With the advent of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), how companies conduct business has changed considerably. Such changes have been fueled even further by the conditions of the pandemic lockdowns.
Technology has significantly improved system efficiencies and made running a business more cost and time-effective. Advancements in technology have enabled business owners to analyze market opportunities better, automate labor-intensive and time-consuming tasks, and thus improve sales.
How Is AI Technology Affecting the Retail Sector?
The retail industry is one of the most significantly influenced sectors when it comes to AI. Some of AI’s best applications are utilized in the retail sector, and more businesses are leaving traditional business processes behind to switch to AI technologies. Here are some of the most common examples:
By integrating chatbot technology into mobile applications and websites, businesses are making it easier than ever for their customers to access the correct information fast.
Chatbots are artificially intelligent programs that use auditory or textural methods to communicate with consumers via the internet. They can offer a 24-hour, instant response service that is highly effective at covering a wide range of simple inquiries.
US technology firm Gartner predicts that by 2025, 95 percent of all customer interactions will be powered by AI and chatbots. Meanwhile, Juniper Research predicts that by 2022 chatbots are expected to cut global business running costs by $8 billion.
Virtual assistants have been making life at home more accessible by automating daily household chores. Due to its popularity, this technology is becoming more and more important for the retail sector.
According to Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC), over 72 percent of business owners report that digital assistants have improved business management. More than 50 percent of internet shoppers are expected to switch to primarily using voice-based searches when looking for their desired goods. Thus, it is more important than ever for businesses to integrate these technologies into their digital assets, such as mobile applications and retail website platforms.
How Is Technology Improving the Shopping Experience?
Digital Coupon Codes
A retail-related service that has been revolutionized by technology is that of digital couponing. Physical vouchers and coupons with online codes once ruled the online shopping space, but new technologies have taken over couponing in a big way.
According to Statista, a staggering 92 percent of online consumers searched for relevant coupon discounts before finalizing their purchases in 2020, and redeeming digital coupons is predicted to rise beyond $90 billion by next year (2022).
Armed with essential AI-driven consumer behavior information, digital couponing can be used more strategically than ever, using such information to optimize coupon marketing campaigns and target specific customer preferences. Their flexibility adds to their power, with digital coupon codes being easily shared via social media, email marketing campaigns, store websites, submitting coupons to marketplaces, apps, and more.
Similarly, when companies utilize AI technologies to monitor customer shopping behaviors, it enables them to map the preferences of individuals and use AI to make recommendations that suit their particular interests. This makes it easier for shoppers to find the items they most want and therefore prevents buyer burnout, leading to more shopping and more sales for the business.
Virtual Fitting Rooms
AI, 3D-reconstruction, and computer vision-based technologies have made it much easier for consumers to find the best-suited outfits for their size and body type, all from the comfort of their own homes. This is a trend that has exploded since the pandemic conditions forced consumers to shop from home.
AI-enabled clothing, virtual fittings, and even AI stylists are revolutionizing the way consumers shop for fashion and have set the trend in motion that will only continue to gather pace.
There’s no denying that the pandemic has left many still reeling from the economic and emotional toll that it caused. Consequently, businesses in the retail sector must capitalize on these technologies to stay in the game.
According to Yelp, over 163,000 businesses closed their doors during Covid-19, 60 percent of them permanently. For those that managed to stay afloat and adapt quickly, these technologies allowed them to remain relevant and connected, plugging into the eCommerce boom that resulted from the lockdowns.
There is no time like the present when investing in these and other leading technological retail trends. Despite the colossal impacts of the pandemic, it is still possible to survive and thrive in the retail sector.
Utilizing leading technological trends, developing reliable partnerships, and cultivating a strong company culture can be all it takes to ensure economic success, growth, and profit in what will hopefully soon become a thriving post-pandemic world.