The post-lockdown recovery period is a clear opportunity for retail to reboot, coming back smarter, more efficient, and therefore more profitable. Network automation is the key; networks are often overlooked in retail, and yet they can provide meaningful benefits, if managed efficiently.
The pandemic marked a watershed for retail, a point of no return without some changes to kickstart its growth. Considerable losses have been sustained by several retailers who may not be able to reopen their stores; those who make it through are going to focus on attracting customers back, whether to physical stores or online, often by offering discounts. This is a great short-term measure but not a sustainable long-term growth strategy.
Longer-term measures should focus on maximising network uptime, supporting automated, unmanned kiosks, for example. This avoids the store going offline and sales being lost, together with potential or disaffected customers. A network issue can take time to diagnose and resolve; applying automation can speed up the whole process, without requiring human intervention.
Online retail requires 24/7 availability and uptime. AI can help spot anomalies on the network and resolve any resulting issues, and service providers can use AI to rectify problems on the network too, via the Cloud. The proactivity in identifying and fixing network issues reduces wastage of time and resources, preventing degradation to customer service.
Store network upgrades can be delivered and managed remotely via the Cloud in a centralised manner, without the need for on-premise action and with all the stores on the network receiving prompt upgrades simultaneously.
Supply Chain and Customer Experience
Getting goods to stores and customers rapidly and efficiently, is an essential requirement of any successful retail business. Automation can help offer a more responsive user experience, by intelligently speeding-up online purchases, monitoring customer orders and notifying the entire supply chain to enable fast responses.
Ultimately, offering customers an easy and responsive shopping experience is what generates customer loyalty. Now is the right time to deploy the tools that give us an advantage to kickstart retail and ensure future growth.
For more information on AI please see The AI-Driven Enterprise has arrived.