How can AI revolutionize retail experience?

It is a renaissance, it is a golden age,”.“We are now solving problems with machine learning and artificial intelligence that were … in the realm of science fiction for the last several decades.” Jeff Bezos mentioned at internet association’s Gala.

It is meant to be.

Even if you have to cut across all the hype, the signs are hard to miss.

Artificial intelligence is revolutionising the way you sell.

Retailers can now forge a better relationship with customers by tracking their shopping pattern, getting insights into their buying behaviour and making holistic business decisions.

With access to unprecedented consumer data, progression towards predictive AI has been seamless and natural.

Here is how retailers can leverage the benefits of AI in fostering customer relationship:

1. Predict customer behaviour

Have you noticed that as you start watching house of cards in Netflix, the algorithm scrutinises your behaviour, compares it with the millions of other viewers and gently nudges you to watch other Kevin spacey’s movies?

The same predictive algorithm could be applied to forecasting what your customers want. Is your customer looking for wedding dress? AI algorithms could recommend wedding shoes or accessories to pair up with the dress. Fascinating , isn’t it? Depending on the shopping cart , history of shopping behaviour, demography, wish list, predictive AI can handpick products and position it intelligently in the “ you may like these too” category. AI algorithms facilitate in uncovering customer behavioural insights that help online and offline retailers to appeal to their customers needs better and offer a personalised shopping experience.

If big data is the cake, AI is undoubtedly the icing.

2. Intelligent Inventory management

Source

Managing inventory is no easy feat. Despite employing retail inventory monitoring systems, it is challenging to combat depleted stock issues. It is embarrassing and counter productive to turn away your customers.

With artificial intelligence system, it is possible to understand, analyse and forecast customer demands that helps in aligning sales with supply. Out of stock issue could be rectified to the utmost precision with AI. Additionally, supply chain processes generate tons of data. It would be a sheer waste not to employ AI to maximise the value extracted to drive process improvement and efficient decision making. AI systems can analyse trends in real time, find a correlation among unstructured data and provide accurate information about the replenishment of inventory.

3. Deliver the Wow experience

According to the supply chain transaction of just one e-tailer on black day is as below:

Orders Per day Total Transaction Number of picking lines Outbound delivery truck scans
426( orders in seconds) 36 million 250 million 40 million

When the data points are incredibly massive, deploying artificial intelligence would help in organising the information, allocating resource at every transition point and finding points of maximising optimisation.

As an e-tailer, it is vital to analyse, dissect and dig for nuggets of information that could help streamline the supply chain process. Anticipatory logistics has gained a lot of momentum in the recent years patly due to the rising customer expectations and partly due to AI boom. Letting the customer know where their order is and when exactly it will reach them has become important in an effort to mitigate the gestation gap between ordering and feeling the product.

Sample the following graph that indicates the surge in the volume of shipments during holidays:

It is impossible for a third party shipper such as UPS, FedEx or DHL to deliver the packages on time, leave alone update your customers on the shipment location. Hence the onus is passed on to the retailer to follow through the entire order fulfilment process. AI algorithm empowers you to proactively solve logistic issues and notify your customers of any exception

Although retail giants like Amazon have been quick to adopt, smaller businesses are yet to take the leap when it comes to infusing AI for a superior retail experience. According to a study conducted recently by Gartner, AI Technologies will be in almost every new software product by 2020. Hence it is critical for e-commerce companies to embrace AI to secure their position in the e-commerce race.

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