Advertise with fastmoving.co.za
 
 

It's not AI creating sentient robots that will be changing our lives in 2018, but instead, it will be how AI is applied within sectors like retail or financial services.
It's not AI creating sentient robots that will be changing our lives in 2018, but instead, it will be how AI is applied within sectors like retail or financial services.

AI and the retail revolution

RETAILER NEWS

By Dusty Lutz - Apr 23rd 2018, 14:21

2018 has been widely touted as the year that practical applications of artificial intelligence reach maturity and begin to impact our day-to-day lives. However, it's not AI creating sentient robots that will be changing our lives in 2018, but instead, it will be how AI is applied within sectors like retail or financial services. 

Today, AI-powered retail technologies provide a variety of benefits to retailers and consumers alike. It can improve customer service and experience; help protect customers from fraud and thieves; and enhance productivity.

In the future, new applications of AI-powered technologies could see retailers delivering goods via drone, targeting consumers with items based on their mood, or transforming the way we pay for items.

Improving the in-store customer experience

The online uses and benefits of AI have been well documented and utilised, but now in-store retail is starting to unlock the possibilities of AI. The maturity of smartphone technology is helping to drive this, with real-time data being harnessed to make targeted suggestions based on an individual’s location, personal preferences, and past behaviour. However, the use of AI enabled self-service checkouts is one area where AI is really starting to impact a consumer’s daily life.

Better service, faster checkouts, and anti-fraud

Self-checkouts have been transforming the shopping experience for over two decades, reducing queue times, and helping retailers use floor space more effectively due to the smaller space required for their operation. However, self-checkout manufacturers are now working to take advantage of the latest technology innovations to improve the experience for all customers and retailers.

Using AI enabled visual recognition technology, self-checkouts can now be equipped with smart recognition technology that enables the checkout to “see” the item, recognise it, and promptly provide the customer with the item for selection on the screen. Furthermore, the system then checks again to ensure that the item selected by the customer is still the same item that goes into the bagging area – helping to protect retailers from item-swap theft. The technology can protect retailers from other theft types too, such as detecting when a customer feigns scanning an item or leaves an item in their shopping basket. To reduce friction even more, instead of halting the transaction entirely when errors or potential theft occurs, the system alerts the supervising shop assistant to check on the transaction, rather than making the customer wait for them to authorise the continuation of the self-scan process.

The recognition systems are powered by vast datasets that enable the checkouts to analyse an item by sight alone. This evolution of self-checkout technology is just one of the ways that AI is changing and enhancing the in-store retail experience today.

Artificial Intelligence and the Retail Revolution

The developments and deployments of AI enabled retail, be it online or instore, have come about in a relatively short period time. The growth in mobile shopping is already showing how traditional self-checkouts can be complemented with an in-aisle digital engagement experience via a smartphone app (or handset that is picked up when entering the store). Plus, we are seeing more and more online retailers deploying smart chat assistants to help customers with their online experience no matter the time of day or night. It may not be sentient robots, but the AI enabled retail technology space is certainly at an exciting and practical point in its development.
 

Read more about: technology | smartphones | retail | digital | ai

Related News

Builders Warehouse Strubens Valley gets an uber-makeover
22/08/2019 - 13:16
Builders Strubens Valley is the latest store in the Builders group to get a grand revamp as South Africa’s leading DIY and buildings material retailer strives to meet the demands of customers who want a seamless, slick integrated shopping experience.

Shoprite's debt shocker
22/08/2019 - 08:57
Debt-leery investors, spooked by one local corporate car crash after another, have found another share to dump: mighty Shoprite.

Steinhoff and Pepkor blocked from selling Tekkie Town shares
21/08/2019 - 08:44
The Western Cape High Court has prevented Steinhoff and its subsidiary, Pepkor Holdings, from selling or dealing in the shares of shoe retailer Tekkie Town, in a ruling handed down on Tuesday.

Walmart Q2 revenue grows 1.8% year on year
20/08/2019 - 14:13
Total revenue of Walmart for its second quarter (Q2) of Financial Year 2020 (FY20) ending July 31 hit $130.4 billion, up 1.8 percent year on year, while the net sales of Walmart International decreased 1.1 percent year on year to $29.1 billion, the company reported.

Shoprite earnings take knock on non-SA operations
20/08/2019 - 10:39
Shoprite’s shares fell to their worst level in more than three years after Africa’s largest food retailer reported a 20% drop in earnings and said it saw no immediate prospects of its troublesome non-SA operations returning to profitability.