With the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and the growth of eCommerce over the last two decades, consumers and merchants themselves have gotten used to the idea that “retail is dead.” While this has become a common sentiment, it could not be further from the truth – technology is not killing retail, it is enabling it to thrive in an ever-changing environment.

AI has emerged within retail in many ways, seen in both physical stores and eCommerce websites. From customer service chatbots to self-checkouts, the goal with artificial intelligence in shopping is generally to make the experience easier for the customer (in addition to providing retailers themselves with improved customer data, streamlined workflows and more).

In a brick-and-mortar store, artificial intelligence shopping looks like:

The Amazon Go store in the Macy’s building in Seattle.
credit: Supermarket News

Self-Checkouts

One of the most common AI applications seen across large retail locations is the self-checkout. This technology was actually developed in the 1990s, and you’ve likely seen one or two self-checkout registers in your favorite grocery or drugstore over the years. With a recent boom in the technology, there were a reported 325,000 self-checkout machines in use in 2019.

Customer Service Robots

While not yet as wide spread of a phenomenon as self-checkouts, customer service robots that greet shoppers, provide pricing information and give product recommendations are being tested more frequently across retail stores around the world. SoftBank Robotics – who developed one of the most recognized humanoid robots, Pepper – claims that a customer service robot can increase foot traffic to a store, trigger customer curiosity, and create memorable in-store experiences for shoppers.

Cashless Stores

Amazon launched its concept store, Amazon Go, in 2018 and has since opened over 20 locations in the United States. Using computer vision, image recognition and deep learning algorithms, Amazon has created a retail experience in which shoppers enter a store by scanning their shopping app, pick up the products they want, and exit, being automatically charged for the purchase through their Amazon account. Given its success in the USA, Amazon Go is an example of a truly disruptive use for AI in physical retail.

Online, artificial intelligence in eCommerce includes:

  • Web- and social media-based customer care chatbots that present offers and product suggestions
  • Cognitive computing apps that ask users questions and leverage AI personalization in order to recommend the perfect product
  • Virtual try-on experiences that leverage image recognition and/or augmented reality (AR) to allow consumers to see what clothing, footwear or accessories might look like on their person – or even what furniture pieces might look like in their homes
  • AI-enabled product ordering via artificial intelligence voice assistants; “Alexa, where is the nearest grocery store?” has quickly become “Alexa, order me a loaf of bread.”

AI in retail is, of course, not only important on the customer service side. As retailers continue to grow their businesses, solutions are being developed to help simplify workflows – including anything from automated manufacturing processes, to intelligent hiring, to AI content personalization.

This is where ginnie comes in. By leveraging natural language processing (NLP) and natural language generation (NLG), our app creates product descriptions for thousands of SKUs within seconds. This artificial intelligence for eCommerce helps retailers save both time and money, giving them the ability to spend their energy on other areas of their business. From home décor to apparel and accessories, ginnie offers high-quality, professional-level product content that can be published on an eCommerce website right away.

Interested in learning more about how our AI solution is driving retail, especially for retailers themselves? Contact ginnie today.

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