learning (ML), AI can revolutionize the retailer’s game in customer engagement, experience and predictive analytics.

Large volumes of customer data that could possibly be optimized for improving sales but are lying purposeless can now be brought to life with AI.

Retail is now all about creating a direct relationship with the customer, understanding preferences and customizing their journey with you. A personalized, engaged and positive customer experience that has hitherto been considered expensive and hard to achieve can be delivered in a cost effective and efficient manner in conjunction with AI. AI powered chatbots along with ML can bring the customer an interactive, personal and persuasive experience. Voice assistants speak to customers based on their needs and choices.

Consumers are engaging with retailers these days through multiple channels – Websites, social media, mobile phone apps, telephones and in-store among other modes. When a consumer switches from one channel to another, they expect a seamless engagement experience and wish to pick up where they left off not wanting to have to retrace their steps from the start. AI powered technology could enable a seamless and time efficient retail experience for the shopper.

While speech is a powerful engagement tool in the retail experience, AI, with image recognition has brought a whole new trend in visual customer experience. Shoppers can use an image at an AI enabled kiosk to check if similar products are available in the store. Using the customer’s image AI helps them trial clothes and accessories without having to physically try them on.

The application of AI in retail differs across industries, and businesses vary in their degree of reliance on this modern tool. Depending on the size and nature of your business, AI might not even be the right choice for you, but the technology offers multiple options and when integrated effectively can make a significant difference to business revenue.

Here are a few ways in which AI can be leveraged for bringing about a better customer experience and to plan your marketing:

  • AI sifts through huge volumes of data and produces answers to queries based on insights. These can be beneficial both in creating better revenue models and in improving customer experience.
  • AI is able to understand your customer to the extent it can anticipate what they need. With such information, an AI powered marketing process is able to give the customer a discount or an offer they require or plan to buy, just at the right time. This improves your business revenue and creates brand loyalty.
  • AI can help you plan your retail inventory and assist you with optimal in-store display options. Based on existing data, the technology can determine customer buying patterns, and predict what real buyers expect in terms of inventory.
  • Creating a great web shopping experience, online chatbots answering queries intuitively and providing in-store assistance, all based on an understanding of the customer’s buying and search history, age, and various other factors enables targeted marketing along with tailored content.
  • In a very few retail businesses like Starbucks, robots are being used to bring about a more consistent experience and timely service.

The use of AI in retail therefore is certainly slated to bring strengths in customer service, efficiency, improved quality and effective marketing.

Author: Nick Gordon

Nick Gordon is a senior writer at Centurysoft Blog, where he covers topics such as Digital Media, Data Analytics, Chatbots, Artificial Intelligence and Business Intelligence. He attended Stanford University and now lives in Brooklyn. He enjoys traveling, live music and reading a good book in his spare time.