Kirsty Bisset
Kirsty Bisset

Is AI essential to retail reinvention?

By Kirsty Bisset, HYH Durban MD. Innovative retailers such as Walmart and Domino's are using artificial intelligence to streamline logistics and store operations, prevent shrinkage and transform retail experiences.

By Kirsty Bisset, HYH Durban MD. By 2035, AI is projected to create $2.2 trillion of value in retail and wholesale, according to an Accenture report. Innovative retailers such as Walmart and Domino’s are using artificial intelligence to streamline logistics and store operations, prevent shrinkage and transform retail experiences. It is possible to cut operational expenses, increase revenue, and make better decisions using deep learning and machine learning algorithms.

Kirsty Bisset
Streamline operations

Operating a store is a complex and fast-paced process. In addition to providing fast check-out services and accurate forecasting of demand, employees must balance multiple priorities. Despite this, Americans still stand in checkout lines for 300 million hours per year, according to one study. Robotics and software vendors provide retailers with the ability to notify associates of stock outs, which can increase efficiencies and, thereby, customer satisfaction and profitability.

Store analytics

The use of data analytics can help retailers gain insight into popular aisles, dwell time for customers, and the demographics of their customers. Retailers can use it to measure shopper behaviour based on demographics, hotspots, cold zones and dwell points. Precision marketing and improved store merchandising resulted in 30% greater sales revenue for Timberland.

Asset protection

Globally, retail shrinkage costs retailers more than a hundred billion dollars every year. Average retailers lose 1.4% – 2% of their sales to shrinkage. Those billions of dollars can add up for mass merchants. In order to prevent theft from happening, it is necessary to detect it quickly.

Autonomous shopping

Grab-and-go stores, with mobile checkout options, are gaining popularity because of their convenience. A much better and faster shopping experience is delivered by these autonomous shopping stores while reducing costs.

Logistics and supply chain optimisation

Another complex process is logistics and supply chain optimisation. It includes things such as accurate and fast forecasting, warehouse logistics using computer vision and robots, and last-mile delivery optimisation. It is a high-stakes game. The average Fortune 100 company can free up between $50 million and $100 million in cash flow by shortening its supply chain by just one day, according to a report from Accenture. Throughout the week, Walmart Labs’ data scientists predict demand for 500 million item-by-store combinations.

360-degree view of the customer

Retailers looking to grow their businesses must understand customer behaviour. In labour-intensive sectors, such as retail, AI offers unprecedented profitability opportunities, according to McKinsey & Company. Through the combination of in-store analytics and online customer behaviour, retailers can offer promotions that can drive revenue and enhance customer experiences. It is possible for retailers to increase their competitiveness and profit margins by investing in and using artificial intelligence.


Receive the Retailing Africa newsletter weekly • Subscribe here.