Beyond Cashierless: How AI is Changing the Retail Experience

By Motilal Agrawal - March 10, 2021

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the physical retail environment and bringing new possibilities to the in-store customer experience. In the e-commerce realm, we are all familiar with the impact of AI - recommendation engines and customer service chatbots for example. AI is now starting to change the in store retail landscape as well.  

AI is at the core of Zippin’s checkout-free technology. In addition, we can enable several other AI powered applications on top of this core platform that helps the bottom line as well as the top line. 

AI for Inventory Management 

Platforms, like Zippin’s checkout-free technology, are not just about providing a cashierless, frictionless shopping experience. They also provide retailers with better visibility, insights, and capabilities for inventory management. AI for physical retail makes it easier to keep track of which products are in stock and out of stock, which shelves need to be replenished, and how to anticipate customer demand.

Cashierless technology helps stores operate more efficiently by making it easier to restock shelves during less-busy times. For example, with Zippin’s checkout-free platform, our AI technology creates a digital twin, or complete virtual replica, of your store: tracking customer activity, and gaining product-level insights with smart shelf technology. AI helps collect and analyze more data, more quickly to gain real-time insights about your store inventory.   

AI for Advanced Store Analytics 

Retail technology not only improves the customer experience with cashierless shopping, it also helps retailers get better insights from store data. Zippin’s cashierless platform gives retailers a broader, more detailed view of what’s happening in the store. Our platform includes overhead cameras and smart shelves - edge computing devices on every store shelf. AI helps keep track of aggregate data and insights, such as how many customers are in the store, which products are being picked off of the shelves, and even more detailed customer-level insights like which products are customers hesitating to buy, or which endcap products are selling fastest.

The ultimate goal: give retailers e-commerce-style insights for what’s happening in the store environment. AI for retail helps stores get smarter with better analytics. 

AI for Product Discovery 

There are several ways that AI for physical retail makes it easier for customers to find products in stores, helping customers navigate to the right shelf at the right time. Several major retailers are using app-based speech recognition tools to do voice search in stores. 

Other stores offer visual search technology, where shoppers can show a picture of an item to an in-store device, and then get directions to where that item is located on the shelves. AI technology can also be used for in-store navigation, such as robot assistants that guide shoppers to the right aisle and shelf.  

AI for Customer Engagement and Personalization 

We’ve all seen the proliferation of recommendation engines and personalized offers in online shopping, where e-commerce companies are getting more accurate at presenting customers with the right product or offer that is relevant to them. There are opportunities to bring a higher level of personalization to the physical retail environment, such as by creating personalized offers to grocery store customers via mobile app, and using dynamic pricing to optimize special deals and discounts based on time of day, product category, and more. 

Cashierless platforms use the power of AI to help improve the customer engagement and personalization of the retail environment by collecting better data and generating better insights. Better-quality data helps retailers understand which products are in-demand, which deals get the best results, and how to further deepen their relationships with customers. 

These are just a few of the ways that AI for physical retail is helping create a more personalized shopping experience that helps align customers’ needs with retailers’ offerings. 

AI for retail isn’t just for online shopping, it’s transforming the physical retail environment too. If you’d like to learn more about these topics and the latest trends in AI retail technology, then watch the replay of my webinar: “Top Trends in Artificial Intelligence for Physical Retail.” View here.

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