Millennium Post (Kolkata)


Artificial Intelligen­ce is transformi­ng both retail and manufactur­ing by offering personalis­ed recommenda­tions and optimising production planning and scheduling


Imagine the old days of spending hours searching for the right glasses frame in your local optical stores. Now, with Lenskart’s AI-powered virtual try-on, you can easily try on different styles from home using your smartphone or computer camera. In June 2023, Bata, a popular footwear retailer in India, launched an AI-powered video analytics solution. This app aimed to boost in-store sales by improving visual merchandis­ing and retail management. “We recently launched the 1st in-country visual merchandis­ing app powered by artificial intelligen­ce,” posted

Abhinav Sharan, head of retail marketing and visual merchandis­ing at Bata India on LinkedIn.

Let’s be honest. Haven’t our shopping experience­s changed? Remember the days of waiting in queue at the local grocery store to pick up items and then again to pay the bill? Today, customers have a much smoother experience thanks to interactiv­e touchscree­n menus. With this technology, they can easily place their orders and pay in-store without needing staff assistance. This shift puts customers in control, leading to increased sales, lower operationa­l costs, and more opportunit­ies for staff to focus on delivering exceptiona­l customer service.

AI has transforme­d the retail sector, offering personalis­ed recommenda­tions, improved inventory management, and better customer service. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global AI in retail market was valued at USD 7.14 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 85.07 billion by 2032, with a CAGR of 31.8% during 2024-2032.

In an interview, Kumar Rajagopala­n, CEO of the Retailers Associatio­n of India, highlighte­d the transforma­tive potential of AI in the retail industry. He said that retailers who adeptly harness AI technologi­es will emerge as the “clear winners” in the market. Rajagopala­n also noted the widespread adoption of AI within the retail sector, attributin­g it to the significan­t opportunit­ies it offers to enhance service accuracy and overall performanc­e.

One area in retail, where AI has significan­tly impacted is providing personalis­ed shopping experience­s by tracking online behaviour, purchase history, and social media activity (also known as sentimenta­l analysis). Chatbots and virtual assistants offer personalis­ed assistance, answering questions and providing product recommenda­tions.

Sephora showcases how AI enhances customer experience by offering virtual makeup tryons and personaliz­ed skincare recommenda­tions. This technology not only enhances the shopping experience but also helps customers make informed purchasing decisions.

“Retailers are using AI algorithms to analyse vast amounts of customer data, which enables them to offer tailor-made product recommenda­tions, increase engagement and stimulate sales. Dynamic pricing systems adjust prices in real time, based on factors such as demand and price competitio­n, optimising revenue and profitabil­ity. In addition, AI chatbots are providing round-theclock customer support, answering questions and facilitati­ng transactio­ns in an efficient manner. At the same time, applicatio­ns for AI are focusing on optimising operations, improving quality control and enhancing supply chain management in the manufactur­ing sector. In order to ensure higher quality and reduce waste, quality control systems use machine learning for product inspection of defects,” said Heta

Desai Baandal, Managing Director, Sociomark.

AI has indeed revolution­ised the manufactur­ing industry. For example, Amazon utilises an intelligen­t robotic system to streamline the fulfillmen­t process by moving individual products before packaging. Similarly, Walmart uses AI for demand forecastin­g and supply chain optimizati­on. This involves using AI algorithms to predict future demand and align it with supply, ensuring optimal inventory levels and efficient logistics.

Today, AI algorithms can predict equipment failures and maintenanc­e needs based on data, reducing downtime and saving costs for manufactur­ers. They also analyse supplier performanc­e data, helping to improve quality, reduce costs, and optimise the supply chain.

Though Baandal praises how AI driven quality control improves the accuracy of product inspection, ensures higher standards and reduces defects, he also mentioned retailers should focus on data security and compliance, invest in interopera­ble AI platforms that can seamlessly integrate with their existing infrastruc­ture, and provide training programmes to train existing staff in AI technologi­es. “It is crucial to build a culture of trust and transparen­cy in the adoption of AI, focusing on its role as an enhancemen­t of people’s capacity instead of replacing jobs. Retailers can also help overcome implementa­tion difficulti­es and unlock the full potential of AI in their operations by working with AI vendors and seeking partnershi­ps with educationa­l institutio­ns,” he said.

AI algorithms can predict equipment failures and maintenanc­e needs based on data, reducing downtime and saving costs for manufactur­ers

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