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.
While the age of the internet began in the last millennium, the ecommerce boom is just reaching its peak. Online retail behemoths like Amazon are easing the shopping process by making products just one click away. Today's shopping experience can take place anywhere, anytime, even while waiting for coffee or picking up the kids from soccer practice. The time for retailers to adapt is now. In 2017, 7,000 retail businesses had to cease operations, and 3,800 retail stores have already announced plans to shut their doors in 2018.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is noticeably making a difference in how we live and work. Search engines predict words and translate text, social media connects people, smart appliances respond to ambient conditions, and public transportation is becoming autonomous. Similarly, the retail industry is set to unleash fascinating possibilities by embracing AI.
Artificial intelligence and automation has everyone scared for their jobs these days -- especially in retail. It's being used to predict demand, reduce inventory and automate decision making. Walmart is deploying robots to analyze shelving inventory and look for missing labels or prices. Kroger is implementing smart shelves that automatically update pricing. Amazon recently launched cashierless checkout with Amazon Go and is planning on opening more stores this year.
The National Retail Federation's 2020 Big Show in New York was jam packed full of robots, frictionless store mock-ups, and audacious displays of the latest technology now available to retailers. Dozens of robots, digital signage tools, and more were available for retail representatives to test out, with hundreds of the biggest tech companies in attendance offering a bounty of eye-popping gadgets designed to increase efficiency and bring the wow factor back to brick-and-mortar stores. SEE: Artificial intelligence: A business leader's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic) Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the annual retail event. With the explosion in popularity of Amazon, Alibaba, and other e-commerce sites ready to deliver goods right to your door within days, many analysts and retailers figured the brick-and-mortar stores of the past were on their last legs. But it turns out billions of customers still want the personal, tailored touch of in-store experiences and are not ready to completely abandon physical retail outlets.