The key internal capabilities needed to ensure a successful digital shopping experience are personalization, automation and the unique identification of the customer across shopping channels. In this report, we discuss how AI and IoT are impacting the retail industry. Retailers that aim to remain competitive cannot afford to ignore the potential benefits of these technologies. AI, a technology that enables computers to make autonomous decisions, is a step forward in automation that is changing the retail industry. Retailers are using AI to analyze customer data, adapt how they interact with shoppers and predict demand in order to better manage inventory. Because consumers are bombarded with an unprecedented amount of information, being able to deliver highly personalized content for each individual customer is crucial to staying ahead of the competition. Meanwhile, the use of AI to anticipate demand and estimate when items will be returned should translate into more efficient business operations. Digitalization is the key that will unlock the future of brick-and-mortar retail, and the IoT is a crucial part of it.
Artificial Intelligence is once again changing the way we shop. After disrupting the world of digital commerce, AI has seeped into the grassroots of consumerism and overhauled its next target -- retail stores. A study from Juniper Research predicts the adoption of AI in the retail industry will amount to a staggering figure of US$ 7.3 billion per year by 2022. In retail operations alone, AI has the potential to drive savings of about US$ 340 billion. Such striking figures paint a compelling picture of the prowess of AI in the retail backdrop.
Augmented/Virtual Reality Tools – Startups that leverage augmented or virtual reality to aid retailers in layout of stores and the design of promotional displays. InContext Solutions, which has worked with clients like Walmart, Nestle, and Kellogg's, lets brands visualize marketing concepts and test new designs on shoppers in virtual reality to gauge their efficacy before launch. Augment aims to help brands, such as General Mills, L'Oreal, and Coca-Cola, pitch their vending machines, kiosks, or merchandise displays to retailers by showing how they would look in augmented/virtual reality. Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing – Companies that provide hardware and software to help stores track visitors. Many focus on data collection for internal analytics, such as merchandise tracking, adjusting staffing levels, monitoring promotions, etc. Euclid Analytics, for example, tracks visitors to monitor the impact of promotions on driving store visits and to better understand when people visit stores and specific aisles.
Aside from announcing the insanely expensive iPhone X last month, one piece of Apple news went somewhat unnoticed: the renaming of Apple stores to Apple " Town Squares." It's easy to cringe at the proposed avenues and shaded groves imagined by Apple execs, but the vision is nothing short of genius. Because it's not e-commerce that will replace retail, but experience. Retail as we know it is dead. Shopping is no longer a battle of price and convenience, it's a race to create something customers can touch and feel.
With a record 7,000 store closings and 662 bankruptcy filings last year, and 3,800 closings (and counting) so far in 2018, the fate of retail continues to look uncertain. Take a look at Amazon to see how ecommerce has changed the retail landscape as we know it, leaving no industry undisrupted. With just a click of a mouse, customers can purchase whatever they want, whenever they want it -- and have it shipped directly to their door. Related: Here Are 6 Weird Ways You're Being Tracked in the Real World While ecommerce offers unprecedented convenience, this is not the end of the road for brick-and-mortar. Customers still value in-store experiences.