Christmas shopping may be over, but I wouldn’t say no to boxing day sales! Having said that, no one wants to be stuck in a queue outside in the freezing cold at 6am, and I don’t know many retail employees who look forward to the sales.
We’ve taken a look to see how AI and deep learning are helping retailers manage these busy periods and assist them in optimising their efficiency and save money all year round.
Who had multiple Christmas parties this year? Finding one outfit is bad enough, let alone several, and who has the time or money for a personal shopper? Net-A-Porter are launching a robot that will select closed based on the information the customer provides e.g. the type of event, the location, season etc. Another intelligent tool set to be launched by the retailer will put together outfits for customers based on other items that they have selected. “In our sector in fashion and luxury, personalisation is key because knowing the customer helps us serve them better – more so than any other industry,” Net-A-Porter chief information officer Alex Alexander said.
Nearly a third of UK shoppers who own an AI powered smart device were planning to use them to purchase gifts and other Christmas purchases (20%) as well as to research bargains (11%). For the majority of this new breed of shopper, convenience and speed (29%) and the search for deals (12%) inform the decision to rely on in-home assistants. If you have an AI assistant but didn’t think of using it for your Christmas shopping, why not check out the bargains now - it’s never too late.
Pretty websites are no longer engaging enough to keep your customers. People are becoming reliant on virtual assistants, and that makes them lazy. When faced with the option of a website that knows your preferences, makes accurate suggestions, and has a handy chatbot over a clunky site you have to trawl through, we all know what will win. “Ecommerce has not really evolved for the last decade and conversion rates have stagnated,” says Andy Narayanan, vice-president of commerce at Sentient, an artificial intelligence start-up that sells software to retailers. “We let the AI pull [up] the product that the shoppers want, and if we do that it is a level of personalisation we have not seen for a very long time.”
Volumental is a Swedish computer vision company bringing 3D scanning and fitting solutions to footwear retailers around the world. The company is using deep learning in various parts of 3D scanning and product recommendation pipeline in footwear retail stores. Today, online footwear sales are still lagging behind. Customer concerns related to fit is the main reason for this. With 200+ deployments worldwide, digitizing the fitting process by building an accurate, fast and user friendly product optimized for retail is the solution to bridge between the digital and physical worlds.
Where are you going to see deep learning and AI pop up in your retail environment? Well...everywhere. The challenge for shoppers will be recognizing when and how new shopping experiences have been shaped by data crunching and AI. First off, the retail industry is already realizing tremendous increases in accuracy in shopper demographic data, as computers are rapidly becoming better trained on what different ages look like in diverse regions around the globe. Accurate demographic data allows a retailer to understand exactly the type of shoppers who are engaging with its brand, and those insights allow for more tailored decisions on everything from merchandise assortment and marketing campaigns, to store design and buildout, to customer loyalty programs.
Next March 15 & 16 RE•WORK will be hosting the Deep Learning in Retail and Advertising Summit in London which will showcase the latest DL advancements and explore how to leverage methods to improve advertising and the retail experience. Confirmed speakers include Dima Karamshuk, Senior Data Scientist at Skyscanner, Changtao Zhong, Data Scientist at Twitter, Sam Lloyd, Group Analytics Manager at Travis Perkins, Alessandro Magnani, Distinguished Data Scientist at Walmart Labs and many more.