AI provides futuristic shopping experience
We’re in a day and age where shopping is easier than it has ever been. Online or in-store, artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the way people shop and ushering in the future of shopping.
Improved Customer Interactions
Those days of spending hours on the phone with customer service will soon be a thing of the past. A lot of the grunt work in customer service is now being turned over to AI. Retailers are taking advantage of chatbots and virtual assistants to mimic human interaction. However, since these bots are customized to deliver great customer service, brands are seeing improved customer relations.1
Chatbots offer buyers the following abilities:
- Notify shoppers about new items
- Help customers find items
- Seamless order processing experience
- Efficient customer service
- In-store shopping assistance
Adidas is one brand taking advantage of these chatbots. Shoppers interact with an AI enabled chatbot via Adidas’ site. The bot gathers the user’s information and attempts to resolve their problem before sending them to a live agent.
AI technology has the unique ability to gain an understanding of every customer interacting with it. Retailers are using this to discover consumers’ shopping behaviors and provide helpful recommendations to individual shoppers. Research shows that shoppers are 44% more likely to buy an item after using AI personalization technology.2
Sephora is testing the water with a digital mirror at their flagship store in Madrid. This mirror uses AI to identify various information about the shopper such as age, gender, and appearance. From there, the digital mirror will then provide a list of makeup and skincare options that best fit that individual.
In addition to Sephora, a new beauty startup in Dubai is also utilizing AI to takeover the skincare industry. Lululab’s based skincare assistant, Lumini, is recommending products by inspecting a customers selfie.5
Meanwhile, Levi’s is taking advantage of AI chatbots to take the frustration out of finding the perfect pair of jeans. As a result, shoppers are now able to get personalized recommendations without the hassle of trying on numerous pairs of jeans. Now shoppers just have to discuss lifestyle and jean preferences for the bot to recommend the perfect pair of jeans.2
Visual Search Engines
According to Martech Advisors, as of 2019, the visual search market is worth $80 billion in the United States alone. With visual search on the rise, it’s no surprise that this technology has made its way to retailers.
AI has made shopping as simple as snapping a picture. Imagine you’re walking down the street and you suddenly see some super cute shoes. AI allows shoppers to take a picture of their dream item and find similar products. By implementing this technology, retailers are saying goodbye to the traditional shopping woes. Consumers no longer need to visit 5 stores before finally finding what they were looking for.3
Behind the Scenes
Artificial intelligence is making life easier for shoppers, but it is also proving to be a powerful retail tool behind the scenes. AI is offering many benefits to the retail behind the scenes.
Retailers are using AI for:
- Supply chain planning
- Customer intelligence
- Demand forecasting
- Store operations
- Pricing and promotions
Improved Supply Chain
As mentioned above, one way retailers are applying AI is through the supply chain process. One part of the supply chain that has in turned been greatly improved is inventory.
Retailers are using AI to manage their inventory so that they have enough product in stock; but, also not too much to where it would drain the stores cash reserve. In addition to this, an increasing number of stores are using AI algorithms to determine what size clothing is most demanded by shoppers.4
For example, Walmart is one big box store beginning to take advantage of AI to improve upon their store operations. They just installed an Intelligent Retail Lab in one of their Long Island branches.
This lab has thousands of cameras hanging from the ceiling that will utilize other technology to better help monitor the store in real time. Walmart hopes that by using AI they can determine when shelves need to restocked among other things.7
What’s in Store for the Future of Shopping
Technology is constantly changing and as it changes retailers are quick to find ways to adopt these technological features. A few retailers have expressed hope that AI advancements will eventually allow for the technology to predict future trends. Some companies are already using this technology to detect popular fashion colors and patterns on various social media platforms.6
1 IDG Communications | 2 Forbes | 3 Adobe Blog | 4 Vogue Business |5 Tech Republic | 6 WTVOX | 7 Chicago Tribune | 8 Martech Series