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Demanding Documentation Processes in Retail - Rooting for Automation!


With the transformation of retail to ecommerce platforms and changing offline shopping experience, it is essential the industry takes a step towards automation. With automation, retail would be able to handle numerous internal document processes without missing deadlines, primarily focusing on improving customer experience. This blog will focus on the rising need of automation and an effective solution to automate document processing needs.

[7 min read]
VisionERA

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From brick and mortar stores to online shopping, retail has transformed magnificently. Yet, with the ever expanding consumer demands and numerous internal processes, the paperwork associated with it has already gone out of hands.

Today calls for a brand new solution that can aid retail to go hand in hand with the changing consumer needs and stray away from interrupting repetitive tasks. It requires a solution that can transform their raw data to meaningful information for insights, reporting, authentication, and create custom loyalty programs. With intelligent document automation, the retail companies will be able to process a variety of documents within a fraction of time. It will not only help them with bulk processing but also other aspects related to data processing such as security, scalability, flexibility, management, etc.

Imminent Need of Intelligent Document Automation in Retail from a Market Perspective


Retail industry is an active participant in the global economy. In 2018, the global retail sales were close to $23.6 trillion. This figure is a lot more than some of the developing nation’s entire GDP. In 2021 alone, the retail e-commerce sector accounted for $4.9 trillion and it is estimated to touch $7.4 trillion by 2025 in the U.S. In a nutshell, these facts and figures point out to the rising importance of the retail sector.

However, what often seems to be overlooked in these numbers is the fact that the retail industry is facing tremendous pressure to keep up with the ever changing needs of the customers while making their business processes, such as documentation workflows easier and faster. Additionally, most retailers today do not understand the benefits that an Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) platform can offer in their race to capture more customers and hit revenue targets.

Leveraging an IDP solution can help retailers fasten their document processing capabilities and aid employee productivity, who are otherwise lost in a heap of documents such as commission reports, retail contracts, inventory reports, product orders, and other retail paperwork. By harnessing the power of a state of the art IDP platform, retailers can free themselves from processing documents manually and engage themselves in more productive tasks such as increasing sales opportunities, improving customer service, adding new products etc. All these factors combined together can help retailers increase their profits margins along with helping them visualize future trends and prices. Retailers can also make personalized product recommendations to customers by simply analyzing the data derived from past sales.

Need for Intelligent Document Automation from a Document Processing Perspective


The majority of data processed in the retail industry can be easily kept under the category of unstructured. This is due to varied sources and different types of documents processed by the industry. For example invoices, receipts, purchase orders, etc.

Multiple industries including retail have relied on traditional methods for document processing. It primarily comprises either using manual data entry or an OCR. Manual data entry is time consuming and costly because it requires its own team or third-party support. Taking OCR into context, it is faster but can not comprehend with unstructured data. This is the reason companies have to rely on a combination of these two or outsource their operations. Not anymore because with the inclusion of Intelligent Document Automation, it is possible to process huge volumes of unstructured documents in a single go.

The question that remains is, “What is Intelligent Document Automation?”.

The answer is as simple as the phrase itself. To further explain, it is a synonym to Intelligent Document Processing or IDP in short. An IDP is a software solution with AI-capabilities that can process raw unstructured documents for data extraction and data verification in bulk without any manual intervention. Depending upon the platforms available in the market, the secondary features might change but its primary task is to automate data extraction and verification.

Benefits of Intelligent Document Processing in Retail


Intelligent document processing has loads of compelling advantages other than saving exponential turnaround time for operations. Some of the core benefits of deploying an intelligent document processing platform are mentioned below:

Document Processing


An IDP platform as stated above can process a variety of documents. This includes purchase orders, bills, invoices, bill of lading, proof of delivery, etc. It is a solution based on advanced proprietary technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), optical character recognition (OCR), and computer vision.

The inclusion of all these technologies and their communication within IDPs makes it an industry and use case agnostic solution. With VisionERA, we are capable of providing data processing solutions to a wide array of clients. The unison of these technologies makes VisionERA capable of catering industries like retail, logistics, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, etc.

With its 3D’s approach, it can decode, decipher, and decide, all on the go. For example, we have a task of extracting data from 1000 unstructured invoices i.e. different formats, different structures, paper based or digital etc. VisionERA with its 3D approach can:

  • Pre-process the quality of a document for effective data extraction.
  • Capture data from custom fields.
  • Understand the context of the field for example emp code, employee code, emp. Number, etc. will be understood by VisionERA as employee code, just like humans.
  • Use any document as a source of truth for verification.
  • Continuously learn using feedback mechanisms.
  • Perform data extraction and reconciliation in bulk.
  • Sort, segregate, and categorize processed data.
  • Provide custom workflows for different departments with different use cases.
It comes with a DIY approach that requires zero coding experience to operate. Also by using VisionERA IDP, it is possible to reduce the turnaround time and cost associated with the entire operation radically.

Security


There are a variety of solutions that are in accreditation with multiple compliances, for example HIPAA, ISO 27001, GDPR, etc. Although, these compliances are generally applicable to ensure no data breach is happening from the vendor’s end. Unlike a SAAS that is on-demand, IDPs are platforms deployed inside the client’s infrastructure. It will abide by all the internal security measures because it is situated inside the clients network.

Customer Onboarding


With increasing demands, the number of customer onboarding operations is bound to increase. This is especially relevant with online e-commerce where companies use discount coupons to entice new customers or increase loyalty of existing customers. For example, we have 1000 reports in pdf out of which the metric of net promoter and upselling ratio is required for disbursing loyalty coupons. An IDP can easily extract the data from those reports and export it in the format of excel sheets. With excel, the client can apply logic to figure out customers liable for the program.

Management


Retail requires management for different verticals such as inventory management, drive log management, category & catalog management, vendor management, etc. Each of these management ordeals can be relevant for super stores (Walmart, Stop & Shop, Kroger…) and huge ecommerce retail companies (Amazon, ebay, Best Buy…). Half of the management required during these operations are related to unorganized paperwork. An IDP is capable of processing unstructured data along with performing operations like sorting, segregating, and categorizing data automatically.

Customer Reviews


Ecommerce companies and big retail stores often collect customer reviews post purchase. The sheer volume of reviews posted especially in the ecommerce space is massive. These reviews again can be segregated automatically based on the rating systems utilized. For example, a task requires the name and review of the customer. An IDP can easily extract that information, and export it in different formats i.e. excel or CSV sheets. The operator only needs to define the entries in the platform and it will automatically extract the data from those reports.

What can IDP do for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)?


CPG and retail can often be confused together by many people. Yet, there is a decent difference between the two. CPGs come one step earlier than retail in the supply chain. The most common examples of CPGs are Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble Co., Coca Cola Co., etc. These companies can have their own brick and mortar stores but they prominently sell their product via retailers. This is the reason why the line between the two often gets blurred.

An IDP can pretty much do the same thing for a CPG as it can for a retail company. With an intelligent document automation solution, CPGs can drastically reduce the turnaround time and cost associated with document processing. Many CPGs are turning towards automation and an IDP can be a great start. Using an IDP, companies are gaining freedom from third-party dependency and meeting deadlines effectively by clearing the mess in internal departments.

VisionERA: The Next Generation IDP Platform


VisionERA is a standout platform in its niche. Much like any other IDP solution in the space, it has the capacity to do all the basics. These are bulk extraction, data reconciliation, processing unstructured data, etc. with automation and accuracy levels upto 99%.

It stands out because it can be easily molded as per the document processing requirements. The platform offers compelling features like autogridling, autocorrection, smart insights board, zero pre-training, etc. Also, its human-AI alliance concept makes it a continuous learning and evolving platform.

It demands intervention for exceptions and later-on learns it because of its continuous feedback learning algorithms. It is compatible with various downstream applications such as CMS, DMS, emails, legacy infrastructure, etc. and can be easily deployed on cloud using plug-n-play feature. Also, everything from document classification to customizing workflows can be done DIY with zero coding experience. It is in essence ahead of many of its contemporaries in terms of features including the competitive pricing.

Final Words


With increasing demands and workload, solutions that can provide intelligent document automation can be of paramount importance. Retail industry is constantly reinventing itself and going through a period of renaissance to gain more traction both in physical and ecommerce space. It is becoming way more personalized for customers, constantly improving customer experience, and offering bonuses to create new engagement. It is truly the time when automation should be looked at with a foresight of mandate. It will tremendously aid the employees working onboard, completely nip manual errors, reduce cost, and shorten the period of manual operations. With inclusion of smart and intelligent platforms like IDPs, retail would be able to maximize in solving intellectual problems and stray away from mundane, boring, and repetitive tasks.

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Tags
Document Automation for Retail
Intelligent Document Processing for Retail
IDP for Retail
Benefits of IDP in Retail
Benefits of IDP for CPG
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