Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors, and retail is no exception.
This article delves into the current state of AI in retail, exploring its applications and how it’s shaping the future of shopping experiences.
We’ll draw insights from an interview conducted on the BBC World Business Matters Show with Samantha Fenwick, featuring Blake Morgan, a customer experience futurist.
AI in Retail: An Overview
AI is a set of algorithms or models trained with massive amounts of data, providing real-time recommendations and predicting potential outcomes.
In the retail sector, AI is being used to unlock unique customer experiences and differentiate brands in the market.
Superdrug, a UK-based health and beauty retailer, is a prime example of AI application in retail. They offer personalized AI and Augmented Reality (AR) powered experiences across makeup, skincare, haircare, and wellness. Their AI-powered recommendation engine is used for advertising copy, leading to a 29% rise in average order value and a 70% uplift in conversions.
Customers engaged through this AI-driven approach were two to three times more likely to become repeat customers.
AI and the World’s Largest Company
Walmart, the world’s largest company, is leveraging its massive data set to figure out what customers want and provide it.
Customers generate data breadcrumbs about their preferences, which Walmart analyzes to improve the entire shopping journey.
Sam’s Club, owned by Walmart, has robotic floor scrubbers equipped with inventory intelligence towers.
These towers take more than 20 million photos of everything on Sam’s Club’s shelves every day.
Walmart is also testing shelf-scanning robots to boost inventory accuracy and warehouse capacity.
The Fidgetal Store: A New Retail Concept
The term “fidgetal” is a blend of “digital” and “physical,” representing the marriage between the two in the retail sector. Kroger, a U.S. grocer, is testing the idea of smart shelves.
As customers walk down the aisle with their app open, sensors identify products they might like or be interested in.
This concept could potentially play out in various scenarios, leading to the rise of the fidgetal store.
AI and Customer Service
AI is not only enhancing the shopping experience but also revolutionizing customer service.
New AI-driven agent assist tools are being developed to provide a navigation-like service to contact center agents, improving the customer experience and reducing the cost of managing the contact center.
Minerva CQ, a startup, is providing this navigation app to contact center agents. The use of these tools to assist employees leads to a more seamless, zero-friction customer experience.
When customer service is slow or unsatisfactory, it’s often because the agent or customer service representative is having a difficult time inside the contact center.
AI tools can alleviate these issues, leading to a better experience for both the customer and the agent.
AI is undeniably transforming the retail sector, from enhancing customer experiences to improving inventory management and customer service.
As AI continues to evolve, we can expect even more innovative applications that will further reshape the retail landscape.
The future of retail is here, and it’s powered by AI. Whether it’s personalized recommendations, smart shelves, or AI-assisted customer service, the possibilities are endless.
Retailers who embrace these technologies will be well-positioned to provide superior customer experiences, drive growth, and stay ahead in the competitive retail market.