May 9, 2023
Like other industries, retail is under pressure to adopt new technologies to stay competitive. AI is just one example of the tools that the retail industry can employ to sharpen customer service, refine the customer experience, better manage inventory, and most importantly, boost sales. Here are 5 ways that AI can shake up the retail industry.
Many retailers have already invested in AI-driven technology that can assist their customers while shopping in person in their stores, as well as help their employees quickly answer questions on the sales floor. UK retailer John Lewis started using a shop floor app in 2017 that allows its employees to access information about products and stock availability on the spot.
Some retailers are even already using robots to assist their in-store customers. Lowe’s has an autonomous robot called Lowebot that helps navigate customers through stores and is able to help customers find products in multiple languages. This also helps the company keep track of inventory in real-time.
The increasing presence of robots in stores helps diminish time spent waiting in lines, reduces the number of employees needed, and dramatically saves money on the operational costs of retailers.
The AI that is already in place at Amazon Go stores allows customers to pay for items just by walking out the door. Customers receive a receipt at a later date, with their Amazon accounts being charged for their purchases. These AI-driven supermarkets operate with only 6-10 employees per location.
AI has opened up the possibilities of visual search for retailers, allowing their customers to open up visual search by uploading images to find identical or similar products. In this application, AI closely analyzes an image, taking note of color, shape, and patterns to identify an item.
Some retailers, like American Eagle, have taken this technology a step further, by offering customers recommendations on what to pair with the items that they have searched, like accessories or shoes.
Excesses in supply or being caught with a short supply can affect the bottom line of retailers and costs companies about $1.1 trillion each year. Leftover stock is often marked down and leads to low sales turnover. An out-of-stock situation leads to lost sales and unhappy customers who can easily turn to a competitor to get the product they are looking for.
AI can help retailers with restocking by identifying demand for a certain product by tracking metrics such as location, sales history, weather, and trends. This allows companies to present a build-up of underperforming products, stock what customers are likely to buy, reduce returns and ultimately save money.
A new class of AI technology allows retailers to leverage insights into consumer behavior and reach their customers with an individual approach. These new platforms analyze consumer psychology and emotions to encourage purchases.
This technology works by using an algorithm to analyze consumers’ emotional responses and behavioral patterns during previous shopping sessions and generates optimal pricing offers and incentives for each shopper. Using this behavioral data, brands can produce individual recommendations and increase revenue.
How Can Market Research Help Brands Optimize AI?
In retail, tending to and anticipating consumers’ wants and needs is just as important as an airtight operational process. With so much competition in the retail landscape, the brands that prioritize their customer will come out on top. Investing in market research helps companies gain insights directly from their customers.
Working with an established research firm like Eyes4Research can help brands gather the data they need to learn exactly what AI platforms will supercharge their bottom line and keep their customers coming back.
Read more about the retail industry and AI on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.