The benefits of implementing artificial intelligence in retail are countless, but it is important to know how to focus on the most appropriate solutions for your specific needs.
From the first chatbots to the most specialized solutions, the world of artificial intelligence has evolved at an unstoppable rhythm in the last two years. The key is to choose the right tool that allow you to simplify data analysis as much as possible. This will make the difference when implementing changes in sales processes.
According to a McKinsey study, 40 percent of the time spent on sales can be automated and not taking advantage of the tools available to do so can lead to lost market share and other challenges.
Artificial Intelligence Beyond eCommerce
Artificial intelligence is not exclusive to eCommerce, however, and helps make in-store shopping experiences more seamless by connecting with consumers across multiple channels. This gives retailers the ability to unify the shopping process and increase sales.
In 2020, the retail sector invested more than $2 billion in artificial intelligence, and it is estimated to grow at an annual rate of more than 30 percent between 2021 and 2027.
Furthermore, after a year of major changes in retail, the usual sales forecasts are no longer enough. It is important to analyze all stages of the commercial process to measure efficiency and use AI where possible to automate processes and shift resources to other areas of the business.
The most common questions that retailers receive are about the location of products, the availability of similar products, and sizes (in the case of clothing).
Consumers have changed and, as a result of the pandemic, some of them prefer to reduce contact and time spent in stores. Faced with this new situation, it is vital to be able to make use of artificial intelligence to answer questions—such as offering them the chance to confirm their size with the help of a virtual adviser, browsing similar products on a touch screen, or checking a store map before heading into the actual location.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, retailers can automate these processes, giving them more time to help shoppers in other areas that require a more human touch. Overall, customers who feel like they are heard and respected are more likely to purchase again or spend more money.
More Emotional Artificial Intelligence
Detecting emotions through artificial intelligence is no longer something of the future.
Shopping is emotional, and it’s time to get creative when retailers already have software that helps them balance offers against their competitors, a chatbot that answers questions, and other tools that help with forecasting and data analysis. To go one step further is to get closer to shoppers and help them become loyal customers.
Although there is still work to be done, retailers can now access empathetic search tools to improve product suggestions and measure their customers’ reactions and emotions. This way, they can adjust the experience based on real information rather than on the interpretation of impersonal data.
According to Achintha Avin Ihalage, from the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London, “with deep learning, we have shown that we can accurately measure the emotions of a subject in an independent way.”
The challenge? To take a step back and have a global view.
It sounds very trivial, but it is easy to end up with mountains of data to analyze if you don’t design a step-by-step strategy. Artificial intelligence can be applied to so many aspects of your business that it’s important to know where it can best help you, so you don’t get information overload that takes you away from your customer.