Emerging in Retail: Shopping with AI

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As we shop through the aisle of emerging artificial intelligence in technology, we can see how AI has begun a series in the retail industry, optimizing customer and employee experiences. 

To further elaborate, artificial intelligence entails the computer’s ability to utilize algorithms that analyze patterns in data to improve its capabilities through a notion known as machine learning. In the retail sector, the data points may include customer preferences, store inventory movement, or other customer interactions. Artificial intelligence can use these data inputs to produce various outputs, including providing customer service and predicting market trends.

Customer Ease

AI can enhance multiple parts of a customer’s shopping experience. For example, AI is being used to further automate transactions through sensors and computer vision, defined as the computer’s ability to perceive the visual world by imitating human neural networks. These sensors watch over the shelves in a store and can determine what a customer has taken to charge them accordingly. This technology allows shoppers to download an app for a certain store, pick up their items, and leave without needing to physically checkout. Nourish + Bloom, a market based in Georgia, has already established this operation, deeming itself the first autonomous grocery in the south of the United States.

AI can also be utilized to personalize shopper experiences by analyzing the purchasing history and other data provided by the customer to recommend products or brands. This can eventually lead to AI-analyzed customer shopping “profiles” that allow them to discover new products that adapt to their budget, lifestyle, and necessities.  

Employee Ease

On the backend of the shopping experience, AI can aid the corporations themselves as they handle billions of goods daily. AI demand forecasting can be implemented for inventory management. Demand forecasting utilizes data points from the marketplace, customer activities, and competitor logistics to predict shifts in demand. This can allow companies to adapt to changes in the market before they even occur, optimizing their marketing and business strategies.

In regards to inventory, AI can be used to automate further the process of stocking shelves by utilizing “smart” shelves that identify out-of-stock, low-stock, and misplaced goods and notify employees, allowing them to quickly initiate changes without having to go through the strenuous process of searching for deficiencies to correct themselves.

The Future

AI in the retail industry is a novel product, as many of the ideas explored in this article are in the “development” mode. As AI technology advances and becomes more mainstream, customers can expect their shopping experiences to improve as these ideas come to fruition on shelves and behind mouse clicks.

Works Cited

“Artificial Intelligence (AI): What It Is and Why It Matters.” SAS, www.sas.com/en_us/insights/analytics/what-is-artificial-intelligence.html#:~. Accessed 29 Jan. 2024.

By. “Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Retail.” Intel, www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/retail/solutions/ai-in-retail.html#:~:text=An%20Overview%20of%20AI%20in,profits%20through%20better%20inventory%20management. Accessed 05 Mar. 2024.

Hiter, Shelby. “AI in Retail: What You Need to Know.” eWEEK, 19 Sept. 2023, www.eweek.com/artificial-intelligence/ai-in-retail/. Accessed 29 Jan. 2024.

Marotta, Deb. “Artificial Intelligence: How AI Is Changing Retail.” Hitachi Solutions, 2 June 2023, global.hitachi-solutions.com/blog/ai-in-retail/. Accessed 05 Mar. 2024.