Artificial intelligence (AI) has rapidly permeated into industries around the globe, with the supermarket and commerce fields being no different. AI in supermarkets is one of the latest trends we’re seeing in this space, allowing supermarkets to easily manage inventory, analyze customer data, and orchestrate quality control checks.
Supermarkets are the perfect sector to engage with AI developments for two main reasons: the enormous number of products and large customer bases. Across the tens of thousands of products available and the potentially millions of shoppers, supermarkets have access to a wide and diverse pool of data. By feeding this huge volume of data into AI tools, supermarkets can obtain deeply precise analytics that will guide their industry forward.
Although a number of supermarkets already use AI technologies, their presence will only grow over the next few years. In fact, based on current research and investment patterns, Grand View Research estimates that AI will see an annualized growth rate of at least 37% over the next seven years.
As AI technologies continue to develop, they’ll be able to optimize larger portions of the supermarket experience.
How Are Companies Using AI in Supermarkets?
AI in supermarkets is not an idea that’s currently on the horizon and in development. On the contrary, companies around the world are already actively using AI to enhance their current supermarket process. For example, ALDI is already using AI technology to allow customers to scan items as they go and walk out without having to pay at checkout.
Amazon’s grocery store, Amazon Go, uses similar AI technology to allow users to pick up items and walk out without paying. After a customer leaves with their products, Amazon bills their account for the items they’ve taken.
Alongside these payment optimization use cases, there are a number of ways that AI in supermarkets can radically improve the current stance of the industry.
Personalization within online supermarket shopping
Online supermarkets are a digital arena in which AI technologies can thrive. Online supermarket shopping is deeply dependent on customer habits, with personalization strategies working to increase average shop price while boosting the number of products per purchase. By analyzing consumer habits and tracking which products a customer is statistically more likely to enjoy, AI systems can create smart recommendations.
Studies by McKinsey demonstrate the power of personalization, with 71% of customers expecting personalization and 76% feeling frustrated when they don’t find it. As personalized supermarket experiences can lead to faster shopping for customers, as well as more precise recommendations, it typically serves to promote a better customer experience.
What’s more, some e-grocery brands like Wave Grocery are using AI to create personalized product recommendations. Based on similar products, products that are frequently bought together, and items that are statistically likely to match a customer’s taste, these AI tools can cultivate advanced product recommendations.
The same comprehensive understanding of products and product recommendation is allowing AI to also suggest alternative products when an item is out of stock. When a shopper finds something they want, AI can cultivate similar options with replacement recommendations. This streamlines purchasing and helps to drive engagement
AI in supermarkets is not only confined to physical stores, with this technology having the potential to shape online interactions in the digital shopping age.
Inventory management is an essential part of running a supermarket that encompasses all areas of the store. This practice involves monitoring current stocks both on shelves and in warehouse facilities, and then ordering more when either predictive demand or necessary commands.
By balancing advanced learning algorithms with cutting-edge monitoring tools, AI can innovate inventory management to an impressive degree. With shelving monitors, AI is able to signal when certain items need to be restocked. Equally, it can monitor current backup stock levels and compare them to future customer purchase trend predictions to plan when to order more products.
AI in supermarkets allows businesses to simplify inventory management while making it into an automated and deeply precise science.
Supermarkets can be responsible for huge quantities of food waste each year, with poor stock management, incorrect purchase predictions, and reductive sales processes leading to food being on the shelves past its sell-by date. In the UK alone, 100,000s of edible food packages are thrown away every year, with global food waste estimates reaching upwards of 40% of all food produced.
AI tools are able to more effectively manage products on shelves. If a product is nearing its sell-by date, then AI technology can automatically reduce its price, making the product more tempting to buyers. Not only does this increase profit as a product that would have gone unsold is now bought, but it also helps to radically reduce the amount of waste that supermarkets produce.
What Are the Benefits of Using AI in Supermarkets?
While each use case of AI in supermarkets brings its own specific benefits for management and on-the-ground teams, its wider advantages are felt in the bottom line. By optimizing strategy and innovating supermarket approaches to a number of daily tasks, AI can become a powerful tool for increasing revenue while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction.
Using AI in supermarkets has a number of potential benefits:
- Improved Resource Allocation and Management - AI technology can reduce food waste, helping to promote better resource management and save money for businesses.
- Pricing Strategy Refinement - Based on market research and evolving price-checking systems, AI can price products competitively in order to drive more customer engagement with certain products.
- Boosted Revenue - From saving money and increasing customer satisfaction to refining personalized shopping and meticulously managing pricing strategy, AI technologies are able to streamline supermarket management to serve the bottom line.
The above benefits are a non-exhaustive sample that demonstrates the widespread impact that AI can have on supermarket businesses. From profit margins to staff management and more, AI will convert into a tool that streamlines and optimizes operations across the board.
Using AI in supermarkets is more than just a trend; it’s a new technology that can radically alter both in-store and online supermarket environments, helping to reduce waste, improve productivity, and increase profit margins. As AI technology evolves, the extent to which it can engage and interact with consumers will only continue to increase, helping to further augment its benefits.
Over the next few years, we’re likely going to see major supermarket brands around the world test, implement, and incorporate AI technology into their management chains. With simplified management, better resource allocation, and improved product strategy, using AI in supermarkets is a powerful force for good.