While robot retail assistants aren’t yet prolific (though they do exist), artificial intelligence is slowly infiltrating retail and is top of the agenda for many retail organizations.
Global spending on A.I. in retail is predicted to grow to $7.3bn a year by 2022, up from $2bn in 2018 says Juniper Research.
And according to an IBM report, adoption of A.I. driven automation in the retail and consumer products industries is projected to leap to 80% in the next three years. The facts are there: A.I. is coming for us.
So why A.I.? Retail companies are looking to A.I. to increase efficiency, and improve customer experience
In this report we look at some examples of how smart retailers are introducing A.I. into their product lifecycle. Fast fashion retailer H&M uses A.I. to keep popular items well-stocked by analyzing receipts and returns to gauge which stores need what. And Zara’s self-service store checkouts highlight the strong focus on creating a better and smoother shopping experience in-store. Or take Amazon Go, the revolutionary store concept from the tech giants. It is entirely cashier-less, letting customers take what they want from the shelves and walk out with it, scanning their ID and charging their Amazon account as they do. These are just three examples of how A.I. is streamlining processes, ultimately cutting costs, and improving the customer journey.
Fashion retail: H&M’s in-app tailoring service
Trialed exclusively in Germany since January, H&M has partnered up with Berlin-based start-up ZyseMe to offer customers tailor-made clothing from home. Integrated into the H&M app, customers can bypass extensive, in-house tailoring appointments by inputting a few key figures such as height, weight and shoe size. Using historical data and algorithms, the in-app feature then predicts the customer’s measurements (with a 98% hit rate) and sends them to manufacturers where a men’s white shirt is made and delivered within days. Seamless, huh? While H&M’s use of this kind of technology is still in its infancy, the use of A.I. for tailor-made fashion is sure to become widespread. Not only does it prevent the number one reason for online returns – incorrect sizing – it also lets companies avoid high leftover stock levels and forced discounting. And your customers will thank you, too. 75% of consumers respond to personalization and bespoke experiences, according to research by Forrester Research.
EDITED: Helping retailers win
Increasingly, AI is helping retailers understand their key markets and provides actionable data to ensure they can be absolutely confident in their product and pricing decisions. For many retailers, knowing what the next “It” bag or viral skirt is, wins the medal. Knowing when to stock and pricing it right takes the trophy. These two goals have been entirely subjective, up until now, and acquiring data was costly, manual, slow, and resource heavy — not to mention data being incomplete and obsolete after a week or two. With help from EDITED’s retail data platform, retailers can always have access to full market data at the touch of a button. Having access to real-time data helps retailers’ and brands trade faster as it lets them look at the entire global market; right down to colors, shapes and patterns. This ultimately helps them spot gaps in the market, without the added guesswork.
Optimizing stock inventory
Using the EDITED platform, Scandinavian online retailer Nelly.com quickly turned around its own version of a skirt after noticing the style overselling at one of their competitors. The brand’s Nelly Skirt became a bestseller. Madeleine Munkhammar, Chief Sales Officer of Nelly.com said: “We ended up making back the entire value of EDITED’s contract from just one business decision. It really showed us the value of EDITED and why it’s important to have access to real-time market data.”
So, it’s a no brainer that A.I. is becoming a key driver in the retail industry, it’s changing the way we think, work and interact with data and technology. For more industry knowledge around how AI technology is boosting retail head over to this report.
Ciara Sheppard, contributor