The tech giant is betting retailers want AI that can impact this year’s bottom line.
If you stopped by Google’s booth at NRF’s Big Show earlier this month, you probably had the same experience we did: a space so packed it was hard to get near the shelves! Retailers and reporters (👋) were there to check out Google’s newly unveiled in-store tool: a camera-enabled, AI-powered shelf checker solution.
The retailer-focused AI pulls from Google’s giant database—billions of items—to identify products and shelf space, feeding retailers with real-time visibility into where restocks are needed and what shelves look like.
AI is something of a buzzword at the moment, with tools like ChatGPT and digital image generator DALL-E making headlines in just about every industry. But the managing director of retail industry solutions at Google, Amy Eschliman, says the shelf-checking AI has something the others don’t: immediate impact on the bottom line.
“Retail is, in many ways, at an inflection point with their use of AI,” Eschliman told Retail Brew at NRF. “We’re seeing retailers increasingly look towards, ‘How can I make a near-term impact with AI?’ How can I really either drive and improve customer experience, or think about my operations in a different way where I can make an impact this fiscal year?”
Mind the store: Now, if an item isn’t on a shelf because it’s out of stock due to global supply-chain issues, camera vision and AI probably won’t help retailers refill their supply. But shelf visibility isn’t just a user-experience challenge; it’s also a key part of the frontline grocery worker experience, Eschliman said.