Artificial Intelligence – The New Merchandising Frontier
Late last week, Reflektion founder and CTO, Amar Chokhawala, was featured on Forbes.com in an article he authored titled, “The Rise of the Super (Smart) Merchandiser.” The full article can be viewed here.
The article explores the increased popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning and the opportunities they present today’s retailers – specifically merchandisers – amidst the radically changing digital marketing landscape. Today’s consumers are demanding more relevant and personal experiences online. Merchandisers and marketers alike are facing increasingly fragmented media and audiences, dramatic device and channel proliferation, and a growing focus on data and measurement. How will retailers drive success in this new environment? Enter artificial intelligence and machine learning.
AI and machine learning provide retailers a means of individualizing each customer interaction at a scale unattainable by more manual or rules-based solutions – in real time. Without these technologies, the dream of true 1:1 individualized marketing is fundamentally impossible. Throughout the article, Amar provides several examples of how retailers can leverage AI to learn from online and offline shopping patterns and combine it with the wealth of customer data they’ve already collected (i.e., “first-party data”), to deliver highly relevant and engaging shopping experiences that are tailored to each individual customer.
Now, we’re not suggesting marketers surrender their day jobs to our new computer overlords. This is not Skynet or even WestWorld. There will always be a need for human expertise, strategy and influence – we’re merely suggesting marketers augment their strategies to rely more on data science and automation in order to scale rather than on gut instinct, backward-looking analytics, and rules engines.
What are your thoughts on the future of AI in retail? Is it already on your radar? Have you taken steps to incorporate automation in your marketing strategies? Are you taking full advantage of everything you know (or could know) about your customers? While AI and machine learning may sound like science fiction, they are indeed very real and present tactics being used by your competitors right now. How will you drive success and scale your customer experience?