Practical AI: Grasp the Tool You Need to Navigate Retail’s Sea Change
A lot has been written about the rate of change we are currently experiencing and its relationship to artificial intelligence.
For some, the prospects are apocalyptic. Others think we’re a stone’s throw away from becoming gods. While I’m skeptical of both scenarios for the simple reason that humans have a fairly dismal track record when it comes to long-term prognostications, I am a big fan of making informed decisions about what’s happening right now.
When it comes to retail and ecommerce, certain strategies, such as utilizing the power of micro-moments for responsive merchandising, help now and will continue to help in the near future. But nothing is more important for traversing retail’s continually changing terrain than understanding and implementing new technologies. Those who do so first will gain a tremendous competitive advantage.
Forget the Apocalypse; What’s Happening Tomorrow?
Long-term predictions tend to be off, but it is possible to make informed decisions about where we’re headed soon. It merely requires paying attention and making connections.
Take Google’s Hummingbird as an example:
“In September 2013, Google announced it had revamped its search engine to focus not only on the keywords searched for but also on the implied meaning of the entire search query.
“This quite literally changed the game for everybody who searches for things on the web, and it continues to set a benchmark for what searchers (consumers among them) expect from their search results — whether they’re searching on Google, in an app, or on a retailer’s site.”
While many in the SEO world realized this was a big deal, I don’t remember any headlines about hoards of bloggers and content marketers rushing to invest in companies developing voice-assist technologies. Alexa didn’t exist yet, but Siri did, and it shouldn’t have been hard to put two and two together and conclude that as voice search rose so would voice-enabled devices.
In the future, I’ll be paying more attention. Or, maybe, given that algorithms are really good at paying attention to what you tell them to and making connections, I’ll simply ask Alexa to.
This is just one of the many insights I’ve gained from reading our new book — Practical AI for E-Commerce: How Artificial Intelligence Can Dramatically Improve E-Commerce Customer Experiences.
Practical AI Insights for Today’s Retailers
Here’s another: By 2020, 50% of online searches will be conducted by voice.
And another: “Fashion to Figure experienced a 14% increase in site-wide conversion rate when they used an AI-powered ecommerce personalization platform.”
And another: “A search for “red socks” simply will not be able to find and then display those scarlet socks unless the algorithm understands red both as a specific color and as part of a vast neighborhood of colors — the algorithm must be capable of mapping the visual distance from one hue of red to another.”
And here’s a question for you: Are you equipped to separate the AI hype from its practical — and increasingly necessary — applications?
If your answer is anything other than a definitive “yes,” then you should download our latest book to get a better grasp of how AI is already helping others navigate retail’s sea change with impressive results.