AI moves retail forward

Retailers are embracing AI in a big way.

By Max Burkhalter
July 31, 2017

The retail industry continues to evolve at breakneck pace, as sellers adjust to mercurial marketplace trends and technological shifts. The emergence of real-world-ready artificial intelligence technology has proven particularly consequential, yielding a host of new retail innovations.

An intelligent shopping experience
For many, the idea of integrating AI technology into the shopping experience may seem like an outlandish idea. However, many organizations are doing just that. Amazon is the most notable seller currently deploying AI on a large scale, VentureBeat reported. The e-commerce brand has infused this advanced software into its operations via its Echo device, which leverages deep learning and voice control to assist customers as they develop shopping lists and purchase items, all without accessing a single device.

The Echo has evolved from a novelty into a must-have home fixture, enriching and streamlining the shopping experience for millions. In fact, more than 8 million U.S. shoppers own these devices, according to data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners published in Geek Wire. This success has shown retailers that AI can have a meaningful impact on sales and drive customer engagement. The latter variable is very important to modern sellers as they attempt to attract technology-savvy consumers with nearly endless content options. An estimated 87 percent are planning to leverage AI to fine-tune the shopping experience and hopefully draw more eyes and itchy clicking fingers, according to research from Branding Garage and Linc.

"An estimated 87 percent of retailers are planning to leverage AI to bolster customer engagement."

Of course, this intelligence-infused approach also has the potential to transform brick-and-motor setups. Amazon is testing an AI-focused point-of-sale system at its only physical location in Seattle, Wired reported. Here, there are no lines or checkout locations. Instead, customers shop via the Amazon smartphone application, scanning radio frequency identification tags and paying for purchases through their Amazon accounts. As these transactions take place, an AI-powered tracking system leverages sensors to analyze crowds and spot possible logistical issues such as blocked RFID tags.

AI on the back end
In addition to deploying AI technology in online marketplaces and stores, retailers are integrating it into back-end sales operations, according to Harvard Business Review. For example, Harley-Davidson USA leverages AI software channeled through a marketing platform to generate sales leads. How? The intelligent system analyzes customer engagement trends to offer precision marketing advice. This has allowed the motorcycle company to produce more effective content, build stronger connections and increase lead generation by almost 3,000 percent.

These AI technologies are moving the retail space forward, benefiting both businesses and consumers. As this progression continues, Perle will be there to provide sellers with the connective infrastructure needed to embrace AI. Major retailers such as Adidas, Target and Tesco already employ our cutting-edge serial card and terminal server technology. Connect with us today to learn more about our work in the retail arena.

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