There is new update every now and then about how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is impacting jobs in every industry including the retail industry. Are these predictions true, we wonder? Or just the guess work of some experts. While we’re not sure if all the predictions will come true but looks like the cashiers in your next-door supermarkets (and the retail industry) will definitely be extinct really soon. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence.
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We have seen a number of sci-fi movies where robots seem to displace every job that humans can do. It’s neither new nor unheard of. In reality, however, the role of robots is yet to be seen. But it is a reality that is not far-fetched. AI and deep learning have reached a stage where software programs can learn to perform complex tasks without humans having to oversee it. For example, Self-driving cars are already a reality (thanks to Deep learning algorithms) and tasks like facial recognition have been tested and tried. These are innovations in Artificial Intelligence that will soon have a huge impact in our daily lives.
What is Deep Learning?
As per Business World, it is a branch of machine learning, which has been created to help us find and follow client conduct online at a more perplexing level than standard machine learning. Through it, the machine can foresee and expect client activities and patterns. And along these lines, they can make important recommendations before they are even requested. There are numerous different uses for deep learning. Especially it has great scope for e-commerce industry and the everyday lives.
If customers are becoming more informed, the machines have to get smarter and they are becoming smarter. AI and Deep Learning can enable software programs that can perform complex tasks at an alarmingly fast rate. Imagine when you enter a store, you a greeted by a sales assistant who know nothing about you. You complete the purchase and queue up for the billing that is done by a store cashier who knows nothing about you or your purchase history. That is where the brick and mortar retail stores are failing.
Emerging trends show an increase in the chat bots and virtual assistant to engage with customers, provide recommendations and personalize sales channel. The marketing campaigns, in the future, will be designed as per AI models that will use data sets to predict the campaigns likely to be most successful. The future will also unleash AI tools that will help to predict demand and supply scenarios.
Retailers will have to invest heavily in new hardware, software and networking to collect data and analyze it. The security aspect of AI cannot be ignored and a lot of attention has to be given to securing data.
What will happen to the store assistants & cashiers?
Amazon Go has changed a lot of things.
You must have already heard of the cool new way of retail stores – Amazon Go. The use of deep learning, computer vision and sensor fusion enables these stores and has already shown an elimination of the cashiers and even checkouts.
It was launched in December 2016 and unfortunately has not been open for the general public yet. How does the store work? Well, it sounds pretty cool and simple.
All you need to do is to access an app to enter the store. There’s a system of cameras and sensors that can keep a track of what you are taking and in how much quantity. After that – you just walk out. Yes, you heard it right. Simply walk out without standing in queues and without waiting for cashier. The app will calculate and charge your card with the applicable amount.
It is built over 1,800 square feet and designed to get rid of long queues and the checkout process. In addition to the regular grocery items, the store also offers ready-to-eat meals and snacks. Amazon recently introduced Amazon Meal Kits, which is the way to make a quick meal at home with all the ingredients in the kit.
Image Source: https://blog.staff.com/7-trends-for-the-future-of-work-to-2020
The retail world is really changing. Fast.
Have you heard of Pinterest Lens (a Shazam-like service)? It is able to conduct visual searches based on items in the everyday world. All one needs to do is to point your camera at, say, a dress and the Lens will help you find it online.
Lowe will soon introduce LoweBots to assist customers at the store. One can either verbally ask the question or type it on the touch screen. The LoweBot also helps the staff to keep a track on the inventory. As they go down the aisle, the bot keeps sending information to the staff about the inventory.
Will there be a choice for retail stores to adopt AI or not? Should cashiers and sales assistants be worried and look for alternate career?
Well, imagine for yourself – wouldn’t a person prefer to go to a store where it’s faster and easier to fetch what one needs (at least twice as fast) and there just might be more discounts as there are no overhead costs due to the people hired in that store. Enhanced customer experience is the key to the future of the Retail industry and AI can definitely help. As far as cashiers and sales assistants at stores are concerned, they should definitely start getting worried.
Want to know more about the future of AI and its impact in your industry? You can speak to one of our experts.
I do agree that all these technologies will save us time in the future – no lines, no waiting, no dealing with rude cashiers! But, there is this other perspective where soon enough we won’t have jobs and we’ll have to look for alternatives, and there will be time where alternatives won’t exist. I hope I’m wrong, but it seems it goes this way!