Artificial Intelligence Brings All-New Element into Retail

Retailers who utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are becoming more prevalent and this movement is creating an all-new consumer shopping experience that will shape the industry.

According to PYMNTS.com, AI and ML are bridging the gap between online and in-store shopping. Merchants who employ this new data collection technology have started gathering and analyzing their consumers’ online activities, purchase histories, and other data points to customize the consumer experience across all channels. There are more than 1.1 billion product and service listings through which AI-based image recognition can help shoppers search for products they might want to buy.

First Adopters: Large Retailers

One of the world’s largest retailers, Walmart, is hoping to reduce checkout theft by using cameras powered by AI. Since deploying the cameras two years ago in 1,000 of their stores, they have seen positive results. Loss due to causes such as theft, scanning errors, waste, and fraud has declined in stores where the cameras have been utilized.

Other large retailers like Neiman Marcus, IKEA, H&M, and west elm have started to incorporate visual recognition technology and AI into their businesses as well. They are using mobile devices and AI to provide advanced services such as visual searches, hyper-personalization and seamless omnichannel functionality, both online and in-store to help enhance the consumer experience.

Data Bridges the Gap Between Online and In-store

Mystore-E, a virtual assistant, is trying to bring the same data found in online-based retail outlets to the physical stores. When consumers shop online, retailers can gather all kinds of data about them – purchase history, number of website visits, and what items they are looking at. But creating that same environment in-store is a challenge where consumers still want salespeople who are knowledgeable and helpful without invading their personal space while they shop in a store.

To bridge that gap between online and in-store shopping, Mystore-E created an AI tool called Tore-E that is specifically designed for retail environments. Retailers would place digital displays throughout a store and communicate directly with store workers who match them to the best products – and most likely to be purchased – for each shopper in the store. Mystore-E’s CEO, Asaf Shapira, says the tool is best used when it is working almost invisibly.

Shapira also stated that brick-and-mortar stores can be a black box for merchants who often find it hard to get information about a consumer other than the fact that they are currently in the store. But they are hoping that Tore-E can solve that problem.

Merchants and consumers can expect to see more artificial intelligence and machine learning-focused retail efforts in the future as the technology advances and retailers figure out how to use this data to their advantage.

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