The retail landscape is rapidly changing as consumers expect more convenience and better service across the entire retail customer journey. Demands for seamless purchase, fulfillment, and service experiences across channels as well as personalized attention and engaging interactions continue to grow and evolve. This means rethinking how people, processes, systems, data, and logistics work together along every step of the customer journey to remove friction and deliver experience consistency.
As online orders continue to grow, retail businesses are implementing more efficient processes to fulfill those orders. In the past, stores had personal shoppers that would be tasked with walking the store to fulfill online orders. Today, artificial intelligence (AI) is putting new tools into the hands of retailers, helping them eliminate friction in the shopping process, deepen their engagement with customers, uncover business insights and automate processes. According to market intelligence firm IDC, worldwide spending on AI systems is forecast to reach $35.8 billion in 2019, an increase of 44 percent over the amount spent in 2018.
Tackling Delivery with AI
With AI, computers analyze reams of data, making decisions and performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. We’re seeing this trend being rapidly adopted and perfected with the advent of robotic delivery.
Delivery is emerging as a crucial service in the new world of autonomous mobility – and it is being led by AI. From the dream of autonomous long-haul trucking to last mile delivery to personal transportation, companies are scrambling to develop new technology. McKinsey predicts that autonomous vehicles will make up 85 percent of last-mile deliveries by 2025.
Robotic delivery devices are hotly anticipated to solve the “last mile” problem inherent to delivery operations – the most expensive stage of the delivery process where many small, individually packaged products must be precisely targeted to reach their final destinations on time and intact. Right now, these routes are covered by humans in cars or vans. This is inefficient– it uses too much energy and worsens congestion. In some cases, for instance on campuses or inside large office complexes, it’s time-consuming and impractical.
FedEx has developed an autonomous robotic delivery device to help retailers distribute same-day orders to their customers. Designed to satisfy the ever-growing expectations of consumers, the SameDay Bot allows retailers to accept orders from nearby customers and send them by robot directly to the buyer’s home or office that same day.
After discovering that, on average, more than 60 percent of vendors’ customers live within three miles of a store location, FedEx saw the opportunity to create an on-demand, hyper-local delivery service.
Unmanned delivery will be a game-changer for local commerce and the consumer appetite for these delivery options will only continue to grow. As friction continues to erode, more innovation will yield increased accessibility and convenience to consumers as well as reduced cost. People will be able to shop more efficiently and get hours back in their day.
It’s clear now why so many companies are attempting to develop AI: Whoever can reliably harness this technology to remove friction from the customer experience puts their business at tremendous advantage over the competition. For AI to impact the customer experience, insights need to be conveyed in the moment through the customer’s chosen touchpoint. Integrating with these touchpoints is the key to in-the-moment engagement.
Learn more about how CommerceCX can help your company successfully implement AI-based solutions: https://commercecx.com/what-we-do/cognitive-technologies/