Artificial intelligence in retail

From the barter systems of the 1800s to modern IBeacon technology and e-receipts, retail has come a long way since it’s foundations. Shops have evolved from booths to expansive buildings making up the cityscape. According to entrepreneur.com, offline sales are still 10 times bigger than online sales. However, researchers predicted a 15 percent growth in U.S. sales and total value for online shopping between 2016 and 2017, while offline only saw a 4.5 percent increase. The job of the modern retailer has expanded to leading strategic campaigns in order to address and target the different variables within the ecosystem including but not limited to the customer service, the market positioning and the product assortment. To keep up with the digital zeitgeist of this age, many retailers are looking to expand to different markets by increasing their number of channels.

Retarget potential customers

It's only natural that the world of retail would continue to evolve to meet the growing demands of this generation. With the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, businesses are able to leverage unique data to enhance the overall customer shopping experience.

According to Conversica, at least 33% of marketing leads are not followed up by the sales team.

So how does AI help you to catch all of these potential customers falling through the cracks?

Well, take something like facial recognition. What was once used as a tool to mainly detect any kind of misdemeanor can have many potential use cases when integrated with the advanced technology. For example, what if a shopper can make an order, even say groceries, and have the facial detector pick up when she walks into the store as to complete the purchase?

According to a report done by COLLOQUY on the NRF expo for 2018, facial recognition was a major area of interest as seen by large players such Samsung and AT&T, which use it for aggregating demographics, store-traffic patterns and other data. Intel showcased the software in a candy-store mock-up, where a camera recognized shoppers and then sent store associates their names, past purchases and recommendations for candies that hit their data-defined sweet spots.

Operations management

Advanced technology can also be applied from the backend of operations as well.

Beijing-based JD.com partnered up with Siasun Robot & Automation Co Ltd. to use automation technology, such as robots, to improve warehouse operations. The key idea was to improve the speed and efficiency of product sorting and delivery in warehouses, cutting down the costs and increasing revenue. According to Techemergence, after implementing this new initiative, a number of online orders reached 1.26 billion in 2015 (double the amount of orders in 2014) and approximately 85 percent of those orders were delivered within two days. As we see, it helps! And Richard Liu, founder, and CEO of JD.com, stated that AI is a necessary component of the company’s business strategy going forward. JD.com aims to use Artificial intelligence to reduce the number of employees from approximately 120,000 to 80,000 over a decade to increase efficiency, by reducing manual work and therefore increase the profit margin.

Predictive sales

Deep learning and prescient investigation of huge informational data sets is conceivable with AI calculations. Organizations utilize these strategies to catch their clients' conduct. The well-known show on Netflix, House of cards, was a consequence of such AI design learning methods as it leveraged on datasets of the most-watched classification of TV by the majority of the watchers. Predictive sales likewise help in sorting out and dealing with the stock of the distribution centers, guaranteeing that the organization is all around loaded, particularly with the items that have a higher request.


“More and more retailers are using chat bots on websites and through chat applications such as Facebook Messenger. Potential customers can communicate with them using speech and/or text. The bots will assess and answer customer questions, provide assistance in the selection process, and execute simple tasks,” Notes Mark de Bruijn in his post on robots and AI in retail.

The capacity of web based business destinations to offer every minute of every day support to their clients is on account of chatbots. Giving a consistent brand understanding, these bots have developed past static answers to rather wise creatures that can discuss successfully with guests.

AI innovation can enable organizations to utilize this information to convey better encounters to their clients, and designers keep on finding AI applications crosswise over business capacities. We imagine that the sooner retailers embrace the innovation, the more prominent the edge they'll have versus their companions.

With the achievement that a few retailers have had in actualizing AI in their stores, the innovation appears as though it is before long turning into a fundamental piece of the business.