Mention of autonomous retail often invokes images of standalone stores with minimal staff that serve highly specific customers with great efficiency. The technology that enables autonomous retail has become much more capable in recent years, making this vision more true than ever before.
Autonomous retail experiences can now be found in many settings, from airports to sporting arenas. The introduction and evolution of computer vision has made it simple for businesses to add a layer of sophisticated retail technology over their existing stores or launch entirely new stores with minimal business disruption. Here are the top reasons retail business leaders should consider autonomous retail.
Why Modern Retail Businesses Should Consider Embracing Autonomous Retail
Customers are constantly looking for more convenient ways to shop
The modern retail customer has virtually unlimited shopping options. They can choose from a wide variety of brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce sites, and even social media platforms. Convenience is often a major factor in helping customers decide between these options.
While retailers often consider convenience for daily necessities such as clothing and groceries, a recent survey found that 42% of shoppers consider convenience to be very important even when buying big-ticket items such as electronics.
Businesses must also consider what convenience means to each customer segment. For some, convenience could mean quick delivery or speedy checkout processes. For others, it could mean having access to a wide variety of products in a single location. Retail businesses must understand and meet the unique needs of their individual customer segments to succeed in a highly saturated and competitive marketplace.
Widespread labor shortages and rising costs are limiting retail businesses’ ability to expand
Labor shortages are driving innovation in many industries. Business leaders must find new and more efficient ways to meet business goals and needs with a smaller workforce—without overworking them. There are almost double the number of open jobs than there are people available to fill them. This creates a significant challenge for modern retailers who have to serve an increasingly demanding clientele with fewer resources than they had a few years ago.
Apart from creating operational challenges, labor shortages can also significantly limit a business’s ability to expand to serve new geographies, try new operational models, or even run seasonal promotions that require additional manpower.
New retail models can unlock greater levels of operational efficiency
Labor shortages, an unreliable global supply chain, and fluctuations in customer demand can make efficient operations in retail businesses seemingly impossible. Many businesses attempt to overcome these challenges by trying to hire more workers or by specializing their inventory to serve a more niche market.
However, these methods of achieving greater efficiency are often limited. Autonomous retail allows business leaders to achieve business goals with limited resources by automating critical but resource-intensive tasks and optimizing operational processes such as inventory and planogram management.
4 Ways Retailers Can Easily Launch an Autonomous Store with AiFi
Camera-only AI solutions with no weighted shelves mean minimal hardware and low connectivity requirements
Business leaders can be hesitant to introduce autonomous retail to their existing stores or open a new store because of the perceived high costs and immense technological requirements. However, these challenges can be easily overcome with AiFi’s camera-only solution. With an array of cameras and advanced AI algorithms, retailers can easily add a layer of intelligence to their existing stores without large hardware investments. This solution allows businesses to set up an autonomous store with no disruption to store operations while reducing costs by as much as 60%.
AiFi white label solution removes the need for lengthy integrations
Retailers are always under pressure to deliver a consistent experience across online and offline retail channels. To deliver this, retailers have to build complex inventory management systems and integrate critical payment systems into existing technology stacks. This can make it difficult for businesses to trust external vendors or introduce new retail formats that differ from existing stores. AiFi’s White Label solution makes it easy for retailers to modernize key systems without disrupting or overhauling existing operations.
AiFi's NanoStore solution significantly reduces deployment time
The journey to autonomous retail can be an exciting and profitable one for many businesses. Retailers sometimes wish to deploy these stores in high-traffic areas or to try this format for a limited time or multi-location events. AiFi’s NanoStore solution allows retailers to deploy autonomous stores in any commercial space while still being portable. This enables customers to interact with the business in unique locations and settings such as music festivals or sporting events.
Specialized operational tools make it easy to manage constantly changing inventory levels and store layouts
Even with highly optimized operational processes, inventories change and staff members must consistently and accurately plan, update, and follow their planograms. Operational tools built specifically for a retailer’s unique business layout and inventory management needs can make it easy for businesses to keep abreast of changing SKUs and inventory levels. The Operations App ensures that a store is always ready for customers by alerting staff members when products are misplaced or when inventory changes require them to manage and update their planograms.
Be a Part of the Autonomous Future of Retail Now
Autonomous stores are already becoming an integral part of the retail ecosystem. Retailers that adopt autonomous technology can easily deliver greater convenience to their customers while improving operational efficiency and labor optimization. In an increasingly competitive business environment, these advantages can be the difference between having a successful retail business and being pushed out by the competition.
Learn how AiFi’s autonomous retail offerings can help you launch your own store with minimal fuss. Visit our website and request our demo today. If you found this article helpful, please share it on social media.