All of us has almost heard about Artificial Intelligence in the past few years, unless been burrowed deep underground. AI is being used in various industries and retail is no left behind. Albeit numerous AI experts assume that the opportunities are unending, numerous forms of AI are now being utilized as a part of retail. AI’s most impressive feature is that it predicts everything around.
First off, retail organizations have massive data regarding information on their clients, their shopping encounters and significantly more. This information collection is often too difficult for a regular company to manage and analyze properly. Due to this reason, conversion rates are not as expected. Nonetheless, AI innovation may change that for these organizations by utilizing this information to make web shops that take your data and transform it into focused shopping encounters, online chatbots that will effortlessly answer inquiries and help clients, and in-store knowledge to make the experience considerably more intuitive.
Numerous retail business organizations are now utilizing types of AI to better comprehend their clients, produce new leads and give an improved client experience.
One of the best examples is of Flipkart, an online shopping giant in India that has joined hands with Microsoft to provide a better online shopping experience. Flipkart adopted Microsoft Azure as its public cloud platform, in order to leverage AI, machine learning and analytics capability of Azure to optimize data for innovative marketing, advertising, merchandising and enabling real-time customer support. Flipkart takes data from user and guides users with relevant questions, conversational filters, shopping ideas, offers, and trending collections. F7 Labs is Flipkart’s AI arm at the Silicon Valley where it is working on natural language processing to understand the English used by the Indian audience.
Along with Flipkart, Amazon too is leveraging AI to detect fake or wrong address, computing address quality scores, working and correcting pin code mismatches and offering a suggestion to the user to correct the wrongly entered address. This helps in making up with the failed deliveries or untimely deliveries of the ordered product. AI also helps in extracting missing attributes on products information such as brand, label, product title etc. AI is being used for product size recommendations. For example catalogue size 6 correspond to foot size of 15cm for Reebok and 16 cm for Nike shoes.
Flipkart now owned by Myntra uses AI-based returns system called Sabre, which facilitates faster returns for the consumers displaying good buying return behaviour. By analysing a customer’s past returns patterns, Myntra claims that ‘Sabre’ is able to detect which customers are genuinely returning the shipments and which ones are attempting fraudulent activities.
Some of the most used AI enabled features by big retailers include:
- Gesture recognition
- Virtual mirrors for shopping
- Smart chats with chatbots
- Logistics and delivery (tracking)
Here we enlist the ways AI can be used in the retail industry:
AI can be used to create a customer-centric search-
Have you ever noticed, you search for any product online and do not proceed to buy that item, still you get to see the items on the web while browsing any other information? The reason quoted by many consumers is that they find the products irrelevant or not as expected. This where companies such as Twiggle and Clarify comes to picture. These companies use natural language processing to narrow, contextualize and ultimately improve search results for online shoppers.
Utilizing machine learning, the AI automatically labels, organize and outwardly looks content by marking highlights of the content, picture or video which enables you to construct bespoke models where you can instruct AI to understand any idea, whether it’s a logo, product, aesthetic etc.
The AI technology provides a focused edge and is accessible to developers, engineers or organizations of any size or budget. An extraordinary case is Pinterest’s current refresh of its Chrome expansion, which empowers clients to choose any photo on the web and then asks Pinterest to surface similar items using image recognition software.
AI enabled with visual search capabilities helps retail and e-commerce businesses in assisting the customer in finding the product they desire. The consumer no longer needs to be shopping to see something they would like to purchase.
Retargeting potential consumers-
Unmanageable customer data is one of the pain points in retail as almost 33% of the leads are not followed up. This means that the potential consumers who once showed interest in your product are not been taken care of. This is the unbelievable goldmine of intelligent data that could improve the sales process. For instance, if we take a deeper look at the retail industry, facial recognition is already being used to capture shoplifters by scanning their faces on CCTV cameras.
AI capabilities are now being implemented by the retail businesses to capture dwell time of customers at physical stores. For example, if a customer spends a lot of time near to mobile handsets, this interest would be recorded and used in the next visit. This stored information would help provide special offers to customers relevant to their interest. In other words, omnichannel retailers are beginning to gain ground in their capacity to remarket to clients. The face of sales is changing with organizations reacting specifically to the needs of the client. Businesses are perusing the brains of clients and it’s all because of the information utilized with AI.
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Identifying target prospects-
Lead generation is one of the biggest challenges for retail stores (physical or online). AI technology with its real-time intelligence process make use of the stored customer data, previous purchasing behaviour, buying patterns and interests; assist in identifying potential prospects giving the sales team an edge for winning a business. If the products are well targeted, it gets a huge win-win scenario for the sales conversion.
AI assist in creating an efficient sales process-
Cold calling is the technique of the past. If you are looking to improvise your sales process and reap benefits, the best solution is to integrate AI into your CRM system. This integration helps in reaching right customers, at the right time and through the right channel.
Many AI systems enable natural language learning and voice input such as Siri or Alexa. This allows a CRM system to answer customer queries, solve their problems and even identify new opportunities for the sales team. Some AI-driven CRM systems can even multitask to handle all these functions and more.
AI provides personalization across multiple devices used by user-
Retail and personalization go hand in hand. If you have ever used Amazon, personalization is something you must be aware of. AI-based personalization technique assemble on top of the multiple customer touch points to help the business analyze how consumers are interacting online. Whether it is a mobile application, the website, or an email campaign, the AI engine is continuously monitoring all devices and channels to create a universal customer view. This unified customer view enables e-commerce retailers to deliver a seamless customer experience across all platforms.
One of the best examples of AI technique is a user searching for mobile covers on the web and get the same notification on its mobile phone about the offers regarding the item. Users can directly make the purchase on their phone, saving a lot of steps for both parties
AI offers a personal touch with chatbots-
With changing consumer behavior and numerous touchpoints that influence to make a purchase, retail to focuses on ensuring experiences for individual consumers. Retailers now concentrate more on resolving consumer issues and work on feedbacks so as to improve the experience. This is where chatbots enter the scene. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate interaction with human users over the internet. Right from providing customer support to real-time chatting with users and getting the orders managed, chatbots are the best tool to provide instant support.
Consumer needs are rapidly evolving to the point that retailers struggle to keep up. If brands wish to survive then this is one of the priority business strategies that must be executed. The use of artificial intelligence through the application of ‘chatbots’ is just one way to drive the conversation in this next era of conversational commerce.
Virtual Assistance Implementation-
We must have heard of Siri, Alexa, and Google now; the tools that have enabled talking to phones, laptops, and even the home appliances. Virtual assistants are impacting the way customers purchase and provide a creative opportunity for e-commerce retailers to take advantage of. One of the most prominent virtual assistance has been Alexa. For example, by integrating Alexa on Amazon’s echo device VA customers can discover local gigs for the upcoming weekend through StubHub, arrange transport to and from the event via Uber, or even order pre-event dinner from Domino’s (and track the order status in real time).
AI can assist Retail store staff and provide an improved recommendation for customers-
Utilizing AI, brands would more be able to intelligently and effectively look over petabytes of information to foresee client conduct, and offer significant and supportive suggestions to singular buyers. This level of insight is fundamental in conveying a customized shopping knowledge for the buyer.
By utilizing computer vision technology retailers can identify whether customers reach for products on the top, middle or bottom shelf, and perceive how they handle items as they move around stores. They could then automate the accumulation of that information, process it and utilize AI to break down conduct designs.
This could lead retailers to manage and improvise where they put items to drive more deals. This can only be possible with the help of retail staff agents, however, AI can automate it, permitting sales executive to collaborate with clients progressively and perform different tasks.
Starbucks is one of the first few retailers to utilize AI technology to analyze customer data and deliver personalised offerings. It has launched My Starbucks Barista, where customers can place orders through voice command or message.
Improved Dialogue Systems and tackling fake reviews with AI implementation-
Amazon is one of the first few retailers to initiate the use of AI technology for converting speech to text; speech recognition, question answering and natural language processing are a few issues with the dialogue systems that AI take care of. AI utilize machine learning or deep learning algorithms to deliver results.
There are many questions related to products that users ask. In order to automatically provide an answer to these questions, Amazon uses AI that leverage the content on a website such as user reviews, product description etc and provide users with the answers they are looking for. AI is providing new opportunities for e-commerce retailers to engage with customers.
Creating false reviews is something that online retailers face issues with. In fact customer’s reviews are something that influences buying decision of any other consumer looking for the same product. Fake reviews or astroturfing can be easily tackled by AI. AI machine-learning system ensures that the prominence and weight of verified customer purchase reviews are boosted. There is also a preference to those reviews that are marked as helpful by other users as well as the newer and more up-to-date critiques on its site.
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