This part of the year is special for several reasons. While the world approaches the closure of yet another year, it is also the time of some major festivals. Beginning in August with Independence day and ending in February, this period usually sees an increased consumer activity. Naturally, ‘festival season’ is also the time when companies look at stepping up their businesses.
Given the scenario, more companies and industries are investing in AI and related technologies to drive more profits. Let us check how companies are leveraging AI-based technology, more specifically, in India’s context.
From websites to the warehouse, AI can play a very important role in automating the whole process of e-shopping. AI can help in the following ways:
- AI-based programs can be used in image search to customise search results to users taste and preferences.
- Chatbots and virtual assistants can help by assisting users. This is particularly helpful for sales days where huge traffic is expected.
- The analytics can help organisations create a roadmap by predicting which products would be higher in demand.
- The logistics can also be managed with AI-assisted technology. It is also the need of the hour as the given situation calls for limited human contact.
Flipkart’s (Bangalore-headquartered) Big Billion Sale Days has become a separate brand in itself. Watershed deals and discounts available across products have hooked the interest of avid shoppers. This is also the time when the e-commerce giant sees business, unlike any other time of the year. This year, the e-shopping festival is taking place between October 16-21.
Anticipating the traffic during these days, e-commerce uses real-time analytics to predict the traffic and consumption patterns to optimise their systems. The AI-based solutions are used to detect and mitigate bots and resellers to stop them in the transaction funnel itself so as to give fair opportunities to authentic buyers. Interestingly, in 2019, Flipkart had deployed up to 340 automated guided vehicles (AGV) ahead of its pre-Diwali sale 2019; this becomes the first of kind robot-based sortation technology in India.
Flipkart-owned online fashion retailer Myntra has also geared up for its annual sale. As per media reports, this year Myntra is expected to have two times the traffic as compared to last year. Keeping this view, the company has upgraded its AI-based technology solutions to operate up to 20,000 orders per minute.
India’s third-largest e-commerce platform Snapdeal is also increasingly investing in AI-based technology. Just recently, in September, Snapdeal tested its first robot-assisted package delivery. Built-in partnership with mobility startup Ottomony IO, these robots from Snapdeal pick up the package for contactless delivery, keeping in view the raging pandemic situation. The company spokesperson also revealed in a release that they are investing heavily in AI and machine learning capabilities for future capabilities.
Offline Retail Stores
Not just online stores, offline brick-and-mortar stores are also incorporating technology into their daily operations. The automation is no longer only restricted to checkout. Bots are now being utilised to detect products going out of stock or approaching expiration dates. In such cases, these bots can send alerts to the management. This can be especially useful during busy days such as the festival season where every delay can run the business into massive losses. Further, retailers are adopting robotic process automation to make a transaction and to provide answers to customers’ queries.
Earlier this year, Reliance Trends, the fashion retail arm of the Reliance company, decided to use artificial intelligence and data analytics to the stock store-specific assortment. The company is also investing heavily in technology to go hyperlocal.
Several food and product delivery companies flourished during the country-wide lockdown which had severely disrupted the movement of people. This trend is expected to continue even throughout the festive season.
Delivery partners such as Swiggy, Zomato, and Dunzo have added a slew of AI-based technologies to make the logistics process much more efficient. Swiggy and Zomato are using the customer information and preferences data that has been accumulated over the years and applying it to machine learning to drive businesses. Interestingly, Swiggy uses data analytics to curate customer landing pages individually.
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I am a journalist with a postgraduate degree in computer network engineering. When not reading or writing, one can find me doodling away to my heart’s content.