The old adage ‘knowledge is power’ is as true today as it ever was. It’s clear that individuals and organisations make better decisions when armed with accurate and timely information. Today, advanced technology plays a major role – and it’s helping retailers and their customers make decisions through real-time data. The result? Greater business efficiency and improved customer experiences.
Insights from data analytics are transforming how businesses operate, identifying trends, and providing metrics to assess KPIs more accurately. However, until now, even with the best systems, a lag existed between the present reality and reported data. In food retail, where inventory turnover is high, that gap is particularly troublesome. When retailers lack real-time visibility of what’s happening in their stores, they can suffer from many problems, including empty shelves, products in the wrong location, and inaccurate inventories displayed on their customer mobile app. These issues diminish the customer experience, operational efficiencies, and profitability.
A subcategory of Artificial Intelligence (AI) known as computer vision uses computers to analyse and interpret the visual world in the same way that humans do – and it’s about to revolutionise the retail industry. Until recently, it only worked in limited capacity but advancements in AI have propelled it forward. Computer vision can now offer retailers highly accurate insights about what’s happening in their store, on the shelves, right now. It can watch every shelf, 24/7, accurately interpret what it is ‘seeing’ and provide live updates and notifications to store personnel, integrated business systems, and customer-facing technology like online shopping websites and in-store self-serve POS kiosks. It knows if shelves need restocking, displays require tidying up, product price tags are missing, and much more.