The Benefits of Making Computer Vision Investments as a Retailer

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Click to learn more about author Henry Bell.

We live in a time when e-commerce giants like Amazon have raised the standards for customer experience. This has affected not only other online stores but traditional retailers as well. Offline stores are bound to become more reliant on data collection to provide their customers with a personalized experience. 

Traditional retailers simply don’t have a choice – they have to innovate or risk losing their competitive edge. The evidence of this is clear if you look at which retailers have had the most success in recent decades. The difference has become evident in the pandemic, a time when a lot of the shopping has moved online.

Computer vision has already revolutionized the industry. Years ago, Amazon launched cashier-less stores, which inspired a lot of discussions online. Amazon Go stores used multifaceted applications of computer vision technology to introduce a new concept into the market. 

Since then, most major players have started to use the solutions provided by computer vision firms. The technology is being rapidly implemented as we speak. When asked about their plans, the absolute majority of retailers indicated that they plan to incorporate computer vision systems in their stores. The industry is expected to grow to more than $30 billion before 2025. As a result, there will be major shifts in the market.

Why Should You Invest in Computer Vision Technology?

By allowing us to quantify and analyze customers’ behavior, computer vision technology has opened the door for countless improvements in the traditional retail sector. 

It allows us to analyze the user behavior in the store, and in some cases, even outside the store. 

What makes the customer decide to enter your shop? Once they’re inside, how do they act? How can you improve the interior of your store to increase sales or attract more customers? These are all incredibly important questions that can be answered by utilizing this technology. 

How does computer vision increase sales?

1. Launching a Product

When a company is launching a new line of products, a new store, or a new promotion, there’s very little room for mistakes. A lot of the decisions have to be based on experience and predictions about customer behavior. 

Computer vision technology has the potential to revolutionize this process. By analyzing the customer behavior, the technology allows you to make adjustments to your strategy almost instantly. For example, it can detect when customers aren’t won over by the promotion, or when they can’t find the product because it is out of their sight.

2. Tap into the Knowledge Base

One of the main reasons for the success of e-commerce stores was the vast product information that was freely available online. Now, customers can use computer vision technology to achieve the same in retail stores. By snapping a picture of a product, they can access reviews and videos instantly. 

3. Better Customer Experience

Due to the rise of e-commerce giants like Amazon, customers have developed a taste for a personalized experience across all mediums. Their expectations will stay the same offline, even though they’re in a retail shop. This is when computer vision firms can save the day again. For instance, their technology can help you manage customers’ expectations and preferences across multiple channels. By outsourcing many of the operational tasks to computer vision technology, your employees can focus on customer-oriented tasks. 

4. Advanced Inventory Management

The connectivity of retail and online sales is a big problem for many corporations. Retailers can use computer vision to achieve more accurate and immediate tracking of offline sales, thus providing improved customer experience on both mediums.

Inventory management problems are very common and very damaging for a business. It is estimated that retail businesses lose almost $1 trillion every year because they don’t restock products on time. By quantifying each offline sale, computer vision solutions can improve this aspect of retail store operations as well.

As a result, shelves will always be full and the number of disappointed customers will be driven to a minimum.

Other Applications of Computer Vision Technology in Retail Stores

Prevent theft: Computer vision firms have developed software that can detect suspicious customers. Technology will raise an alarm so that the staff can prevent shoplifting.

Theft is a source of significant losses for retail stores all around the world. By eliminating or minimizing the number of stolen goods, computer vision technology can make a significant impact on your bottom line. 

As an added benefit, the technology can also detect when an entire stock has been sold and there’s no product on the shelves. It will notify the staff, who will promptly restock the shelves so that the sales aren’t lost.

Seamless experience: Computer vision firms have designed technology that can decipher customers’ actions. Whenever they pick up a product, its cost will be added to the total and they’ll be automatically charged once they leave. Customers won’t have to interact with cashiers or self-service machines at any point.

Marketing: The data collected from the computer vision systems can be utilized in marketing campaigns. The marketing messages can be altered depending on customers’ browsing patterns. Needless to say, all the data will be anonymous and the personal interests of a specific customer will be kept private. 

Stores can significantly increase their sales by customizing their marketing efforts based on customers’ interests. 

Product placement: Using computer vision technology, retail stores can track customer behavior and analyze how customers respond to specific product placements. This way, you can optimize your floor plan to increase the visibility of certain products. This can increase your total sales and profits. 

You can use similar methods to draw attention to any promotions that you might be running. This will increase overall sales and shift customers’ attention to the most important features of your store.

Summary

As time passes, more and more retail businesses are going to implement computer vision solutions in their stores. Investing in a data-based approach will help you make informed decisions in many aspects of your retail business. As the technology develops, its potential for practical applications is only going to grow. 

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