Written by Harini Krish
Lead Technical Content Writer
These robots are not the physical kind we’ve seen in Amazon and Ocado fulfilment centers, they are intelligent software that can recognize objects in a virtual environment and adapt to change. A “robot” can outdo and integrate the actions of a human interacting within digital systems to execute a business process. Software robots make use of the user interface to capture data and manipulate applications just like humans. They communicate with other systems and trigger responses in order to perform on a vast variety of repetitive, rules-based tasks. One noticeable advantage is that; an RPA robot never sleeps, makes zero mistakes and costs a lot less than an employee.
In recent times, the retail sector is skyrocketing. But with the extra workload, it is difficult to manage everything manually. RPA for the retail sector has become the best way of improving service delivery. RPA is a software, which requires minimal human involvement. It does all the work, which a human worker does, with more accuracy and better quality. This is gaining wide acceptance in industries and has become one of the most popular software.
The application of RPA in the retail sector is vast. As, it can be implemented in all kinds of work. Some major applications of RPA in the retail industry are processing returns, workflow management, managing customers, managing accounts, and finance, analyzing the market flow, keeping a check on consumer behavior, and so on.
RPA Robots act as virtual workers, automating essential standard, high volume, repeatable, rules-based retail processes. RPA can bounce from the retail supply chain to the back office and out on to the shop floor.
Back-office tasks ripe for RPA include invoice processing, bill checking, payments and practically any financial process. In these cases, you can set an RPA robot to work and leave it unattended, using its computer vision to handle high volume tasks in the background. The best unattended Robots are now self-healing and self-managing, capable of sensing and evaluating change.
Moving to the front office, think of call centers, chat robots and areas such as human resources and legal where there are exceptions that need human insight and approval. Shop floor tasks include workforce optimization, trade promotions, store layouts and much more.
RPA is of relevance in retail today, given the level of automation on which the industry depends and the vast data flows that it is now trying to get to grips with as a source of competitive advantage and cost management.
The beauty of RPA, especially for retailers with disparate systems, is that it can automate multiple standalone processes without the need for duplicate data input or analysis.
Another benefit of RPA is that it is a precursor technology, working in harmony with existing retail systems, while also being a significant yet manageable step towards adopting disruptive tech such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).
Robots can act like people. They can go to Citrix and get what they need, go to SAP, access another antiquated system and then put everything in an Oracle database. Just like humans—super-fast, super-accurate humans. With the agility and speed to do more—and let your real people focus on the important stuff.
Improved data quality and control
RPA works in harmony with existing IT systems
Data for process improvement
First strategic step towards AI
Scalability and flexibility
Fast to implement
Robotic process automation offers hard-pressed retailers with a golden opportunity to achieve a raft of seemingly contradictory goals.
For example, it can eliminate errors while increasing speed, reduce cost while boosting customer experience, and transform digital capabilities without being disruptive. It also removes many of the repetitive elements involved in any task handling, thereby making life easier for employees by freeing them to focus on more productive, rewarding and creative tasks.