Life as we know it has suffered major changes since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, everything was very drastic and severe. Even going outside your house was forbidden. Fortunately, the society has found a way to function and to adjust to the new reality. However, everything came at a price. New ways of doing things had to be found, investments had to be done and even sacrifices, as from a financial point of view, the past year and almost a half has not been easy for no one.

One of the domains that were impacted the most is the retail business. Shops were and still are considered to be one of the most dangerous places under the circumstances, since crowds were easy to be formed inside a closed venue. That is why for many months and in many countries, shopping centers were forced to close. On the other hand, this difficult situation has forced everyone to come up with solutions. In the case of retail, A.I. solutions were the key to making shopping centers safer and available to the public again.

Two key elements had to be adjusted. A.I. came to help

Since this is a global pandemic, the impact has been colossal for everything involving commerce. What was once a clearly established mechanism, the supplying process had to be changed and adjusted in order to avoid potential crises. In lack of a good supply mechanism, delays are granted and being out-of-stock during a pandemic would be horrible for any shop. Not to mention the potential queues that could be formed for essential products, once they are available again. Bottom line is that retailers had to adjust, prepare and find solutions. The two main threats were:

Time management

Because of the restrictions applied globally, the whole supply process was slowed down and planning had to be adjusted. Also, the initial impact of the pandemic was so powerful that it completely changed the consumers behavior. People started to panic and buy essential products, which were going out-of-stock very quickly. From this point of view, retailers have learned that what was never an issue before became one now. So they had to find ways to always be one step forward when it came to having the stock well adjusted. From this point of view, A.I. solutions came in very handy, as they helped the retailers keep better track of stocks and be alerted once a product was getting close to being out-of-stock. Solutions such as those provided by AiVA made it easier for retailers to avoid chaos and to make their moves right on time.

Customer management

Another important issue that had to be sorted was the one concerning the crowds. The reason why many shopping centers were closed was to avoid having crowds being formed in closed spaces. But solutions were found. And most of it was thanks to the A.I. solutions. By having the queues monitored, it was possible for stores to have checkout counters opened exactly as soon and as much as needed. Also, thanks to the A.I. solutions, the number of customers inside a shopping center can now be controlled and limited. Counting hundreds of thousands of people would be impossible without technology’s help.

Safety comes first during a pandemic, but retail has to keep moving forward. Fortunately, thanks to A.I., retailers were able to adjust and manage their supplies and customers properly.