The Latest Intelligence on AI
24 October 2018
Author: Jasmine Waters
The blurred line between humanity and technology has never been more vague - or confusing. As more brands and companies look to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to replace the human-driven aspects, do the strengths outweigh its weaknesses?
‘Omni-channel’ is a phrase we hear a lot when there is talk of how the market has continued to change in recent years. It may feel like a cliché, but it’s exactly what’s happening - with educated consumers becoming more demanding and the digital world winning over bricks-and-mortar, there’s never been a stronger need for a brand’s strategy to diversify. Enter AI - the tech that is already showing successful potential to change consumer interactivity as we know it. The brands that already use it well combine this with a human touch to offer the best personalised experiences they can. Factors such as the number of visits to a website, type of device used for purchase, or geographical location are some of the most important characteristics of a shopper to help brands gauge their preferences and tailor experiences.
Reports last year forecast that approximately 80% of retail jobs could end up being lost to these new age robotics, asking the question - what could the true cost of AI really be?
Is It Worth It?
For the long-term, we don’t really know. But there is a lot of evidence to support the fact that AI used well could be a serious saviour and supplement for brands, rather than a threat. What could take the fashion industry weeks could take AI minutes, meaning attention could be spent in more pressing areas as a business grows. Product surplus can be tightly controlled as AI can help to retain and remember a knowledge of sales trends. A better supply chain management could also be ensured, with AI predicting discounts to drive in-store shoppers. Enhancing the creative process, design and development should continue be the main goals of bringing AI to an established brand.
If a brand wants to make personalisation their main goal, they’ll need to heavily rely on AI to process data, reconnecting lost customers to the brand loyalty they may have once developed. Forecasting mistakes could be reduced by up to 50%, and algorithms can be used to predict shopper behaviour with a high level of accuracy, based on its understanding of a set of largely consistent and recurring parameters. AI could also breathe new life into physical retail, with ideas such as ‘smart mirrors’, RFID-enabled clothing racks and the evolution of the visual search, both set to be a new way into taking the customer back to the traditional shopping experience.
Whether it’s for taking stock or customer connections, it’s clear that AI has many possible positives to bring to the table. Having said this, the tech is still in its early stages, so its limitations are not yet fully known. To get the best of what AI has to offer, brands will need to get smart and think quick if AI could really work well for them - don’t change the business fundamentals, but enhance them.