5 Ways Intelligent Automation is Transforming the Retail Industry
November 23 2021
Digital transformation and an accelerating shift to online shopping are reshaping the face of the retail industry. Retail businesses that want to succeed in this crowded, fast-evolving space must reinvent themselves quickly to keep ahead of the competition and drive sustainable growth. Intelligent automation that can enhance every phase of the retail journey is fundamental to this strategy.
Some businesses are getting prepared as online shopping events such as Black Friday and Singles Day continue to hit record sales figures. The retail industry is expected to more than triple spending on artificial intelligence (AI) between 2018 and 2022 to $7.3 billion per year. Here are five ways retail automation is reshaping the future of trade, redefining the shopping experience and creating high value, innovative businesses.
Consumer packaged goods giant P&G, across its global operations, has automated workflows to improve efficiency and end-to-end planning. At the second-largest discount store retailer in the US, Target, an automated fulfilment system, that allocates more goods to each shopper, enables staff to pick stocks, for instance, for several stores simultaneously from their workstations, lending to more organized and hassle-free customer transactions.
Analyzing customer data
AI software can analyze intelligent data points, such as past purchase behaviors, demographic characteristics, and price-point or style preferences, to accurately predict the goods and services most likely to appeal to specific customers. Accurately segmenting customers based on these and other vital characteristics allows retailers to identify and target new product trends that align most closely with the tastes of customer segments, be it geography, age group or digital or in-store behaviors.
Enhancing the shopping experience
While more popular in China and Southeast Asia, live stream shopping events in the US are expected to generate $25 billion by 2023, as Amazon and Facebook test live sales platforms. Levi’s and Tommy Hilfiger are live streaming shopping events similar to QVC. Through virtual and augmented reality enhanced by intelligent automation, viewers can chat with hosts and stylists, then click on items for purchase.
Retailers use augmented or virtual reality robotics to immerse consumers in a virtual environment for a more engaging and enticing experience. For example, IKEA's application allows customers to travel through their catalogues in augmented reality, virtually installing furniture in 3D-modelled rooms. Virtual fitting rooms create customer graphic representations from their photos and morphological features — some also provide customized recommendations.
Eliminating repetitive tasks
By reducing labor-intensive effort on repetitive tasks, retail staff are freed up to engage and relate better with customers. Laiye customer Nike uses an intelligent automation platform to manage its regular interactions with its network of stock-keepers, an intermediary between brands and customers. Nike dedicated up to 50% less than usual staffing to completing orders, freeing workers to deliver better customer service for their resellers. From data collection and order processing to store planning and customer self-service, at Laiye, we've developed intelligent automation, which can streamline the shopping experience for both customers and retail and e-commerce players and enable the brand to accelerate its growth. By adopting intelligent automation to your operations, you'll create a smoother customer experience and unlock the true potential of your retail business.