These innovations show how AI and other advancements can relieve some of the pain points people face when going into a fitting room and deciding which items to buy. Retailers can also use the gathered data to make business decisions that help their locations thrive instead of falter.

AI Shopping Carts Simplify Shopping Experiences

When looking for ways to modernize their stores, retailers operating typically look for ways to align their offerings with shoppers’ needs. They might start offering more sizes or announce a loyalty program. Accepting credit cards is another wise move since only 12 percent of shoppers prefer paying with cash.

A startup called Caper hopes to combine card-based payments with AI in the stores that invest in its smart shopping carts. They’re already available in two New York City stores, and the carts recognize items placed in them, weigh items like produce, give recipe recommendations and help people find their way around a store.

When it comes to payment, there’s a card reader mounted on the front of the cart. After people use it, they get digital receipts sent to their smartphones.

Caper positions its high-tech product as a cheaper alternative to the mostly worker-free stores where people buy things fitted with sensors and don’t interact with cashiers. It’ll be interesting to see if the company helps this kind of AI-powered shopping take off.

A Visual-Based Search System Uses AI to Diversify Shopping Center Visits

Today’s shopping centers often have hundreds of stores to entice consumers. But, people are creatures of habit and commonly stick to only a small number of retailers when looking for desired products. Hammerson, a retail property group operating shopping centers in over a dozen countries, decided to try an AI-based app to encourage people to frequent more stores per visit.

The Style Seeker app allows people to take a picture of an item they want — whether on social media, in a magazine or from another source — then depend on AI to look through a shopping center’s inventory for relevant merchandise.

Through that approach, the app may urge a person to step into a store they hadn’t visited before. It could also save time browsers might otherwise waste in stores that don’t have what they need.

AI Could Help Physical Stores Survive

These examples show there are various ways to utilize AI in brick-and-mortar stores.

However, the shared thread between the options is that they could boost a store’s ability to stay in business as online stores compete for people’s preferences.