Retail businesses are scrambling as the world fights COVID-19 and consumers shun human contact. As if the pandemic wasn’t difficult enough to contend with, retailers globally are facing unprecedented pressures on growth and a need for profitability.

Retailers typically must navigate the harsh consequences of fading footfalls and changing shopper expectations, inventory overcapacity, new technology investments and rising operational costs.Even as global retailers have accepted the need to adopt next-gen technology in order to bounce back, Artificial Intelligence is universally seen today as the platform to develop solutions to the many complex challenges and unique problems businesses are facing today.

Vision-enabled AI is a relatively new field of computer science that integrates Video data, Computer Vision and Machine learning, and trains computers to replicate activities and identify patterns. Vision Intelligence (sometimes rudimentarily referred to as Video Analytics) works by interacting with the surroundings, helping the computer ‘sense’ and ‘recognize’ the live environment and ‘learn’ from the memory of past experiences by extracting patterns in visual signals. It provides the best contextual information to help one speed up business operations since it literally turns camera images into actionable insights and helps retailers be situation-aware real time.

Here’s how Vision AI can use the existing infrastructure to radically transform the retail business by automatically monitoring protocol compliance, enhancing shoppers’ experience and developing new and innovative services:

Safe Store

Cameras connected to an AI platform detects and alerts various forms of protocol violations such as absence of face cover, breach of social distancing, tally of customers in an outlet, real-time customer traffic management and so on. Visible and strict monitoring of adherence to Covid-19 guidelines relays perception of a safe shopping experience and an overall “Safe” Store.

Motivated Customer

Understanding consumers and what motivates their purchasing decisions is most critical. Vision AI studies consumer interactions with the stores and products discreetly, and non-intrusively collects data that will help in determining, developing and implementing tailor-made solutions.

Consumers now have a whole new set of expectations when they are out shopping. It is not just convenience and flexibility that are absolute musts, but also personalized service and experiences.

Thanks to features like dwell time monitoring and facial emotion tracking, it is possible to address customer frustrations in real time by eliminating slow billing, predicting queue build up, identifying and assessing inappropriate staff behaviour, and resolving inadequate staff availability in certain areas.

Advanced pattern recognition algorithms are also now available to help tracking aisle behaviour of the shopper, which also helps understand shopper interests, tastes and preferences, as well as improve product placement.

Smart Shelf

Vision AI enables smart shelf analytics and management through real-time insights into movement of goods from the shelves. It can not only be the saviour from a shelf out-of-stock situation, but also provide critical data that goes into overall inventory planning, re-ordering stocks and re-filling shelves, and even product placement in the Stores. Often, identifying or predicting stock-out status is critical to ensure consistent product availability and enhanced customer relationships.

Smart Revenue Earner

Video data provides large volumes of information that cognitive softwares can act, sense and build upon to power differentiated services and revenue streams, curate products and even facilitate a more present, human connection between retailers and their customers.

Tools are now ready that can proactively analyse window shopping behaviour, effectiveness of displays, visual merchandising and in-store product advertisements, and these can be used to customise solutions for diverse needs based on factors like size, demography of users, layout, product profile and so on.

The Mindset

Retailers of all sizes need to be one step ahead of their customers’ needs and their competitors’ next innovation. It requires businesses to be agile, adaptable and to have a digital transformation mindset. Vision AI can be the backbone of that Digital transformation. All you need is the right partnership.

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