October 6, 2023

RPA or IDP: Which is better for your retail business?

Managing documents and automating repetitive tasks have become essential for businesses to stay competitive and efficient. Two powerful tools, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and IDP (Intelligent Document Processing), have emerged to transform how retail operations work. While these acronyms may sound complex, understanding their benefits can be a game-changer for any retail business. In this article, we'll unravel the potential of RPA and IDP, helping you discern which one can better serve the needs of your retail venture.


RPA: Streamlining Repetitive Tasks

RPA, or Robotic Process Automation, is like having a digital assistant that can mimic human actions. It's all about automating repetitive and rule-based tasks, freeing up humans to focus on more creative and strategic aspects of their jobs. Let's see how RPA can benefit a retail business:

  • Efficient Data Entry: Retail businesses deal with a lot of data, from inventory numbers to customer details. RPA can handle data entry tasks quickly and accurately, reducing the chance of errors that can occur when humans do repetitive work.
  • Inventory Management: Keeping track of inventory levels, reorder points, and stock movement is crucial for retailers. RPA can monitor this data and even place orders automatically when inventory is low.
  • Order Processing: When you order something online, RPA often plays a role in processing your order. It can check product availability, process payments, and send order confirmations, all without human intervention.
  • Customer Service: RPA can handle routine customer inquiries by accessing databases for information like order status or product availability. This leaves human customer service agents to handle more complex issues.
  • Price and Promotion Updates: Retailers often need to change prices or apply discounts. RPA can update prices across all sales channels quickly and consistently, ensuring pricing accuracy.


Read more: Banks are using Financial Data Aggregation to Penetrate Market

IDP: Smarter Document Management

On the other side of the ring, we have IDP, or Intelligent Document Processing. IDP is all about making sense of documents and data, turning them from dumb pieces of paper into smart, usable information. Here's how IDP can benefit a retail business:

  • Document Digitization: IDP can turn piles of paper documents into digital files. This not only saves physical space but also makes documents easy to access and search through.
  • Data Extraction: Imagine receiving hundreds of invoices daily. IDP can automatically extract vital information like invoice numbers, due dates, and amounts, saving hours of manual data entry.
  • Inventory Management: Retailers often deal with a lot of paperwork related to inventory. IDP can digitize and organize these documents, making it easier to track stock levels and manage orders.
  • Compliance and Security: IDP can ensure that all documents are processed correctly, helping businesses stay compliant with regulations and maintain document security through features like encryption.
  • Customer Information: Managing customer data is essential. IDP can help retailers organize and safeguard customer information, ensuring that it's readily available and protected from unauthorized access.



In the battle of RPA vs. IDP, there's no clear winner because both have their unique strengths. It's essential to assess your retail business's specific needs and processes to determine which technology is the best fit. Some businesses even find that using both RPA and IDP together creates a winning combination, automating repetitive tasks while intelligently processing documents and data. As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for improving retail operations are vast, and staying informed about these technologies will be crucial for success in the ever-evolving world of retail.

Learn more: Deconstructing the Need to Automate Invoice Processing in Construction


Which One is Better for Your Retail Business?

Now that we've explored the strengths of both RPA and IDP let's dig into which one might be better suited for your retail business. Remember that the best choice can depend on your specific needs and processes.


Choose RPA if:

  • You have repetitive, rule-based tasks that require data entry or interaction with multiple software applications.
  • You want to improve process efficiency by automating routine tasks like order processing, data validation, or customer inquiries.
  • Your focus is on tasks that involve decision-making based on data from various sources.


Choose IDP if:

  • Your retail business deals with a significant amount of paperwork, such as invoices, receipts, and contracts.
  • You need to extract data from documents quickly and accurately to make informed decisions.
  • Document organization, compliance, and data security are top priorities for your business.



FAQs on RPA vs IDP  


1. Is RPA the same as having robots in a retail store?

No, RPA doesn't involve physical robots wandering around the store. It's more about using software to automate repetitive tasks, like data entry or order processing, behind the scenes.


2. Can a retail business use both RPA and IDP together?

Absolutely! In fact, many businesses use RPA and IDP together to create a seamless workflow. RPA can handle tasks that involve interacting with different software applications, while IDP can handle document-related tasks.


3. Are RPA and IDP only for big retail chains, or can small businesses use them too?

Both RPA and IDP can benefit businesses of all sizes. While larger retail chains might have more extensive processes to automate, even small businesses can use these technologies to improve efficiency and accuracy in their operations. is an AI research company that builds Intelligent Document Processing software to solve real world problems using advanced technology such as Computer Vision, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. Using proprietary AI technology with zero third-party dependency,’s products are set to revolutionize document heavy business processes by streamlining multiple channels so as to deliver end-to-end process automation. They aim to move towards a paper free, efficient and intelligent process. In addition, whether you're looking for a custom AI IDP application or seeking to integrate IDP solutions into your existing systems, has the experience and expertise to help you achieve your goals.



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