How using AI automation with RFID data accuracy can unlock unseen value for retail
AI meets RFID: The Next Big Thing for Retail?
Artificial intelligence, the future of smart retail or another empty buzzword?
Artificial intelligence is the poster child for emerging or ‘new age’ smart technologies. Whilst it’s easy to get carried away with ideas of intelligent robots, AI mostly involves intelligent automation systems. This means computer systems that can process and respond to information by themselves, and even learn and self-correct better ways of doing so over time. AI is a broad spectrum, however, and the complexity and ‘intelligence’ of such systems can vary.
AI’s main use for retailers is to automate analysis and decision making
Because AI is still in relative infancy for retail, a large proportion of its use cases for the industry are still being developed and established. We have already seen a strong uptake in AI for customer intelligence in the form of online chatbots and product recommendation engines.
The other areas of potential, namely optimisation of business processes like supply chain planning, demand prediction and store operations, are beginning to take shape but all share a common problem – they need large amounts of data. This has been the main thing holding AI back in certain areas of the retail value chain, but by utilising another technology becoming increasingly common in the industry, this could all change…
RFID in retail, the story so far:
If the ‘AI revolution’ hasn’t really taken off yet, the RFID one is well underway. RFID is used in retail to track and manage merchandise, on a single item-level, with far greater detail and accuracy than traditional systems can manage. The key benefit of RFID for retailers is an accurate and single view of stock across the entire business and its supply chain.
Naturally, RFID systems produce a huge amount of data for products, both in the supply chain and in the individual store. If only there was something that could process all that data…
AI meets RFID: The perfect match
Combining the large amount of item-level data RFID produces with the automated processing power of AI is the natural next step for retail technology.
The key to doing this is each use case adding value or actively solving a problem. At Detego we often talk about ‘avoiding data for the sake of data’ so when using AI to process such data, producing actionable insights and recommendations is vital.
So, what can we do by utilising AI with RFID, and why should retailers care?
So far, the key areas RFID-driven AI automation offers value to retail operations are assisting store staff, assisting customers and optimising inventory management on both a single store scale and across entire store networks.
Our Data Science team are developing solutions for the following use cases, which we will explore in detail in future articles: