You may have heard the letters “AI” or “AI Technology” frequently used in the media. From opening your phone with Face ID to interacting with chatbots to solve a problem, the use of AI technology is increasing. But is this just a buzzword? Or will it be something that changes aspects of life forever? This Knowledge Centre article will delve into what AI is, how AI will develop, and the pros and cons of AI in pet retail.
First things first, what is AI? AI is an abbreviation for Artificial Intelligence. According to the Oxford Dictionary, AI is defined as the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks usually requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and translation between languages. While AI has existed for a while, recent advances in technology and data have meant that AI technicians can build systems capable of completing complex tasks.
AI will develop over time, not just for humans on a personal level but for businesses too. Companies use AI more frequently than you realise. From marketing to customer service and product design, the possibilities are endless. But how can pet retailers utilise AI? And what are the pros and cons of AI in pet retail?
We traditionally know pet retailers for offering a unique shopping experience, being knowledgeable about their products, understanding pet needs, and much more. Many pet retailers may wonder if AI can assist them in enhancing their offerings to their customers. This section of the article looks at how AI can benefit pet retailers.
Initially, for some AI technology, it can be costly to implement. However, over time there can be many cost-saving benefits. As discussed above, if you have a more efficient business, you can ultimately satisfy your customers’ needs more effectively. For many pet shops, budgeting and spending wisely is key to success. Often to assist in promoting their shop offering, pet retailers hire professional photographers, graphic designers and animators. This can come at a cost and occasionally not have the desired effect that was initially set out. With AI, creating images and assets by providing your requirements is now possible. The AI will then create suitable photos based on your keywords to aid your promotional material, both physically and online. A win-win for pet retailers looking to save money.
All businesses will generate data regardless of size. Large corporations hire data analysts to provide valuable insights and identify improvement areas. However, with the increasing presence of AI, we are seeing larger businesses using AI to assist them.
For many pet shops, hiring data analysts is not an option due to the significant costs that come with this. Currently, many pet shop owners will identify trends in the market by reading industry magazines. With the increasing presence of AI, pet retailers can use this to analyse their own data and help with forecasting and predictions.
As you have read, AI has many benefits in pet retail. But there are also risks involved when looking to utilise the technology. This section will focus on the challenges of AI in pet retail.
Building a good brand identity plays a significant role in differentiating your business from the competition in the market. It visually represents the core values and communicates what the pet shop brand is about. Many pet retailers use AI to assist with content on their websites, social media, emails and newsletters. This can be beneficial because it can help to improve the speed at which the content is created. However, AI relies on data for content, meaning that the tone of voice and brand identity can become lost quickly. As a pet retailer, you want customers to connect with your brand and having lots of AI-generated can put them off. According to an AI-powered customer service platform called Tidio, only 36.9% of readers were convinced that AI-generated text was created by a human. This shows that there is still some way to go before it can gain people’s trust.
A big concern for many with the use of AI is ethics. As highlighted in this article, AI relies on data to perform; this can sometimes include the personal details of people being stored. In addition, there are ethical concerns related to the nature of the content AI creates and the data it pulls. We have always relied on humans to use their judgement regarding privacy. AI, on the other hand, may see simply as content to post without considering any implications that may occur. AI is not concerned with people’s data protection, only with using the data to fulfil a task. Regarding pet retailers looking to implement AI, the customers’ data privacy is paramount.
To summarise, AI will develop in modern society. Believe it or not, we already use AI more than we think, from opening your phone with Face ID to interacting with chatbots to solve a problem. Even Spotify, Amazon and Netflix use AI extensively to help with search or personalised recommendations. AI will only develop over time, not just for humans on a personal level but for businesses too.
For pet retailers, there are several ways that they can utilise AI to assist them with the day-to-day running of the business.
Firstly, AI represents an excellent opportunity to improve efficiency because it can conduct a specific task much faster than a human. Secondly, AI can save costs for pet retailers in the long term because they can minimise the amount of work that they outsource to photographers, graphic designers, blog writers etc. In addition, AI is great for content creation. Many pet retailers have blogs on their websites or social media; if you require ideas, this can be helpful. Without a doubt, another pro of AI is to identify trends in the market. Pet retailers can use AI to monitor if there has been an increase in sales and apply effective stock management tools.
Whilst AI has many advantages, there are also some disadvantages that pet retailers should be conscious of.
When it comes to producing content, it can be very robotic and lacks authenticity and emotion. This is a significant consideration for pet retailers because building a community is a large part of the shopping experience. Loss of brand identity is another challenge because AI relies on data for content, meaning customers may find it hard to connect with your brand without emotion. Some analysts believe that AI will lead to changes in job roles; this could be true for pet shops that look to implement self-checkout tills instead of a worker at the till. Finally, many ethical concerns surround AI, mainly regarding the storage of data and how this is used to form AI content.
Rajnerowicz, K. (2023, July 6th). Human vs AI Test: Can We Tell the Difference Anymore? Retrieved from Tidio: https://www.tidio.com/blog/ai-test/
Article written by Matthew Aiken