Retailers now know more about us than ever before thanks to AI, but experts insist it ‘can improve lives’

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Artificial intelligence is becoming more advanced than ever, and retail experts say it will become increasingly essential in making stores more efficient and convenient for shoppers.
The artificial intelligence market in retail is expected to surpass $8 billion by 2024, according to the business management company Global Market Insights.
“The speed at which AI can work through issues and create solutions — and just the sheer volume of data that it can collect, but more importantly, analyze in a really intelligent way — can improve lives,” Chelsea Grayson, former CEO of American Apparel and True Religion, told Business Insider.
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While the term “artificial intelligence” may summon futuristic images of robots and machines, in the retail industry it has become a catchall term for everything from customer service chatbots to virtual reality apps.

Artificial intelligence services have become big business in retail: The sector is expected to surpass $8 billion by 2024, according to business management company Global Market Insights. As e-commerce continues to reign supreme, AI continues to flourish out of business necessity, according to Emil Alon, CEO and founder of augmented reality company Resonai.

“Retailers can finally map and understand the full shopper journey across both digital and physical sales channels to achieve an omnichannel picture,” Alon said. “It allows retailers to gather a more detailed understanding of their customer segments to refine their product portfolios and better connect brands with target customers.”

Today, nearly everything a shopper does is being mined and tracked for data. While this may sound scary on its face, retail experts say AI will become essential in making stores more efficient and convenient for shoppers.

“Everything that a consumer does online, and an increasing fraction of what they do offline, generates data which is associated with them,” Andrew Konya, CEO and cofounder of the AI startup Remesh, told Business Insider. “This data is sewn together across devices, people, companies, and transactions. It is leveraged by increasingly advanced algorithms which are continually getting better.

How AI is improving inventory management

According to Chelsea Grayson, former CEO of American Apparel and True Religion, AI has been most beneficial to retail by improving the way companies track and manage inventory.

“No retailer I have ever worked with has this down to a perfect science,” she told Business Insider. “In fact, the predominant majority of retailers I work with are terrible at inventory management and demand forecasting.”

Inventory challenges have been a major thorn in the side of retailers struggling against the retail apocalypse, specifically those that continue to over-index on apparel that goes unsold before being pushed to clearance racks at significant discounts. Such sales are dangerous because they can weaken the brand by establishing a “promotional culture,” she said.

However, growing AI technologies like RFID tracking are helping brands streamline the inventory process by tracking it online. Today everyone from Nike to Outdoor Voices uses this system, which Grayson said is especially helpful in tailoring product based on geographic region. …read more


Source:: Business Insider

      

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