The 20 Best Examples Of Using Artificial Intelligence For Retail Experiences

Credit by Blake Morgan

1. Lowes Uses Robots To Locate Items

Navigating a hardware store can be difficult, but Lowes created the LoweBot to help customers find their way around the store and get the items they need. LoweBots roam the store and ask customers simple questions to find out what they’re looking for. The robots can provide directions and maps to products and share specialty knowledge with customers. LoweBots also monitor inventory so the store knows what items need to be restocked.

2. Walgreens Uses AI To Track Flu Spread

The flu can be uncomfortable, inconvenient and even deadly if not treated properly. With the right information, people can take action to keep their families healthy. Walgreens uses data from the number of anti-viral prescriptions it fills at more than 8,000 locations to track the spread of the flu. The online, interactive map not only helps customers know how bad the flu is in their area, but also helps Walgreens stock more inventory of flu-related products in infected regions. AI is empowering customers and the store.

3. Sephora Makes It Easy to Find Makeup

Step into a Sephora store to find your perfect makeup shade without ever putting anything on your face. Color IQ scans a customer’s face and provides personalized recommendations for foundation and concealer shades, while Lip IQ does the same to help find the perfect shade of lipstick. It’s a huge help to customers who know the stress (and cost) of finding the perfect shade by trial and error.

4. North Face Helps Customers Find The Perfect Coat

Don’t know what coat to buy? North Face can help with that. The company uses IBM Watson’s cognitive computing technology to ask questions about where they’ll wear the coat and what they’ll be doing. Using that information, North Face can make personalized recommendations to help customers find the perfect coat for their activities.

5. Neiman Marcus Uses AI For Visual Search

Luxury department store Neiman Marcus uses AI to make it easier for customers to find items. The Snap. Find. Shop. app allows users to take pictures of items they see while out and about and then searches Neiman Marcus inventory to find the same or a similar item. Instead of using vague search terms to find an item, the photos can usually find a very similar match.

6. Taco Bell Helps Customers Order Tacos On The Go

When you want tacos, there isn’t time to wait. Taco Bell was the first restaurant to allow customers to order food directly through AI. The Tacobot works with Slack and makes it easy for customers to text or say their order. The bot even allows for customized and large group orders. In true Taco Bell form, the bot responds with quippy remarks after each order.

7. Macy’s Adds AI To In-Store Experience

Have you ever walked into a department store and had no idea where to find what you’re looking for? Macy’s On Call app is tailored with answers for each individual store. Customers open the app when they’re in the store and can chat with an AI bot to get directions to a specific item or check if something is in stock. The bot can even detect if a customer is getting frustrated and alert a human employee to go help the customer.

8. Walmart Deploys Robots To Scan Shelves

Walmart is one of the largest retail stores in the world, and it plans on using robots to help patrol those vast aisles. Walmart is testing shelf-scanning robots in dozens of its stores. The robots scan shelves for missing items, things that need to be restocked or price tags that need to be changed. The robots free human employees to spend more time with customers and ensure that customers aren’t faced with empty shelves.

9. ThredUp Uses AI To Remember Customer Preferences

Online consignment store ThredUp recently released Goody Boxes, which include a number of secondhand clothing items tailored to match each customer’s style. Customers keep and pay for the items they like and return the items they don’t like. An AI algorithm remembers each customer’s preferences so that future boxes can better fit their style. The non-subscription boxes are easier for customers than searching for individual pieces.

10. Amazon Eliminates Cashiers With AI

No list on retail AI would be complete with Amazon and its revolutionary Amazon Go store. Customers can simply walk into the store, take what they want from the shelves and walk out without going through a cashier. Sensors and cameras throughout the store track what customers purchase, and their Amazon account is charged when they leave. AI helps create a quick and seamless shopping experience so customers aren’t stuck waiting in line.

11. Uniqlo Can Read Minds With AI

Clothing store Uniqlo is pioneering the use of science and AI to create a unique in-store experience. Select stores have AI-powered UMood kiosks that show customers a variety of products and measures their reaction to the color and style through neurotransmitters. Based on each person’s reactions, the kiosk then recommends products. Customers don’t even have to push a button; their brain signals are enough for the system to know how they feel about each item.

12. West Elm Connects Style And Products

Customers used to bring in physical style boards of furniture items they liked, but now furniture retailer West Elm does it through AI. The Pinterest Style Finder scans a customer’s Pinterest boards to understand their personal style and create a list of recommended home décor and furniture items to match. It’s an easy way for customers to get a beautifully designed home that reflects their style.

13. Sam’s Club Makes Warehouse Shopping Simple

The warehouse superstore recently opened a smaller, AI-powered version of its store called Sam’s Club Now. The store uses AI technology so that customers can shop without having to go through a traditional checkout line. The corresponding app can even map the most efficient route through the store to get everything on a customer’s shopping list.

14. Olay Uses AI To Personalize Skincare

With the help of AI, Olay customers can get personalized skincare treatment without having to see a dermatologist. With Olay’s Skin Advisor, customers take a selfie of their plain face, and the app uses AI to tell the true age of their skin. The app evaluates skin health and makes recommendations for problem areas with personalize skin care regimen recommendations.

15. Kroger App Customizes Product Recommendations

Grocery chain Kroger is testing out the idea of smart shelves. When a customer walks down an aisle and has their Kroger app open, sensors identify the shopper and highlight products they might be interested in. The app might highlight gluten-free products for a gluten-free shopper or kid-friendly snacks for a parent. The app can also provide personal pricing and alert shoppers if an item on their shopping list is on sale.

16. H&M Uses AI To Keep Popular Items Stocked

Popular clothing store H&M relies on staying on top of trends to be successful. The store uses AI to analyze store receipts and returns to evaluate purchases at each store. The algorithm helps the store know what items to promote and stock more of in certain locations. The data could find that floral skirts sell well at urban stores and change the inventory to match what customers want.

17. Zara Streamlines Order Pickup With Robots