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Overcoming Roadblocks Retailers Face When Implementing AI

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Overcoming Roadblocks Retailers Face When Implementing AI


It might feel as though artificial intelligence has reached a critical mass, but it hasn’t. In fact, it’s only starting to make an impact in some sectors, including retail. But, according to findings collected by KPMG, retail AI has room to grow — and a lot of it. And by 2027, AI in retail will balloon to $19.9 billion from around $7.3 billion in predicted spending in 2022, per Meticulous Research.

All this, and only half of the retail professionals believe they’ve scratched the surface of what’s possible when the technology meets in-person shopping. So why the lag time despite AI’s potential? Blame it on the confusion around AI in general.

What AI Is — and Isn’t

Many people don’t understand AI conceptually. This leaves them less likely to invest in the emerging technology, even as they see it working for e-commerce. Or, they feel like AI is limited to robots that stock shelves.

AI is more straightforward than what many retailers imagine, though.

In essence, AI algorithms are mere “if-then” statements. As long as outcome parameters are set, the programming collects, evaluates, and uses data appropriately. And if-then situations happen all the time in retail.

An Example of “if-then” in retail

Say a grocery store manager stands at the checkout lines. When more than three customers are backlogged, the manager opens a new register to make customers happier.

In other words, there are hundreds, if not more, issues that arise on the retail scene that have to be addressed by managers to keep the customers happy and the process running smoothly.

With AI, you could eliminate the need for the manager to stand around keeping things moving. Instead, store cameras or sensors could do the job instead. That way, the managers can take care of other business during business hours and beyond. At the same time, the data collected by the cameras could go through more if-then statements.

If the store is busy every day at 3:00 p.m. and customers are angrily waiting in line, then we need more cashiers at 3:00 p.m. each day.

Making Data-Driven Decisions

Let’s take the situation a step further. The AI sensor could store incoming data and measure the average wait time for customers. Those averages could then help the manager know when employees were most needed to care for overloaded checkout lines. When do the most clean-up situations occur?

There’s practically no limit to the doors that AI software can open.

In Australia, AI fashion booths are gauging customers’ body language and moods to make clothing suggestions. At Starbucks, AI is being used to track bestselling brews and personalize special offers. Which special offers do customers request and receive the most?

Other retail firms are improving their stockroom management, tasking machines with “heavy-lifting” in warehouses. Some stores do a deep-dive by seeing whether customers spend more when they turn right or left upon entering the store. If you know which isle your customers spend the most time on, you can plan better for the spend on displays on those isles as well as promotional coupons.

Gearing up for AI in Retail — Roadblocks Retailers Face

One thing’s for sure: AI can be a powerful retail tool. However, it’s not without roadblocks. Fortunately, most obstacles to adopting AI technologies can be overcome by asking (and answering) a few questions.

1. Why do we want to use AI?

This might sound like a trick question. It’s not. It’s an ethical one. Retailers need to be clear on why they want from AI, and their responses need to make sense. Case in point: If they’re using AI to improve the customer retail experience, — great. On the other hand, if they’re driving sales through AI-powered fearmongering, that’s inappropriate.

Everyone needs to have a bedrock of morality regarding AI’s use. Its potential for good is so vast. But when it’s used for the wrong reasons, it can do great harm. Therefore, the correct reply to this question needs to be centered on service and safety.

2. Which of our processes could benefit from AI?

You can’t explore all the possibilities of AI if you don’t understand where your bottlenecks are. Consider when I was 15 and worked at a fast-food place. I changed the marquee sign regularly. How did I know what to write? Someone at corporate would fax a companywide memo to my franchise owner. Then, my manager would review the fax and give it to me. Not precisely a streamlined system, right?

With AI, one person can schedule a digital sign to go live or even program the sign to change based on anything from the time of day to weather conditions — to on-the-spot sales.

When you’re considering implementing AI in your retail store, start by thinking about what your algorithms would look like in analog fashion — get help if you need to — don’t miss this opportunity. For example, where do you collect and disseminate information routinely? Those are probably areas that could be sped up if you handed them over to AI.

3. Who should help us implement our AI solutions?

When considering this question, did you automatically think, “an AI expert or IT person?” That’s what most retailers assume, but it’s not true. The best person to bring in to help you with your AI applications is an operational efficiency expert. This type of professional will strive to understand your business processes and store, in order to design a satisfactory AI solution for your if-then statements.

You’ll know you’ve found the right partner when you’re getting hit with all sorts of additional questions.

These questions will likely include inquiries about what kind of information you currently collect, which digital processes you might be able to automate, and how you intend to use AI-gathered data to make improvements to your retail systems that are already in place.

Looking Forward

It’s hard to tell how far AI in retail will go. Nevertheless, it’s clear that it’s bound to change the way consumers shop and how stores go about their everyday business. So even if you’ve delayed embracing AI retail solutions, now is the time to let go of your hesitancy and jump on the bandwagon.

Image Creditt: markus spiske; unsplash; thank you!

Scott T. Reese

Chief Technology Officer at Harbor Retail

Scott T. Reese is chief technology officer at Harbor Retail, a design + build firm where he helps bring Harmonic Retail™ to life with intuitive Self-Healing Technology™ and other future-forward digital integrations.

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Top 10 Tips to Improve Your Website Traffic

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Top 10 Tips to Improve Your Website Traffic


Are you looking for ways to increase your website traffic? If so, you’re in the right place!

In this post, we will discuss tips that will help drive more visitors to your site.

Traffic is essential for any business – without it, your website won’t be able to generate sales or leads.

1. Have a Business Blog

A business blog is one of the best ways to generate traffic to your website.

By creating quality content relevant to your target audience, you will be able to attract readers interested in what you have to say.

Not only will this help you increase traffic, but it will also help you build relationships with potential customers.

Here are a few tips for creating a successful business blog:

  • Write quality content that is interesting and informative
  • Use keyword-rich titles that will help your posts rank in search engines
  • Promote your blog articles through social media and email marketing
  • Engage with your readers by responding to comments and questions

2. Create Engaging Visuals

People are visual creatures and are more likely to remember something if an image accompanies it.

When you create blog posts, include images, infographics, or videos to help your readers understand and remember your content.

In addition to using visuals in your blog posts, you can also use them in your email marketing and social media campaigns.

By creating engaging visuals, you will be able to increase traffic to your website as well as improve your conversion rate.

Here are a few tips for creating engaging visuals:

  • Use high-quality images that are relevant to your content
  • Make sure your visuals are attention-grabbing and easy to understand
  • Include a call-to-action with each visual
  • Test different visuals to see what works best for your audience
  • Use a mixture of visuals in your marketing campaigns

3. Leverage the Power of Video

Video is one of the most powerful tools you can use to generate traffic to your website.

People love watching videos and are likelier to watch a video than read a blog post or article.

In addition, videos are more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content.

If you want to increase traffic to your website, start creating videos that are relevant to your target audience.

Here are a few tips for creating successful videos:

  • Create videos that are informative and entertaining
  • Keep your videos short and to the point
  • Optimize your videos for search engines
  • Promote your videos through social media and email marketing
  • Post them on platforms like YouTube and Vimeo
  • Engage with your viewers by responding to comments and questions

4. Target Long-Tail Keywords

If you want to generate traffic from search engines, you need to target the right keywords.

Most businesses make the mistake of targeting short-tail keywords that are highly competitive.

While there is nothing wrong with targeting these keywords, you will have a much easier time ranking for long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific, making them less competitive.

For example, if you sell shoes, a short-tail keyword would be “shoes.”

A long-tail keyword would be “women’s size 11 black dress shoes.”

Here are a few tips for targeting long-tail keywords:

  • Use keyword research tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Moz Keyword Explorer
  • Identify what your target audience is searching for
  • Create content that is relevant to your target keywords
  • Include your target keywords in your title, meta tags, and header
  • Use keyword-rich titles that will help your posts rank in search engines

5. Build Backlinks

Backlinks are links from other websites to your website.

They are an essential ranking factor in search engines and can also help you generate traffic.

The more backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank in search results.

In addition, backlinks can help you build relationships with other webmasters and influencers.

Start building backlinks if you want to generate traffic and improve your search engine ranking.

Here are a few tips for building backlinks:

  • Identify websites that are relevant to your niche
  • Reach out to webmasters and ask for links
  • Create informative and engaging content that other webmasters will want to link to
  • Submit your website to directories and web listings
  • Participate in forums and discussion groups

6. Use Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using influencers to promote your brand.

An influencer is someone with a large following on social media or another online platform.

They can help you generate traffic, leads, and sales.

To use influencer marketing, start by identifying relevant influencers in your industry.

Then reach out to them and ask if they would be interested in promoting your brand.

Here are a few tips for using influencer marketing:

  • Identify relevant influencers in your industry
  • Reach out to them and ask if they would be interested in promoting your brand
  • Create content that is shareable and relevant to their audience
  • Offer them something in return for promoting your brand
  • Monitor your results and adjust your strategy as needed

7. Build an Email List

Email marketing is a great way to generate traffic and leads.

Email marketing lets you stay in touch with your target audience and promote your brand.

In addition, email marketing can help you build relationships with your customers and prospects.

If you want to use email marketing to generate traffic, start by building an email list.

To build an email list, you must collect your target audience’s email addresses.

There are a few ways to do this:

  • Use sign-up forms on your website and blog
  • Include a call-to-action in your emails
  • Offer something of value in exchange for email addresses
  • Be sure to include a call-to-action in your emails so that your recipients know what you want them to do.
  • Make sure your emails are informative and engaging.

8. Use Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is great for generating website traffic, building relationships, and improving your search engine ranking.

When you guest blog, you write an article for another website in your industry.

This gives you exposure to their audience and can help you build relationships with other webmasters.

In addition, guest blogging can help you generate traffic and improve your search engine ranking.

Here are a few tips for using guest blogging:

  • Identify websites that accept guest blogs
  • Reach out to them and pitch your ideas
  • Write informative and engaging articles
  • Include a call-to-action in your bio

9. Use Social Media

Social media is great for generating traffic, building relationships, and improving your search engine ranking.

When you use social media, you can connect with your target audience and promote your brand.

In addition, social media can help you build relationships with other webmasters and influencers.

Here are a few tips for using social media:

  • Identify the social media platforms that are relevant to your niche
  • Create informative and engaging content
  • Engage with other users on the platform
  • Include links to your website in your profile
  • Monitor your results and adjust your strategy as needed
  • Use hashtags to reach a wider audience
  • Participate in groups and forums
  • Use social media ads

10. Track, Analyze, and Repeat

The most essential part of any traffic-building strategy is to track your results.

You need to know what is working and what is not.

Without tracking, you will not be able to improve your results.

There are a few things you should track:

  • website traffic
  • leads
  • sales
  • conversions

To track your results, you need to use web analytics tools.

Many web analytics tools are available, but Google Analytics is the most popular.

Once you have set up tracking, you need to analyze your results.

Look at your web traffic and see where it is coming from.

Then look at your leads and sales.

Finally, look at your conversion rate.

Once you have analyzed your results, you need to adjust your strategy.

Make changes to your website, content, and marketing campaigns.

Then track your results again and repeat the process.

Final Words

Website traffic is essential if you want to succeed online.

There are many ways to get more visitors, but not all of them are effective.

To build traffic that converts, you need to focus on creating shareable content, building relationships, and tracking your results.

Following these tips can generate the traffic you need to succeed.

What are your favorite traffic-building strategies? Let us know in the comments below.

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RUSSIA’S DEFAULT IS A REALITY AS GRACE MONTH IS OVER

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ValueWalk


Russia’s default has finally arrived on its sovereign debt in foreign currency for the first time in more than a century. Moscow has been unable to pay the interest on two bonds in dollars despite having enough foreign exchange reserves to do so. Investors assure that they have not received payment after the grace month.

Russia’s Default

Russia is showing the consequences of the sanctions the West has massively imposed on it after the war against Ukraine.

 

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For months, the country has managed to find ways and shortcuts to wade through the measures that tried to isolate the government of Vladimir Putin and make the country fall into technical default. In the end, the West has achieved its goal, albeit somewhat later than expected.

Although Russia had the capacity to meet this payment, leading economic indicators —the composite PMI sank in March and remain below 50, indicating that the economy is contracting— reveal that the country is facing one of the major economic crises of recent decades.

With double-digit inflation and several leading companies on the way out, Russia will face a deep recession and perhaps years of economic stagnation.

The one-month grace period expired on Sunday on around $100 million of trapped interest payments due May 27, a deadline that is considered an event of default if not paid in the correct currency, according to Bloomberg.

Data

Russia’s default is also backed by other data. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals that the Russian Government had a debt of around $40 billion in hard currency at the end of 2021 —a relatively small amount.

Although the total foreign debt exceeds $470 billion, only part of that amount is in foreign currency and a smaller part is still a liability to the Russian Government.

This is a clear symptom of the rapid transformation that the country is facing, both financially and economically. Russia will have to go on without the foreign capital flows that have historically helped finance investments in emerging countries.

The nation’s Eurobonds have been trading on the secondary market at very low levels since early March, while the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves remain frozen. Russia’s largest banks are cut off from the global financial system, leaving the country in isolation.

Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.

Image Credit: by Happy Donut; Pexels; Thank you!

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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses

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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses


Believe it or not, online shopping has become a massive trend nowadays, and its popularity is increasing daily. Of course, we were already in the era of digitalization, but this entire pandemic situation has made eCommerce industries flourish more than expected in the last few years.

Nowadays, everything is digitized as people buy food, groceries, cosmetics, clothes, and even electronic gadgets online. This digital revolution has made it easier for creative founders to convert their dreams and ideas into a waking reality.

Old ways and patterns of handling businesses are changing every day, and business owners need to adapt to the fluctuating market trends. And in this, some trending eCommerce businesses have taken this eCommerce industry to a whole new level. They are ruling and conquering like a boss.

Here in this blog, we will be discussing such inspiring eCommerce businesses. So, keep reading to find out more and cope for the better.

What are The Types of eCommerce Businesses?

E-commerce businesses are not limited to one particular business model. Instead, there are various sorts of eCommerce business models as per their business offerings. So have a look at some of the highly prevalent eCommerce models.

  • Business to Consumer (B2C): The process of selling from business to customer comes under B2C type E-commerce.
  • Business to Business (B2B): The buying and selling process between businesses comes under the B2B type of E-commerce.
  • Direct to Consumer(D2C): This new idea of selling directly to end customers without the involvement of any retailer comes under D2C type E-commerce.
  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C): Consumer-to-consumer sales on platforms like eBay, Etsy, Fiver, and many more come under C2C type E-commerce.
  • Consumer to Business (C2B): An individual selling their services to different businesses comes C2B type E-commerce.

Examples of Successful E-commerce Businesses

1. Warby Parker

Warby Parker is popularly known for producing designer, reliable and inexpensive frames for eyeglasses. An MBA student, Neil Blumenthal, and 3 of his friends launched this eCommerce company in 2010. They proposed the idea in 2008, and took nearly two years to implement.

Their idea of business was something very essential at that period because Luxottica (Another eyewear brand) was one of the few companies that used to sell designer and reliable frames, but they were costly as compared to Warby Parker.

Warby has a free try-on policy with free shipping and numerous return offers, and this is what the brand has adopted to stand out from the crowd and appeal to its customers.

2. Leesa

An online Mattress retailer is helping people sleep better and comforting their sleep cycle. The whole idea behind this business model was to help people realize the importance of sleep and how an adequate amount of sleep can increase their productivity and quality of life.

Their first-ever mattress was “Universal Adaptive feel.” It was so flexible that it could easily adjust to all body types.

The 100-night free trial policy worked well for their customers and made the business model a huge success. Leesa had traditional showrooms at first, but with time they also opened online stores.

3. Modcloth

ModCloth is an eCommerce company launched in 2002, selling women’s clothing worldwide. They sell fun and quirky clothes that are not so exclusive but are comfortable and budget-friendly.

Everything about their store is creative and exciting – which customers nowadays love. The copies describing their clothes are also fun to read because every product has a name and story behind it – now, this is something very catchy.

ModCloth became a brand within a few years of its launch because of its targeted marketing strategy. They know who their target audience is and what requirements they have. Knowing this has made their business reach exceptional heights within a short period of time.

4. Amazon

Mostly we know Amazon was launched in 1995 as an online bookstore and has been flourishing since then. Now amazon is not limited to books anymore because now it sells almost everything you can think of. From groceries to clothes and even jewelry, Amazon has it all.

Right now, Amazon is one of the largest eCommerce stores by revenue worldwide. Though amazon started with no competitors, now it has Walmart as one of its biggest competitors. Last year Amazon made a revenue of $470 billion.

Amazon has adopted a stellar marketing strategy, which is targeting the right customer and offering products at comparatively lower rates.

5. Shopify

Shopify is a SaaS (Software-as-a-service) company that provides all the tools needed by a business to run its eCommerce business smoothly. It helps them with website building, marketing, payment processing, financial tracking, and everything in between.

It is a tech infrastructure that supports more than 2 million merchants and various operations ranging from mom-and-pop businesses to global brands. Shopify made $389 million in revenue in 2016 to $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021.

The profitability of Spotify has been improving with time because, just like every SaaS business, it has also scaled up.

6. LARQ

LARQ is a business model that makes self-cleaning water bottles that are reusable, rechargeable, and also have some advanced features. For example, it has UVC technology used to eliminate viruses & bacteria from water bottles.

LARQ has the initiative to provide clean water to everyone. They also raised $1.7 million for the same. In addition, LARQ donates 1% of its earnings to help maintain clean water worldwide.

The product was so unique and exciting that it attracted numerous customers. As a result, many environmentalists and aware citizens switched to these LARQ bottles and saved their money from buying single-use water bottles.

7. Beer Cartel

Beer Cartel, as the name suggests, is Australia’s number one beer subscription service. It is said that some ideas sell themselves; the same was the case with this one.

Beer Cartel sells beers from all around the world to their subscribers at their doorstep. This online store gives people the freedom to select their unique beer bottles at a price better than traditional stores.

One of the significant reasons for Beer Cartel’s success is that they offer exclusive taste under budget. In addition, they have a wide range of varieties that keeps their customers interested and coming back.

8. Berlin Packaging

Berlin Packaging is well known for sourcing, designing, and even distributing containers and closures for companies like fortune and various family-owned startups.

They have always provided products at a lower cost to their customers to increase the overall efficiency of their enterprise. One interesting fact about it is that it is not a new startup; it is 80 years old, in fact. But Berlin Packaging has somehow still managed to bring their customers the latest and top-quality beer.

They started this eCommerce business model to keep up with the times, which worked out well for them.

9. Bonobos

With the introduction of eBay, Bonobos knew that the eCommerce business was getting more competitive with each passing day. So, they introduced a unique business model targeting only a super-specific audience.

This strategy of narrowing down to a particular audience helped them make loyal customers who also flourished their business in the long run. Bonobo’s success made everyone realize that focusing on the competition is not good for your business’s health.

They should focus on the value they provide to their customers, and they will reach greater heights of success.

10. TOMS

The name of the company seems fascinating, right? Well, so is their initiative. TOMS is an eCommerce company that sells its customers quality shoes that are reliable, comfortable, designer, and inexpensive.

What separates TOMS from other similar eCommerce is that with every transaction, they will help one in need. Yes! Not only this, but they also run various social media campaigns with hashtags like #withoutshoes and many more to stand out from the crowd.

Everything about their business model is catchy and interesting, making it easier for them to drive more traffic to their online shop.

What are the Biggest Benefits of eCommerce?

Shopping in the comfort of home: eCommerce has made shopping easier and more convenient for our customers. Buying and selling things is a child’s play nowadays. As a result, our purchases are simpler, faster, less time-consuming, and not so hectic.

Markets are globalized: Now, you can shop from anywhere around the world at the convenience of your home. The impact of eCommerce on the planet can easily be visible. There are no limitations or barriers to buying from a different state or country.

Building startups is not so expensive anymore! Yes, in this era of digitalization, anyone can set up their online store at a meager cost. In addition, the operating cost is minimal because both buyers and sellers are now digital.

Conclusion

Technologies are evolving rapidly because of this, eCommerce businesses have to see a lot of changes frequently.

If you have an eCommerce business that is not growing as expected, you must adapt to new business models that add value to your customer’s life and your e-commerce services (my business: krishaweb dot com).

Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Parth Pandya

“Nothing Is Impossible” – is a quote that guided me to climb up the toughest peak of my professional journey. Having a great zeal for excellence and ambitious nature to reach the peak, leads me uninterrupted to provide the best content to all the visitors. I like to read and share contents which are related to Technology Solution and Digital Marketing.

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