Shopping! It excites almost everyone; however in real, experience of shopping may not be that much exciting. The markets appear flooded with huge crowds; no matter you go there during weekdays or weekends. Often time, to go market and shop feels like a struggle, even shopping of grocery items sometimes become the biggest mission of the day.
But there is an escape from going market and buying all things. The technology has blessed us with smartphones and apps. Yes, they together are making our life easier than even before. Now, we have apps to shop everything online; from your favorite burger to a costlier diamond ring.
All the purchased items are delivered to given address. We have to do nothing but open a shopping app, browse categories, search for products, add the selected items to cart, provide delivery-details, choose the payment mode, and it’s done.
Does that look easy? Does that inspire you to launch your own m-shopping app? Of course, it does. But many people have expressed their dissatisfaction with online shopping apps. They say because they cannot feel an item, see its actual color or texture, and touch it, they still avoid using apps and prefer doing offline shopping.
No doubt, m-commerce apps or shopping apps lack at providing customers with the senses of touching, feeling and trying a product before making purchases to it. You have limited ways to ask for a different design with your favorite color or for the same design in a different color and so on.
But the fusion of the technologies of artificial intelligence and app development can deliver a shopping app that may let customers virtually sense a product before purchasing it.
And this will happen surely. A report from Gartner says that 85% of customer-interaction in retail will be managed by artificial intelligence by 2020. Some retailers have already started to test and implement A.I. technologies at different operations in their businesses.
An Indian fashion website Myntra has brought in A.I. technology to its platform with which customers may finish up choosing a t-shirt designed completely by software, without any intervention from a human designer. Maybe customer would not also realize it but it is there to make shopping experience more rich and convenient.
Retailers like 1-800-Flowers.Com and Macy’s are also testing the cognitive computing capabilities to predict and serve the wishes of their customers more intensely. Watson—the A.I. system designed by IBM—can also play a leading role in the retail industry.
Staples, a chain retailer with office supplies, furniture, equipment and more, recently announced its plans to implement the IBM-designed A.I. computing technology Watson to bring to life its Easy Button, which can now take Staples-orders by voice, text, email, messaging or mobile app.
A.I. enabled shopping assistance can be the future of online shopping and retailing. When a new customer enters the market, he or she always look for omini-channel tools that can make their shopping easier. We will see that in future, the retailers will use the shopping bots not only to improve the shopping experience of their platform but also to efficiently run a variety of other pursues.
With the help of personal A.I. systems, various customer-processes like support and, checkout in online shopping can easily be automated, without any human intervention. Artificial intelligence based shopping platforms will not only aid shoppers in price hunting rather easily but also, they will have better and improved tracking capabilities like push notifications, behavioral analytics, and automation of various steps performed in online a shopping operations.
Apart from making apps intelligent for stores selling online, the technology of A.I. can also aid retailers wishing to smartly run their offline-stores. Take the example A.I. enabled in-store assistants for customers.
Many retailers are now experimenting a new set of apps powered by machine learning capabilities whose value goes far beyond than customer merely finding the prices or coupons. Here again, Watson’s cognitive computing powered, location-based software is spotted to help shoppers get information while they are navigating in store. It can understand natural-language queries just by the location of products, related departments or the services in a particular store, and then respond in relevant way.
A.I. technology can also help offline stores avoid losses caused by items go non-scans and other several incidents occurring at the sale-point. Non-scan, for example, rips apart the retailers by an annual lose of collective $45 billion.
The problem is noticed generally at the self check-out point of stores. Self-checkouts point are installed to reduce friction so that customers can easily exit from stores, without any need of standing in long queues for several minutes but soon, they became the Pandora box of losses.
But artificial intelligence can be implemented to address the issues created at self-checkout points. Everseen, a company based in Cork Ireland, is testing A.I. based computer vision system which analyzes the video feed from self checkout points to detect if there is any product left un-scanned.
Many companies are even planning to completely eliminate checkout-points. This means customers can enter a store, grab the items they need and simply exist, without thinking whom or where to pay for it. Although, the concept may still take years in becoming a practical thing, but many companies are making headways in this direction now. Amazon has already announced Go, a checkout free retail store still in experimental stage.
This is how artificial intelligence is making retailing easier. The future of m-commerce or online shopping seems to brighter and engaging because of A.I. technologies. Let’s hope for the best.