Just have a look at the recent scientific advancements. Technology has moved at a fast pace after the 1990s. In the good olden days, our ancestors have to wait for hundreds of years to know about fire. Then they invented the wheel. It is only after the Industrial Revolution technological innovations began to happen at a fast pace. But yes, everyone understands that technology began to change after the computers became popular. The 1980s saw the growth of computers and laptops. The 1990s were the times of internet. 2000 saw the emergence of mobiles and other gadgets. From 2010, the revolution by apps started. 2016 is still now famous as the year of apps. But there is a change in the way the home appliances and free online tools operate. Did you notice the difference? The home appliances have moved from just an accessory to becoming an appliance which can help the householder. For example, you get an alert in your mobile from the washing machine when the wash is over. Any guess regarding the new technology that is making waves in every sector? You are right. The word is artificial intelligence, and it has brought beneficial changes in many industry sectors. In this article, however, we focus on Artificial Intelligence in the Retail industry.
What are the beneficial changes brought about by Artificial Intelligence in Retail Industry?
Whenever a new technology enters an industry, it is first looked upon with suspicion. So, artificial intelligence tool designers have to answer a lot of questions.
Can AI applications play a major role in the augmentation of retail industry? How can the retail business companies of today make use of the AI tools to outsmart their competitors? And what will be the major innovations that are going to make major changes in the next decade?
In this article, we will look into some examples and tools that are making a mark in the retail industry.
First of all, innovations, you can compare to a double-edged sword. If successful, you will get catapulted to glory. But failure? it will be a bag of mixed emotions. Yet, there is a silver lining. Many AI applications have so far yielded good results.
Now let us look to the changes in Sales, CRM Applications
1. Pepper Robot
The name, Pepper has already become popular around the globe. No, it is not for cooking, but Pepper is a robot that has caused a steep hike in the number of customers coming to banks. The humanoid robot, it is, Pepper can greet the customer and suitable interact with customers. In the future, you can see similar robots in retail stores and malls, that can assist customers to clarify their doubts.
A retail online website can embed chatbots in its customer care service. Although the answers to the queries are automated, the AI tool engineers have designed the words in such a way so that they seem authentic. For example, you have the Conversica Sales Assistant. It can enhance the engagement rate of customers with proper responses. In the future, you may even have a chatbot call internet leads and convert them to prospective customers.
There is an AI sales rep called as Rachel which can send an apt email response. Another advantage of this software is cross-selling or engaging with existing customers to generate sales.
3. The Next Stage
As you know, artificial intelligence is a part of machine learning. The next stage is also about to happen definitely in the near future. We have mentioned about chatbots. But these AI tools can resolve only simple queries. The complex queries get routed to a human individual. So, will an AI tool be designed that can solve complex queries? The answer is Yes. Remember the supercomputer which played games with Vishwanathan Anand, Grand Master Chess Champion. Its data was uploaded with permutations and combinations of chess moves to outsmart the human brain. Now, if the same technology came into retail?
Then customer care centers of every business enterprise will have few individuals and more chatbots.
For a joke, there is a lot of differences between recommendation and referral. A human will recommend his/her friend for a job or other tasks. But when it comes to AI tools, nothing works better than recommendations. Example, have you browsed the Amazon website, to buy a product? And when you paid the amount via online, you get recommendations from the website stating the customer who bought the same product also browsed for other products. Now, where did this come from? It is because of the AI tool. Please note, that the Amazon website gets millions of visitors every day. Now, do you think a human can browse through millions of accounts, individual preferences and make recommendations? This is where the AI tool comes to help individual customers and also websites such as Amazon make more revenue.
5. Augmented Reality
Barely a few decades ago, for a family event, entire families used to visit brick and mortar stores to buy clothes. Now, the trend has changed with the growth of e-Commerce platforms. Now every housewife, having a laptop in India buys many of the items online. Yes, there were some challenges when the outfit you ordered did not fit your personality. But in the future, an augmented AI tool can help you check the dress shape, size, and color. Just imagine the other benefits, an online customer will get after implementation of Artificial Intelligence in Retail Industry.
6. Customer Service
Yes, e-commerce contributes seventy percent of the sales when it comes to the retail industry. But there are also small challenges to get rid of. Now, how does an e-Commerce owner get to know the challenges a customer faces? Can the owner take steps to enhance the customer service? How is it possible? He/she need not employ a team to look after the customer feedback. They can design a feedback form, pose all the relevant questions and get the feedback. Now, it is impossible for a human to look into every feedback and make recommendations. But an AI has the perfect algorithm to go into every feedback and make the recommendations in proper words to the owner. The e-Commerce website owner can put a series of web applications which can enhance the customer’s experience.
7. Drones for Delivery
Which comes across as the most difficult task in an online retail store? The delivery part, right? Now, the delivery guy has to make the call and then find the home to give delivery. Now, is there an easy way to go through the route and deliver the goods? Yes, by the sky. No, we are not joking. In fact, Amazon and other eCommerce giants are exploring the possibilities of small delivery by drones. If this practice gets implemented in full force, then there will be a new set of jobs offered to new graduates and other certified students.
8. Payment Services
This is the next stage of the payment methods. As you know, digital transfer of money has replaced cheques and other transactions in the bank. Now, comes the next stage by Artificial Intelligence in Retail Industry. So, when you go to an eCommerce website, you select the products and put them in your cart. Then you make the payment. If the new AI technology gets implemented, after you put all the products in the cart and press the button, the charges will become automatically deducted. The account gets closed off after you exit the store.
Have you gone through the changes that will be brought about by Artificial Intelligence in Retail industry? Now let us move to the next stage after you get the delivery. Shall we take a case study? You reside in Hyderabad and have booked a microwave oven for delivery. The product comes to your house. It is a smart microwave oven, and it has been programmed to alert the popcorn vendor if the quantity gets low. And after some time, due to a technical problem, it needs repair. If the warranty is available you can contact the service center. Or else, the easy way is to book the best microwave oven repair technician via the company which provides home care services in Hyderabad. In the future, home improvement experts say, if a smart home appliance gets repaired, then it can send alerts to the nearest service technician.
Have we missed any important point in the future? Then please let us know by putting a review in the Comments Section.