Although some of the largest and most practical advancements in AI are happening in the industry sector, and it might come as a surprise but the retail sector is leading the way. Currently, AI solutions like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s Siri are making a huge difference in the shopping experience and the Amazon Go concept stores are destined to disrupt the market with its new technology. Every week we witness new applications coming online but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes which will have a tremendous impact in all areas of retail.
Behind the new AI integrated retail experience is deep learning. It is an AI approach that utilizes neural networks which is used by everyone even you via applications like Snapchat. Let’s see how does AI help retail store owners?
Artificial Intelligence technologies takes a big data set about an area and runs it through AI algorithms such as neural networks and creates a model that can provide answers like a real human. These answers depend on whatever AI was able to learn about the data set. It will gradually improve with time as AI will learn with every customer it faces. For example- AI learns about the sales data linked to the customer data.
When this information is run through the machine learning algorithms, an AI model is produced which discovers actionable information about a business, customers and inventory which are not normally obvious or known to the business owner. With access to this information, a retailer can do a variety of things that would benefit the business.
For example, AI can learn about customers, their tastes & preferences and behavior. And, with the recent advancements, AI can get to know the customers so well that they will even know what they want and when they need it.
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And AI knows even before you know it. If AI is capable of producing such results, there are multiple benefits that can be obtained immediately the business. Secondly, is AI knows what customers need before they do then business owners can issue them a coupon for a given product which will benefit both the customer and the owner. Another benefit would be improving your customer’s experience because if you offer them exactly what they need at a better price, you start building a personal selling relationship with your customers.
Let’s take another case of product images, which is faced by many online retailers and marketplaces with large product catalogs. It becomes very tedious tagging each product one by one which is also prone to human error. This is one of the most crucial steps that impacts the search results and sales. Currently, tagging products is a manual process for most online retailers which consumes more time and is error prone. Most importantly, inaccurate tagging can result in frustrated customers and lost revenues. But, there’s fortunately a solution to this problem.
The solution is Artificial Intelligence. An AI powered approach, that takes advantage of deep learning and computer vision, helps retailers dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to tag products while improving accuracy. Instead of manually tagging images one by one, retailers can upload all their product images to an AI engine and have them tagged by color, pattern, style and other parameters all at once. Similarly, Artificial Intelligence can also being applied when it comes to making intelligent product recommendations. In this use-case, depending on what shoppers are looking for at a given time, appropriate suggestions for visually similar products can be made, without having to link products manually in the back-end.
In addition to this, retailers are using AI to transform the way customers look for products. Retailers have enabled online shoppers to find products by uploading an image instead of searching through text. It means that shoppers can even find products they saw in a magazine by simply uploading an image of the same. For retailers, it’s an opportunity which helps them tackle the problem of discovery while building new experiences.