Revolutionizing retail industry with computer vision

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What is computer vision and how it can help retail stores to improve their customer service?

Revolutionizing retail industry with computer vision image

Although the retail industry is moving forward towards digital or online, offline retail stores still have an important role in the retail industry in general. There are still many customers who prefer to shop offline just to test the things they want to buy directly, or they simply don’t want to pay extra money for delivery. Other than that, offline retail stores also offer experience that people don’t get if they shop online.

To keep their customers’ loyalty, offline retail shops should provide good customer service and personalized to its customers, starting from proper product placement, ad spots, or even the store employees' performance.

On the other hand, thanks to artificial intelligence and innovations in deep learning, computer vision technology has been able to take great leaps in recent years and has been able to surpass humans in some tasks related to detecting and labeling objects.

What is computer vision and how it can help retail stores to improve their customer service? Computer vision is an interdisciplinary scientific field that deals with how computers can gain high-level understanding from digital images or videos. In other words, computer vision will allow computers to see and understand the context of digital images from photos or videos.

Now back to retail stores. Almost every retail shop has security cameras. By combining those cameras and computer vision technology, many processes can be automated to help retail owners improve their customers’ experience and satisfaction.

For example, facial recognition technology. Facial recognition can help to identify regular customers and offer discounts for frequently purchased products by linking their facial data to their purchase history. The discounts will increase customers’ loyalty to the retail store.

As for employees, facial recognition technology can be used for the attendance system. They only need to come to the store, and the CCTV will automatically capture their faces and stamp their time of arrival automatically. By doing this, attendance cheat like buddy punching, which is commonly committed in the card attendance system, can be avoided.

Computer vision is also able to generate a heat map of customers' behaviors. Allowing the CCTV to generate data visualization that uses a warm-to-cool color spectrum to show which parts of the store that receive the most attention from customers. This will allow store management to arrange their store shelves based on the customers behavior, or even set higher prices for product placement or ad spots.

If we take it further, computer vision can also prevent theft or shoplifting, which caused almost US$100 billion loss to the industry globally. Computer vision can be ‘trained’ with shoplifting or other suspicious activity video footage, allowing them to give notification or alert to the shop employees if something bad happens.

The future of computer vision will help the retail industry to improve their effectiveness and efficiency in creating the best customer experience. However, there are some challenges that must be overcome, one of them is the mindset of the retail industry players. As we all know and agree, the digital revolution is more about a new mindset than about technology itself.

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