10 Important Ways to Use Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in the Retail Sector

The seemingly straightforward act of getting a product into a customer's hands requires a complex orchestration of processes, as leaders in retail and consumer goods are well aware. These processes include store planning, sales forecasting, inventory management, customer support, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) management. Retail firms face a more challenging business environment due to changing customer expectations, flexible supply chains, and omnichannel experiences becoming the norm.


By automating crucial procedures like supply chain management, customer returns, maintaining inventory records, updating client databases, and much more, the retail sector may save as much as $340 billion annually, according to Capgemini. Robotic process automation (RPA), a type of automation that employs software bots to complete organized and repetitive tasks traditionally handled by people, is one of the most efficient ways to accomplish this level of automation in retail.


What is RPA in Retail


When using RPA, you build bots that adhere to predetermined scripts in order to mimic the actions a human worker would take to do a task in a software environment. Because it provides a mechanism to streamline and automate many of the interactions among people, procedures, and applications that support successful retail methods today, RPA has experienced significant acceptance throughout the e-commerce and retail industries.


When using RPA, you build bots that adhere to predetermined scripts in order to mimic the actions a human worker would take to do a task in a software environment. Because it provides a mechanism to streamline and automate many of the interactions among people, procedures, and applications that support successful retail methods today, RPA has experienced significant acceptance throughout the e-commerce and retail industries.


Use Cases of RPA in Retail


RPA works best for automating manual, repetitive, error-prone, structured data-based processes when human workers have little to no room to provide value. It works well for connecting several systems to one another as well. Some of the most typical RPA use cases in retail are as follows:


1. Automatically generated supply chain management: The compilation and exchange of multiple papers, as well as the use of reliable data, are essential to the procure-to-pay cycle. Retailers can create bots that can copy supply chain management systems data to speed up the procedure. Even internet sites are capable of accepting orders via RPA bots. By inserting invoice data into accounting systems, bots can also assist with the processing of invoices.


2. Automated inventory control: Inventory databases may be regularly updated due to RPA bots. Using sales information from every store to update records in inventory management software, an unattended bot may be programmed to run at the end of each day. The bot may even identify instances when two names for the same product are slightly different, reducing transcription errors if it has AI processing capabilities.


3. Planning for supply and demand: Retailers can benefit from RPA bots' assistance in creating the reports required for a deeper, more managerial level of demand and supply planning. Teams can use attended bots to automatically combine data from various documents and sources into a single spreadsheet for simple analysis. If the RPA solution can execute numerous bots simultaneously, such detailed reports can be produced at a minute's notice.


4. Automated order processing:  Important steps in the order-to-cash procedure can be optimized with RPA. It is possible to script unattended bots to transfer data from e-commerce portals. RPA bots are used by intelligent virtual agents (IVA) chatbots to retrieve the necessary information from the business' order management system so as to respond to customers' inquiries about the state of their purchases.


5. Making sales analytics easier: Retailers can benefit from RPA by getting more detailed insights into customer behavior, store performance, and other important data factors. Unattended bots could be programmed to retrieve information from the business' POS system periodically.


6. Processing of returns: With little to no human intervention, RPA can streamline returns. Interactive voice response (IVR) technologies and intelligent chatbots can help customers with the returns procedure. RPA bots can be set to update inventory management frameworks, accounting records, customer data, and any other frameworks necessary for processing the return while this is going on.


7. Detecting fraud:  RPA bots can assist fraud prevention teams in investigating dubious purchases. A current purchase can be checked against client databases and other records at once by a number of bots, using AI processing to spot any inconsistencies that would indicate fraud.


8. Dynamic virtual agents: Customers desire to obtain assistance through whichever channels are most suitable to them at the time due to the omnichannel demands of today's consumers. For client inquiries, chatbots can be accessible around-the-clock. They can also use RPA bots to perform simple tasks for customers, such as surfacing solutions to frequently asked inquiries. Additionally, chatbots might be tools for customer support representatives. Customer service representatives can ask chatbots for assistance instead of performing routine tasks manually if they frequently handle the same types of requests, such as changing a customer's login credentials. An RPA then fulfills the request after receiving it from the chatbot.


9. Customized advertising: An RPA bot can transfer information about customers' prior purchases. This information can then be used to segment consumers for specialized deals and advertisements. Through IVA chatbots and IVR, RPA can also communicate with clients about customized offers, promoting repeat business.


10. Arranging for employees:  RPA can streamline the procedure since many retailers rely on just-in-time scheduling for their physical storefronts and fulfillment hubs. An RPA bot may move employee availability information from Survey questionnaires and Spreadsheets to employee scheduling applications.

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