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Increasing retail revenue using Artificial Intelligence

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A large number of retailers have opened to the use of Artificial Intelligence in the recent past to gain access to more accurate demographic data that helps them understand shoppers which in turn allows for more tailored choices from the retailer to the consumer…

In last few years, artificial intelligence technology has made many advancements across the retail industry, despite it being expensive and inspite of challenges like inaccessibility and proprietary systems.

Currently, a majority of retailers use AI for accurate demographic data that helps them understand shoppers which in turn allows for more tailored choices from the retailer to the consumer.

One company which is bringing AI out of the realm of sci-fi and into everyday lives is VeriHelp. VeriHelp is an advanced computing technology headquartered in Seattle, with patent-pending technologies and apps ranging from financial inclusion in emerging economies to retail acceleration.

The company has recently developed a revolutionary retail analytics kiosk, which uses artificial intelligence to instantly recognize customers who have previously shopped in the store.

It gives predictive recommendations like personalized product bundles – all with a high probability of sales conversion.

At the India Omnichannel Forum 2017 – held on September 19th and 20th in Mumbai, concurrently with the India Retail Forum – retail leaders met to debate ‘Increasing Retail Revenue Using Artificial Intelligence’. Industry honchos at this roundtable, powered by VeriHelp, talked about the penetration of AI into the Indian retail scenario.

The panel included Chetan Chaturvedi, Head – IT, Reliance Market (RIL); Kapil Kohli, Vice President – Retail Business, Usha International; Kiran Komatla, VP – IT, Burger King; Pooraan Jaiswal, CTO, Globus Stores; Ranjit Satyanath, CIO, Infiniti Retail (Croma); Shreyassh Trivedi, General Manager – Retail Operations, Raymond; Dr. Raaghav Kashyap, CTO, VeriHelp (globally renowned computer scientist on applied AI – Google, IBM Research, and Bell Labs); and Vishal Malik, Business Head- Retail, Intex Technologies. The roundtable was moderated by Bhushan Kolleri, CEO, VeriHelp.

Kolleri kickstarted the session by asking the panelists what Artificial Intelligence meant, in their perspective.

Pooraan Jaiswal responded to this saying: “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is something which people are banking on more and more. Currently, it is all about data. Retailers are becoming very savvy when it comes to using AI to collect data to create a more complete view of each customer. Once companies have this information, then it becomes easy to deliver a more personalised experience and faster, smoother delivery to customers. In short, from where I’m sitting, AI is going to be the game changer in retail in the very near future.”

Shreyassh Trivedi added, “In simple terms, AI is intelligence which is artificially-led and has no human interface to it. If retailers actively pursue this, then they take care of millions of case studies and references, which are extremely accurate once the data analysis is done. AI is something which is taking us to the next level of retail.”

According to Kiran Komatla, “Selling is an art and one way to excel at it is to recognise our customers and understand their needs and requirements. The conditions in which a customer is coming to buy products – along with our recommendations – is very important. We as retailers must understand that the human brain cannot comprehend the huge amount of data that is being generated to study consumer behavior. Thus, we have started using technology that can read customer patterns, can help us analyse all the data collected, to drive further sales. Artificial Intelligence is one layer above simple data collection.”

AI can help marketers optimize their communications as it continually learns from user behavior.

The technology is designed to integrate a wide range of customer data derived from multiple digital and physical channels, which is then analysed and used to predict customer behavior, and engage with customers.

Kapil Kohli entered the discussion at this point stating that Artificial Intelligence is very easy to understand- in simple terms it is market research and market reality which are integrated together. “Till the retailers are just selling the product, they are just looking at the art of selling. When AI is brought into the picture, the computerised intelligence gives a clearer look at the science behind selling.”

RIL’s Chetan Chaturvedi explained his point of view saying: “If we can have a computing environment and an eco-system in which we can have learning and reasoning ability, then it is true Artificial Intelligence.”

Recognizing that the change is inevitable but when the change is so fast it is difficult for the human brain to register it, Vishal Malik said, “It is a challenge for the human brain to recognize this rapidly evolving customer and his demands. This is where AI comes into the picture – a must for all growing businesses.”

Savvy, winning retailers are rapidly understanding that AI technology is here to stay, rather than something in a sci-fi flick.

Bhushan Kolleri summed up the roundtable discussion with his interpretation of AI saying, “AI works in two parts: one is the logical analysis of a particular subject and the second is its reasoning ability. Essentially, in retail, AI is mostly about analysing data and identifying patterns and giving retailers an overall report. AI solutions for customer segmentation will continue to become more and more sophisticated, allowing marketers to integrate vast amounts of data to make the customer journey more personalized, and more efficient.”

(With inputs from Gurbir Singh Gulati)

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