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Retail Automation – A Self-Run System
24.02.2020
Retail Automation – A Self-Run System

Every retail outlet, whether a small-town shop or a giant retailer like Amazon, strives to offer the best prices by minimizing costs, and offer convenience and speedy response, all to wrap up a memorable experience for their customers.  To do all that, it all rounds down to one thing – automation.

Automation is, without question, fundamental to a retail business. For example, to initiate a promotion to drive more customers into your shop, you need to understand what shopping and payment experiences impress them. So, you go for a fluid system that not only assists your customers as they navigate their way but also helps you – as the retailer – to manage the transactions in your internal systems efficiently. It is for the same reason why many retailers have welcomed with open arms the latest customer-facing retail technology solutions like self-service check-outs and self-scanning.

But now the new trends are in personalization and artificial intelligence to fill in the gaps that exist in the inner workings of the administration. These further advancements go beyond the customer just visiting the shop, buying items, and leaving. Automation now monitors customer behavior and aligns their unique experiences with your products. It may sound pretty simple in theory, but it is significantly tricky when it comes to implementation.

Automation of Processes in Retail Businesses

To understand automation in the world of retail consumption, you need to trace the product or service right from production to consumer.

The product goes through five stages – planning, sourcing, producing, distributing, and selling. And the raw material involved in the manufacturing before it becomes a physical product enters the factory, then head to the warehouse, to the store shelf, and then at home. In all these stages, the product leaves a trail of data. Automation leverages this data to improve business efficiency.

Retail automation, in essence, focuses on the flow of information in the reverse direction, from consumer to producer passing through the intermediaries. The retail ecosystem gathers, process, and analyze this information to get user feedback by paying attention to the precise insights into real-life product performance and studying post-purchase behavior, unstated needs, ecosystem bottlenecks, competitive response, and much more.

A retail enterprise can gather essential data at the point of sale. From there, it is easy to have analytics around consumer behavior and product feedback. Incorporating AI and ML can easily automate this insight making it simpler to achieve the desired results

The automated flow of goods and services

The flow of goods and services defines the logistical aspects of a business. Automating the flow of goods enables you to focus on planning and controlling the movement of your products and related information. By implementing logistic software, you ensure the entire process moves efficiently to meet the expectations of your customers and the service levels you promised them. The best automation tool will help you to systematize the movement of these goods while also monitoring the flow between your sources and customers within your environment.

Automate data flow and decisions

Information about goods and services scatters along the supply chain. If you tap this data early enough, you can address the underlying customer services related problems, which mostly stem from unfulfilled commitments, and wrong or inconsistent communication.  This move can dramatically improve service delivery.

You need a unified system that ideally takes the head office function by centrally managing the transactions across the network. Such a system automatically captures every data and facilitates collaborative planning, forecasting, and synchronize forecasted sales. With centralized reports and analysis, you make informed decisions faster.

Automate ecosystem from end to end

It is possible not to have an infallible instinct about your customers’ behavior or their desires. Using modern technology such as image recognition, you can extract data and analyze it against user behavior to realign your marketing strategy. With actionable insights, you can improve the consumer experience and drive conversions while cutting costs. You pull this through in a system that digitally maps your products’ DNA to create unique experiences for your customers and decipher crucial product information to your team for you to make business decisions. However, that is only possible with an integration of all entities in the supply chain and even ecosystems where both data and physical goods seamlessly flow from end to end.

Conclusion

For years, big firms have found ways to exploit technology, while small enterprises struggle. But now, with retail automation, these SMEs, too, are becoming creative, mechanizing their processes right from production to distribution, which has evened the odds of success by enhancing efficiency. It cuts down the daily minutia and thus allows business owners to focus on other things, which improves business performance.

 

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