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The Evolution of Job Roles in Retail - how AI is changing, not replacing, how we work

Bonnie Milam Jul 11, 2023 11:59:04 AM

A recent study showed that cashiers are the fastest-shrinking jobs in the USA. Between 2021 and 2031, the number of cashiers are expected to fall by 10%. While this might sound alarming, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. While cashier positions may be shrinking, job satisfaction remains one of the lowest-ranking professions in the world. The advent of technology in retail, including AI-powered checkout-free stores, is highlighting the need for a transformative shift in the way we approach retail employment. By embracing AI and integrating it into the retail workforce, we can create a more enjoyable and fruitful career path for employees.

Transforming Retail Roles:

As technology advances at a rapid pace, concerns about AI taking away retail jobs have become increasingly prevalent. But why are we worried about trying to salvage positions nobody wants in the first place? Instead, it’s time to recognize the potential benefits and opportunities that AI can bring to the retail industry and its employees.

AI has the potential to revolutionize the retail experience, particularly in the checkout process. With the advent of checkout-free systems like Zippin's, employees are freed from mundane cashier tasks. Instead of repetitively processing transactions, employees can focus on providing personalized assistance, recommending products, and delivering exceptional customer service. Such human-centric roles have the potential to significantly enhance customer satisfaction, leading to increased loyalty and business growth. 

Enhancing Job Satisfaction:

The introduction of AI technology in retail doesn't equate to replacing human workers but rather to augment their capabilities. By relieving employees of monotonous tasks, AI enables them to pursue more fulfilling work that improves the customer experience. AI also helps retailers address ongoing labor shortages that can lead to long lines that negatively impact shopper satisfaction. A recent study showed 71% of consumers find long lines the most frustrating part of the shopping experience. The same study showed 50% of shoppers stopped shopping at a particular store because employees were unhelpful. It's hard to be a helpful employee when you're understaffed and can't leave your register.  Empowered by AI, employees can develop new skills that better serve customers, which also can lead to new opportunities and increased retention.

Creating New Opportunities:

The integration of AI in retail can also create new job functions that capitalize on its implementation and execution. As technology continues to evolve, specialized roles will emerge, providing a range of career prospects for people looking to combine their passion for technology with the retail industry. This symbiotic relationship between humans and AI can foster innovation that continues to drive the industry forward.

Rather than fearing the rise of AI in retail, we should embrace it as a catalyst for positive change. By leveraging AI's capabilities to automate checkout processes, we can liberate retail employees from mundane tasks and empower them to focus on creating exceptional customer experiences. It can also help increase accuracy, reduce operating costs, and allow stores to serve shoppers for longer hours without additional staffing. The integration of AI allows for the evolution of job roles, providing more fulfilling and rewarding career paths. Let us seize this opportunity to shape the future of retail, where humans and AI work hand in hand to deliver outstanding service, drive business growth, and foster a thriving retail industry. Now's the perfect time to go checkout-free. 

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