AI in Retail: 3 Things You Need to Know

Most futuristic science fiction stories portray artificial intelligence (AI) as something detrimental to humanity.  The reality is; AI isn’t futuristic, it already exists, and AI in retail is benefitting many businesses.

How Can AI Help My Retail Store?

In short, AI is a learning software program that can learn tasks and think similarly to the way a human does. It gets its “intelligence” based on collected, hard data and processes information to make decisions. There are two types of AI: narrow and general intelligence. Most computers and smartphones have narrow AI and can perform simple tasks that they are programmed to do for the user.

General AI is different. It is a learning program that is adaptable and able to perform more advanced tasks such as building spreadsheets or use deductive reasoning to determine a trend or recommendation. It becomes “smarter” over time, based on accumulated data. Companies such as Amazon, GE, Dominoes and North Face all use AI in retail to boost their presence and sales revenue.

3 Things You Need to Know About AI in Retail

1. AI in retail improves the customer experience

A recent study by IBM showed that 48% of customers believe it is important for retailers to provide on-demand, personalized promotions when shopping online, while 45% want the same options in-store.

AI helps the eCommerce shopping experience by suggesting product recommendations the consumer has an interest in, based on shopping and browsing history. AI used in web or apps can feature voice-activated shopping and can even become a consumer’s own personal shopper. Personalized promotional offers catered to your customers can help motivate a purchase.

2. AI in retail improves business decisions

Still depending on spreadsheets and paper scheduling to manage your staff and inventory? AI incorporated into your daily management routine can help immensely by optimizing such tasks like staff scheduling needs, over or under-stocking of product, and maintenance requirements.

AI in retail can also be use for facilities management tasks like lighting and HVAC usage. If there is a problem that needs to be addressed, AI can send you a real-time alert and give you the ability to handle an issue via a smart device.

3. Including People Counts Improves AI

If you utilize AI in your brick-and-mortar store to enhance the customer’s shopping experience, be sure to install people counters to gather additional data such as shopping patterns and areas of higher interest within your facility. People counting data can help your AI application determine the success of special sales events and learn the best way to improve future promotions.

According to IDC, AI will change how 25% of stores operate in the U.S. by 2019. It’s time for you to evaluate how you can leverage AI solutions. Don’t wait until your competition has deployed AI solutions and has gained an edge in your market. Explore the benefits it can offer your business as you advance into the “futuristic” world of AI in retail that’s here today.

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