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Cognitive Automation in Retail Environment

3 Mins read

Retail organizations often find themselves spending too much time on repetitive tasks that, while important, are not adding the greatest amount of value to the operations. Such tasks include manually entering data and responding to simple queries among several other activities and processes. Most organizations would rather drive efforts towards boosting sales or growing their business.

Cognitive automation, through the use of AI and ML, holds forth the promise to bring much-needed intelligence to retail workflows. That can enable organizations to streamline complex business processes while driving cost savings and employee and customer satisfaction at the same time. By taking over tasks that otherwise demand manual effort, cognitive automation extends actions typically correlated with RPA, cutting down data entry and data processing time by a substantial margin. 

Why retail needs cognitive automation

The retail industry has been under tremendous pressure since the beginning of the pandemic. As shops were forced to close, the sector experienced a massive shift to online shopping, creating a strong market for e-commerce while also putting the existence of brick-and-mortar outlets in doubt. During all this disruption, retail organizations realized the need to streamline and standardize their processes, so employees could spend more time on tasks that really matter – instead of investing their time and effort in manual labor.

Cognitive automation, using AI and ML, can set the stage for improved operational efficiency as well as informed and intelligent decision-making. For retail organizations especially, it can automate a bunch of everyday processes across sales analytics, demand planning, marketing campaigns, product categorization, customer support, and more – improving not just employee productivity but also customer satisfaction. It can also empower more impactful decision-making based on deeper insights. With AI, retail organizations can also accelerate the execution of crucial decisions through smart automation.

Via the automation of repetitive and time-consuming user requests in sales and distribution, procurement, change management, and a variety of other areas of the business, retail organizations can more efficiently run their business and more easily achieve their year-on-year targets. With employees spending less time communicating with backend IT systems, retail organizations can also achieve a lot more with the same staff capacity. By accommodating both structured and unstructured data, cognitive automation aids in the automation of extremely complex processes.

For instance, Intelligent Decision Dimensions can turn routine processes into efficient self-services that free employees for mission-critical tasks requiring human expertise. At the same time, the automation of internal processes can bring down the time and effort employees spend in addressing repetitive support requests so they can shift their focus on value-adding tasks.

How modern AI solutions can help

Cognitive automation solutions like the SAP Conversational AI platform deliver state-of-the-art capabilities of modern AI along with enterprise-level security, reliability, and scalability.

With pre-delivered integration into SAP digital core, the solution offers retail organizations some unique capabilities for the retail landscape.

  • Empower users to automate tasks: SAP allows retail organizations to empower users to automate tasks through advanced self-service capabilities. With low-code/no-code development, users can build and monitor intelligent bots to automate tasks and workflows themselves – as and when required, and without relying on internal IT teams. 
  • Revolutionize user experiences: SAP deploys powerful conversational AI interfaces that enable retail organizations to streamline the day-to-day functioning of the business while also revolutionizing user experiences. Offering hybrid digital assistance and turnkey capabilities, SAP can connect users to the organization’s digital core, while also boosting customer lifetime value.
  • Enable a conversation-driven economy: SAP Conversational AI is a great tool to focus on enabling customer-driven conversations. By implementing chatbots that are well-versed with NLP, retail organizations can deliver personalized conversations at scale, enable outstanding customer and employee experiences, and take the lead in today’s conversation-driven economy.
  • Enhance sales and revenue: A cognitive automation solution like SAP Conversational AI allows employees to utilize every communication channel possible to drive engaging conversations with customers, while also seamlessly integrating with native SAP applications as well as other 3rd part systems in the retail ecosystem. Such integration improves enterprise-wide visibility and collaboration, enabling organizations to drive better sell-through of full-price products as well as of lesser-known categories – resulting in enhanced sales and revenue figures.

As the retail industry constantly advances, embracing the latest technological innovations is critical to redefining customer experiences. Cognitive automation via solutions like SAP Conversational AI can play a crucial role in reinventing retail processes and revamping traditional business models to meet fluctuating needs and evolving industry standards. Integrate cognitive automation into the core of your digital and business transformation strategies today to make eliminate mundane, error-prone tasks, enable intelligent business decisions, and strengthen your competitive position. Connect with us to know how to make the most of powerful AI technologies for your retail business.

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About author
Prasad Malluvalasa is a Principal of SAP Groupsoft. He works with client teams to arrive at enterprise solutions that are scalable, adaptable, and in synchronization with ever-changing business needs. With his SAP solution expertise, he helps enterprises effectively integrate SAP technology into the client’s business environment to achieve the expected business results.
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