A broad application of AI can solve a wide range of retail problems
By NACS Online // January 31, 2019
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Consumer spending drives the economic growth in the U.S., making every fluctuation in retail sales important. Manufacturers, suppliers, logistics companies and the industries that support them, benefit from strong retail profits. Now, retailers are turning to artificial intelligence to help protect profits, Forbes reports.
Retailers and their e-commerce counterparts can use AI to prune away actions and processes that don’t contribute to net sales or customer satisfaction. While an AI security guard may help some retailers with surveillance, a broader application of AI can help protect retail profits. In fact, the largest retailers have used AI for years to add efficiencies to their marketing, pricing, logistics, risk management, store management and fraud detection.
Using advanced analytics, AI can develop models that are then employed by a computer to analyze data from many sources. As the models are used, the outcomes are fed back into them, and that information is incorporated into future actions or decisions. In this way, the system learns and adapts without human intervention and can make simple decisions in real time.
In a store environment, AI might make any number of routine determinations based on data. It can cut through complexity to determine the proper process, such as accepting a consumer’s refund request or identifying stocking errors. At company headquarters, it can pinpoint under-performing stores and help determine the necessary steps improve profitability.
AI can replace repetitive, individual-driven analysis. Instead of having 10, 100 or 1,000 people performing the same analysis daily, AI can deliver answers immediately for each end user, which is more efficient and ensures consistency across the retail chain.
AI can also enhance the customer experience and drive sales. Online retailers use chatbots and product suggestions, while stores can enjoy real-time, targeted marketing messages.
Retailers generate tremendous amounts of data daily. When analyzed with AI, this information can predict trends and reduce losses quickly. Once a problem is known, the management team can make necessary changes to get back on track. With the help of AI, employees in stores and corporate headquarters can have better information faster and deliver more consistent outcomes.