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The Lucrative Role of RPA in Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods Sectors
Retail is ever-evolving with a seismic paradigm shift from the brick-and-mortar model to the E-tailing boom in the past decade. The world is noticeably drifting towards digital shopping and cut-throat competition is rife in the E-tailing landscape because of the innovation applied to customer-centric processes, responsive applications, and flexible operations in every realm of retail.
Leveraging Processes in Retail and CPG
This new perspective has seen the advent of accelerated analytics, robotics, and machine learning, namely the application of RPA in retail and CPG. Substantial data chunks and datasets are being collected online through customer sign-ups or information gathering using mechanisms such as surveys, response emails, reviews, feedback systems, etc. This data is being used by RPA in retail through deep learning mechanisms to execute streamlined processes for the following:
- Mapping customer buying patterns to product management and ERP
- Shopping assistant bots to recommend products/services based on the customers’ search queries and past purchases/order history
- Retail decision-making using micro-targeting and predictive modeling
- Pragmatic AI that helps retailers in product design, forming efficient shipping strategies, product placements, and revivifying the selling strategies for stocked up products
- Using data science and Artificial Neural Networks to create consistency in the coherence between vendors, suppliers, retailers, and customers that is the backbone of E-retailing
- Automated initiatives for customer feedback, business networking, and customer recommendation-based digital marketing
- Auto-recommendation to customers that guide in making buying decisions and also help businesses implement cost-effective and responsive methods
- AI-based fraud detection that safeguards the customer’s digital information to reduce fraud rates
- Effective logistics tracking and faster delivery of products through the recommendation of the best route to customer location using GPS-based real-time operations
Reduces Paper Work
Automated processes in retail and CPG are true assets since paper-intensive back-office tasks like accounting, invoicing, POS billing, defect management, replacement, returns, and exchange management, performance analysis, etc. are done through application dashboards that capture important data and generate useful reports to improve sales and help the management plan their promotional activities. RPA-integrated SAP and CMS facilitate better control over these operations.
RPA Helps the Management in Devising Better Strategies
Everything ranging from products, offers, payment methods, logistics, interfaces, navigation, customer engagement models, end-of-season sales, and UI experiences are being constantly modified through the insights provided by highly-responsive AI-generated programs that have been developed in tandem with the dynamic trends in retail. AI, Deep learning, and Data Science truly set the stage for next-generation retailing and as a futuristic enterprise. The reasons why a product fails to perform or has a high return rate can help the retailers or CPG seller revise their sales strategy or replace the product with an alternative that has more potential. ERP management is an essential task of RPA systems in retail. From keeping track of price changes, billing, employee vacancies to calculating accounts payable and receivables, an ERP managed with RPA automates proves to be fruitful in reducing human efforts.
Inventory Management and Quality Control
Demand and supply planning was a hitherto cumbersome task that involves seeking and gathering chunks of data, standardizing and formatting them, running simulations, spotting exceptions, and finally confirming and communicating the derived information to the right departments, especially the inventory management team. These tasks need to be automated and streamlined using the data processing power of RPA. Adopting RPA technologies help with procuring the right volume of goods based on season and customer demand, aid in product segregation, maintenance, auditing, and quality control through multiple levels of checks and approvals, and compliance with standards for the product segment. Goods inwards and outwards need to be managed and status updates need to be maintained during different stages of transit from the warehouse to the destination. The integration of stock at the warehouse and sales at the POS is important while the RPA ensures that businesses are never out of resources.
Simplification of Order Management and Better Customer Experience
Placing an order online has been simplified by online portals today that have RPA running in the background. Restocking of products, customer recommendations, instant discounts, product performance or other customer reviews, alternate product suggestions, etc. are some of the features that are accelerating sales on online retail applications. Product segmentation and categorization, cart abandonment analysis and follow-ups, alternate offers for dissatisfied customers, online store structure planning, ease of use, secure payments, easy sign in and check out, etc. are some of the key areas where RPA has been influentially beneficial in Online retail. Customer support is also integral to the survival of a retail business whether it is online or offline. A business that incorporates 24×7 customer support while sending real-time updates to customers wins naturally over its competitors. With RPA incorporated into customer communication systems, companies can make their customer support more quick and convenient.
Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Efficient management of logistics from supplier to retailer or customer is key to the success of any retail business. Monitoring inventory levels and tracking scheduled shipments are activities that currently rely on robotic automation for reducing errors, mismanagement, and avoiding time delays. A supply chain is highly dependent on the back office processes. This aspect is being revolutionized by RPA accounting, auditability, and processing systems.
Automation of emails helps in effective and prompt departmental communication and the communication between customers, suppliers, and distributors. RPA helps in automating an email or text when an order is booked, shipped, delayed or delivered.
RPA monitors and aids the maintenance of inventory levels to ensure retailers have enough products and services to meet dynamic demands. Notifications are generated by internal monitors when products reach alarmingly low or threshold levels. Past orders analysis capacity of RPA can help determine optimum order levels so as to improve procurement while reducing costs and wastage.
Trade promotions are important especially for retailers to understand the latest trends, observe how competitors are performing, and determine how their products will perform in the current market. Currently, these trade promotions are being managed through spreadsheets or manual registers, thus, increasing the chances of errors. The data collection and analysis done in trade promotions is very expensive when done manually by human resources. The absence of accuracy can also prove to be expensive to investors. RPA has automated data collection, analysis, and generation of reports to simplify trade promotions. Read More >
Currently, analysis of why a product sold more in a certain geographic location or during a particular season can be analyzed through fundamental data management and analytics. The current trend in retail revolves around creating Business Intelligence (BI) Software around accelerating Conversion Rate Optimization, Demand Forecasting, and the increased use of machine learning in customer behavior analytics which is being actuated through RPA. A comparative study of multiple control designs through genetic algorithms and ANN is made and the best business model is selected to accentuate sales and implement branding initiatives. Read More >
IN STORE PLANNING
Customer demographics and preferences play an import role in product segmentation and in-store layout planning. Even for online retail, product categories are decided based on demands or search options are provided with filters to facilitate a better shopping experience for customers. If a retailer has multiple stores, then, a good RPA system can help the management do performance analysis of each store to determine which the best and worst-performing stores are and modify their product supply and sales strategy accordingly. Display of products, rack ordering, product volume, etc. can be rightly determined with an RPA evaluation system. Read More >
NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION
If a retail business wants to introduce a new product line or individual products to the local consumers, an RPA-integrated Retail system helps coordinate the efforts between R&D, supplier, marketing, and sales departments to get the work done. Customer surveys and opinions can be automated and results can be used to derive useful statistical information. Adjustments in pricing, inventory, supply, or packaging can be made to fine-tune the introduction and acceptance processes for new products. Read More >
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Custom use case:
Just like human beings, these robots make use of the user interface for gathering data and interacting with applications to perform high-volume, tedious, monotonous and manual tasks. This helps businesses to shift their focus on more strategic and revenue-generating activities. Just like human beings, these robots make use of the user interface for gathering data and interacting with applications to perform high-volume.