Technology Record - Issue 32: Spring 2024

145 cashier-free experience for customers. The stores use camera technology from Microsoft partner AiFi, combined with sensors and AI, to identify when customers pick products from shelves. Following implementation of Microsoft Smart Store Analytics, Choice Market was able to make improvements to store layout. A heat map of the store showed that customers were entering in the afternoon and heading to the burrito area in search of Choice Market’s breakfast burritos, one of the chain’s most popular items, but leaving empty-handed. This led Choice Market to increase breakfast burrito production and move the in-store display to be more eye-level. Sales increased by 50 per cent almost overnight. Myntra, one of India’s biggest online fashion retailers, has developed its own AI assistant on Azure OpenAI Service. The chatbot can provide customers with recommendations regardless of whether they search using specific key words or vague ideas such as inspiration for an upcoming holiday. This means users can communicate with the tool naturally. The AI assistant is also able to recognise region-specific festivals such as Pongal and Onam, and can understand languages like Hindi, further breaking down cultural barriers for its customers. “This is the first time we have a solution for solving the unsolved ‘search’ problem in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle industry and it is live for customers at scale,” says Arit Mondal, director of product management at Myntra. Easing the adoption process Whilst many large organisations have started taking steps towards this next stage in digital transformation, there are many small and medium-sized enterprises that may still find the concept of adopting AI in the workplace daunting. Microsoft is committed to helping them throughout the digital transformation journey. “The products and solutions we offer are based on three categories: adopt, extend and customise,” said Edmonds. “So, for instance, an organisation that doesn’t have the need or use case to develop their own custom copilot can adopt one of our ready-to-use copilots, which are built into a variety of our products from Office 365 to GitHub. “Alternatively, a different organisation may be looking for a solution that is more tailored to the needs of the business, which is where they can take any of those existing copilots and extend them through plugins and extensions. Lastly, an organisation with a more ambitious strategy could customise and create their own copilots through either our Azure AI Studio or Microsoft Copilot Studio.” Edmonds expects a surge in adoption as retailers stop watching AI evolve from the sidelines and start taking action. “Organisations are now becoming confident and have the data they need to start applying AI to the business,” he says. “However, it is important that organisation don’t deploy technology for the sake of deploying technology but identify how they can use technology to amplify human potential. “Over the next year we are going to see a broader adoption of AI, an increase in the number of potential use cases and a more human-focused approach to application.” RETAIL & CG Choice Market leveraged data and AI to analyse shopping patterns and improve customer service Photo: Facebook/Choice Market