How Computer Vision is Shaping the Future of Retail?

Computer Vision

Today, the use of advanced technologies such as AI, Big Data, and IoT, among others is already playing crucial roles in various industry verticals. Companies are increasingly capitalizing on these disruptive technologies to stay relevant and competitive in the marketplace. Retail is one such industry that involves highly-competitive market and retailers always seek to explore and deploy novel solutions to vie with their peers. This is why, retail businesses these days are started to travel around computer vision as a way to reduce risks, operational costs and optimize in-store traffic.

With rising customer expectations, leveraging new approaches has become indispensable for retailers. As more and more retail companies are turning to online shopping, implementing computer vision can transform their customer experiences. The technology has the potential to enable retailers to expedite business functions such as shelf management, data collection, payments, and compliance, among others.

Computer vision uses connected cameras to supervise retail stores, detect anomalies, suspicious behavior, and theft. By making use of this tech allows retail businesses to improve security in their stores.

Why Retailers are Implementing Computer Vision?

Customers nowadays demand the convenience of features like visual search or automated question answering while shopping in-store. In some cases, search queries are difficult to depict with words and this is where visual search comes in and is better suited to a more visual search experience, alleviating the precincts of text-based product discovery.

According to a Retail Info Systems (RIS) technology study titled “Retail Accelerates”, just 3 percent of merchandisers have already leveraged computer vision last year, while 40 percent have the plan to start or finish implementing this tech within the next 12 months.

Undeniably, Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers have made strong inroads into e-commerce. In 2017, e-commerce giant Amazon first entered the brick-and-mortar retail landscape by acquiring Whole Foods. A year later, Amazon began reinventing the retail experience when it launched its first cashier-less Amazon Go storefront in Seattle. Since then, the company has opened 18 additional stores in Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City, with plans to scale that number to 3,000 by 2021.

Amazon uses the computer vision technique and its computer vision-based mobile app, Go smartphone, helps customers what they want from the shelves and simply walk out the store, without ever stopping at a register or scanning a product. This is being done through ceiling-mounted vision systems that identify what products shoppers add to their bags and bill their account apps accordingly.

Apart from just tracking what people purchase at the register, computer vision technology is also used to report on what customers looked at but didn’t buy, providing additional insights into shopping patterns that might be constructive to store managers. Moreover, the technology can not only accelerate checkout but also improve its accuracy, and being able to more precisely detect the products that shoppers are purchasing helps retailers as well as the retail customer experience.