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10 Computer Vision Applications in Retail

May 27, 2022

Computer vision is among the leading innovations in the retail industry. It combines several technologies like AI and image recognition systems to track what is happening in a store.

What is computer vision?

Computer vision combines cameras, software, and AI to empower systems to “see” and identify objects. It uses deep learning to train the neural networks that guide systems in analyzing their images. Once fully trained, computer vision models are able to recognize objects, detect and recognize people and even track their movements.

How is Computer Vision transforming the retail industry? 

Computer vision enables retailers to build customer loyalty through improved in-store experience. It can speed up the buying process by analyzing the buying habits of customers. The data gotten by computer vision can be used to optimize the layout of store shelves in order to streamline purchases. It is also a solution of choice to improve self-service in stores and can help prevent fraud and theft. Automated visual inspection installed in the aisles and at checkout will detect shoplifters faster than current devices. Computer Vision can be used to track movement in a store and help retailers set out routes around their stores that feel natural for the shopper while maintaining safe distances between individuals.

Applications of computer vision in retail

1. Automated payment

With the use of computer vision in retail, you don’t have to wait in a long queue to pay. Products can be monitored using a combination of sensors and computer vision. In addition, they can also recognize the customer and automatically charge them after they leave the store.

2. In-store advertisement

Computer vision in retail can also be used to identify certain customers when they enter the store and send them special discounts. They can also get recommendations on what to buy, depending on their purchase history.

3. Stock management

Computer vision can be used to detect empty shelves and reduce the replenishment period, this increases product availability on the shelf. This solution can also verify shelf price, which is often a time-consuming manual operation, minimizing pricing anomalies.

4. Customer advisory

In the near future, CV algorithms will be so advanced that they will help you find the perfect product or an accessory matching your new dress. They have the ability to become fully-operational customer advisors.

5. Virtual Mirrors

Virtual mirrors may become the central focus of personalization and customer experience enhancement in retail. A virtual mirror is basically a mirror with a display behind the glass. It is powered by computer vision cameras and AR and can display a wide range of contextual information which helps buyers connect with the brand better.

6. Crowd Analysis

Computer vision can correctly count retail shoppers and study customer behavior in total. Retailers will be able to track the customer journeys throughout the physical store, calculate the total time spent with each product, and guarantee that the store follows all standardized protocols.

7. Self-checkout

Self-checkout has already solidified its importance for brick-and-mortar stores. Customer service automation is becoming a priority these days so companies need to update their workflow to make them more efficient.

8. Cashierless Stores

As revolutionary as it may sound, cashier-less stores are paving the way for a more streamlined, AI-assisted shopping experience in stores across the world. Computer Vision is being tested out in various retail stores to completely replace the need for human staff.

9. Inventory Management

By automating inventory cycle counts with computer vision, retail businesses can update their inventory system in real-time to develop an omnichannel retail experience. 

10. Optimize marketing campaigns using behavioral analytics

Systems can monitor facial expressions and identify how a customer feels, giving marketers a way to know how people respond to specific goods.

Computer vision is beyond a future trend or concept, it already has applications in today's world. It's current use in retail shows that it has the potential to absolutely transform the customer experience while optimizing other areas of retail operations such as inventory management, theft prevention, insights on marketing, store layouts, the possibilities are limitless. Companies who have integrated computer vision into their workflow have recorded positive results and these improvements can only get better.

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