Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to a technology that uses complex computational procedures to automate businesses and replace humans in customer-facing jobs. Through AI, computers can not only execute pre-programmed tasks but also self-learn and evolve on the go.

The most common examples of AI are Siri, Google Assistant, Bixby and Cortana of Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft, respectively. These tech giants were among the first companies to have introduced and implemented AI in their products, much to the delight and amusement of the consumers.

AI in retail

People are no longer thrown off by AI, instead are even expecting the use of AI in verticals like retail. Being a part of almost everyone’s daily lives, retail worldwide incorporates AI in a huge way.

In fact, due to this boost in influx, the artificial intelligence market is expected to go over $16 billion by 2022. Further, research firm Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions in retail will be completely taken over by AI.

The business side of it

AI can monitor supply chains and keep a track of stock in inventories. For example, IBM Watson’s ‘Commerce Insights’ app helps businesses manage and control merchandise availability and keeps a record of consumer demand variables.

This helps companies ensure that goods are not out of stock and a higher return on investments.

AI also helps in data mining. Tapping into your customer demographics is essential at all touch points in a supply chain, be it advertising, marketing or product development and customization.

Now, traditionally computers were programmed to extract data for humans to analyze and draw inferences from. But with AI’s deep learning algorithms, computers can hunt for data and draw conclusions on that data on its own. As the machine learning system keeps getting exposed to more data, it keeps moulding its knowledge and responses to the same.

The consumer side of it

On the other side, AI-powered devices like Amazon Echo can help customers shop via voice commands. Users can talk to Echo’s virtual personal assistant, called Alexa, and make a voice purchase request to it even without opening a web page.

This leads Alexa to skim through the person’s Amazon order history and Prime product options to list out all available items and corresponding estimated delivery information.

And if on a website, chatbots can assist digital shoppers in browsing and picking out products, much like a personal assistant. According to a research conducted by FurstPerson’s, 79% of people prefer real-time chats over other customer service channels.

Similarly, AI devices can also be set up in physical stores to make shopping experiences more seamless. Echo Dot, a small, hands-free, voice-controlled device can be connected to a retail store’s Wi-Fi enabling shoppers to simply direct their queries about products and prices to Alexa through a voice command. Echo Dot can also be connected to an external speaker for enhanced usage.

With technological advancements taking over manual tasks at the speed of lightning, it shouldn’t come as a surprise how AI, with its artificial brains, can customize actions based on the constant inflow of data points.

AI’s predictive models make a whole lot of difference in how end-users perceive a company and their overall experience with it. It streamlines experiences, the results of which are finally getting sure shot visibility in the retail space.

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