Something that has been plaguing the offline retail industry for too long is the frequency of out-of-stocks in stores as they cost the industry billions every year. About 50% of the time a consumer refuses to purchase an alternative when an out-of-stock occurs, the retailer loses the sale completely.
Many brands use Retail Intelligence to monitor when a product is out of stock in a store, but that requires a lot of manual input. Automated Retail Intelligence can detect anything from out-of-stocks and planograms, to improper positioning of products and void spaces on a shelf, depending on the retail intelligence automation provider.
Quri conducted a study that revealed how often certain popular alcohol brands were out of stock in popular U.S. supermarkets, Walmart and Target. They obtained merchandising measurements for Bud Light, Coors Light, Corona, Samuel Adams, Blue Moon, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Kona’s Longboard Lager and Mike’s Hard Lemonade and found that on average, over a seven day period, these brands were only available on Walmart and Target shelves 64% of the time. Additionally, display presence was measured at just 28%.
This means that the stores either ran out of stock in these products, or they simply weren’t stocking their shelves correctly. With Retail Intelligence automation, a brand can detect when this happens, allowing them to rectify the situation as soon as it occurs.
With an industry valued at $126 billion, and predicted to reach $3 trillion by 2024, Artificial Intelligence is expected to be one of the biggest trends for retail in coming years. It’s no secret that automated processes such as A.I. and Machine Learning are influencing the online retail and e-commerce industries. However, in a recent study, 77% of U.K. grocery retail directors believed that A.I. and Machine Learning will make an impact on their industry as well.
A.I. is increasingly reaching the online space, so it makes sense that we should start to see it in-store too. While this is largely in the areas of retail that directly have an impact on the customer’s purchasing experience, retailers and vendors can also benefit from automation in their Retail Intelligence processes and tools.
A.I. is a relatively new technological advancement and is rapidly advancing further, particularly within the offline space. However, it is important for retailers to embrace the fact that customers want- and often prefer- automation, both online and offline.
For example, self-service checkouts are now widely used by many shoppers in most grocery stores and supermarkets. But A.I. is also being utilized by many brands to appeal to their customers by shifting their engagement from offline to online.
If automation assists retailers with their Retail Intelligence, it will free up time for their staff to do other work. So it’s important for A.I. to continue to take over when and where it can, and retailers need to embrace this if they want their retail business, company, or brand to thrive.
Retail Intelligence automation allows staff to use their time more efficiently as they aren’t spending copious amounts of it conducting tasks, such as monitoring void spaces and stock availability, that are better suited to automated machines.
The transfer of various data between retailers and vendors has traditionally used up an abundance of manual labour. So by automating processes such as these, manual labour would be significantly reduced, allowing staff to make the strategic decisions machines would be unable to make.
This allows for more efficient use of both the machine’s time and the staff’s as they are carrying out tasks that are best suited to their abilities. A.I. can resolve many problems related to manual Retail Intelligence using accuracy that transcends human capabilities. For example, real-time collaborative analytics can identify issues such as planogram non-compliance sooner than manual monitoring, allowing them to be resolved much faster.
It’s clear that automated processes like A.I. and Machine Learning are becoming more and more accepted in the offline world, but it is important for retailers to understand the advantages of embracing these technologies. A.I. has the ability to not only improve customer engagement and drive sales, but it can also assist retailers with otherwise time-consuming tasks like Retail Intelligence.