It’s the “Automation First” era. Industries and enterprises are endeavoring to adopt automation in every aspect of their business. The retail sector in particular is looking to enhance customer experiences by leveraging Intelligent Automation. This new-age automation solution bundles up various digital technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computer Vision, Neural Network and other cognitive capabilities to increase operational agility and offer superior customer experiences for enterprises.
Today, 40% of retail and consumer product companies use Intelligent Automation. And believe it or not, this figure will double by 2021 (according to a new global study released by NRF recently). Here are different technologies that retail companies are using to stand out from their competition and get one step closer to the customer:
1) Computer vision is now a third eye of the customer:
These days, retail stores are using computer vision – a new technology to determine customer behavior. This technology recognizes the face of the customers and sends their purchase history in the form of reports to the store rep who can determine the preferred product of each customer and guide them accordingly.
2) Easier checks and balances with RPA and Advanced OCR:
Accounts payable and receivable is a critical function in retail, where every transaction requires an invoice. Capturing relevant customer information from a huge pile of invoices, feeding that data into the system and reconciling it can be a nightmare for enterprises. Enter intelligent automation and you could reduce this task three-fold with advanced OCR equipped with the cognitive ability of extracting the required information from a structured or unstructured billing statement. Next, the RPA bot takes this info through the workflow in a series of steps to reconcile and sends out the accounting report. The bottom line – it reduces time, cost and manpower.
3) Bots capture human emotion:
Feedback, reviews and experience from end-users are critical for modern retailers. Now just imagine if the whole process was automated. The bots would automatically visit all possible websites, extract the information, analyze the customer sentiments and prepare a report. This would enable senior management to examine customer patterns and make informed strategic decisions.
4) No image crisis thanks to RPA & AI:
Return of damaged products and claims for return are both inevitable in the retail industry. That’s where AI can play a major role by validating the image of the damaged product for the first level of scrutiny. If it meets the damage criteria, the RPA bot can take up the task of processing the transaction for refund or replacement. The best part, no human intervention is needed until the image is beyond the reach of AI analysis.
5) Chatbot is your new customer care:
These days all a customer needs to purchase a certain product from an eCommerce website is to enter the preferred product in the “chat” option. The chatbot then fetches the details or classification of the product and displays the price from various other websites along with customer reviews and scores. This cuts down the time and the decision-making process for the customer in a matter of few minutes as opposed to searching for it on various online and physical retail stores to get the best deal.
The retail future looks automated
Intelligent automation using AI and RPA tools will drive these new business model. It will also usher in an era of new technologies and increase efficiencies across the retail lifecycle. This will finally deliver a highly personal and enhanced experience for the end customer.
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