The Impact of AI on Grocery Retail
In today’s age, grocery retailers no longer have to make guesses about what customers will buy; they can leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to predict customer shopping patterns and optimize their spending through attractive price and product promotion along with effective inventory management to meet the needs of their customers.
While AI in many forms has been available for several years, the coming few months could mark a tipping point in which the most compelling use cases for the technology will emerge. Grocers need to understand the behavior of the customers browsing through the aisles. If you think about it: while shopping for food, you don’t select random products but instead gather what you need to make whole meals, even if it is only pouring cereal and milk into a bowl for breakfast. Grocery retailers can capitalize on AI by deciding their business goals and then adopting the right technologies to better achieve them.
Here are some of the ways in which technology can impact a mundane chore such as grocery shopping:
Product displays are often perceived as an art in retail, but AI brings a scientific element that will make grocery displays far more successful. By using the right approach to data analysis, AI can predict what customers would like to see in the product display, based on their purchase history. This ensures that you promote the best mix of products every week, thereby increasing discoverability and sales.
Also, it’s importance lies in being able to avoid overstocks on the wrong items by providing insight around product mixes, revenue, and profit margins, among other possibilities.
Smart Inventory and Intelligent Replenishment
Throwing out leftover food at home is wasteful but if it happens at the warehouse level in a business, that is a direct blow to the bottom line of the business. This is where the use of machine learning algorithms for grocery retailers’ inventory comes into the picture. Machine learning can analyze certain trends in spending behavior to predict future sales. It can also help in standardizing data for better clarity in inventory management.
You could create a workflow empowered with AI-driven automatic notifications about what needs to be restocked and when exactly to do it. This is possible due to advances in demand forecasting that gets constantly updated with real-time information. This results in fewer stock-outs, reduced waste and much greater profitability for grocery retailers.
Futuristic Smart Shelves
The idea of a digital shelf in retail has evolved over the past few years as technology has changed but AI can do more than the simple identification of the product on a shelf and its price.
AI can give customers more information about nutritional values, ingredients, recipe ideas and much more.
Additionally, product recommendations and other vital information can be customized to individual customers based on data they’ve shared with the retailer.
We have seen that AI is enabling grocery retailers to rapidly embrace innovative and compelling capabilities to optimize inventory, product discovery and smart shelves.
For grocery retailers, AI will discover new ways to drive profits higher, increase revenue and have a significant impact on operational efficiencies. In an industry that has traditionally operated with low-profit margins, AI is a breath of fresh wind, promising to enable greater net income growth.
The grocery retailers, however, are merely scratching the surface when it comes to AI. It remains to be seen how aggressively the industry will continue to explore AI to analyze and improve how they operate.