Welcome to your weekly mélange of retail news! This is where we look at the previous week (ish) of retail news, events, and activities to hopefully enlighten your day with a story that may have fallen through the cracks.
Walmart Embraces AI & Machine Learning
via VentureBeat — Laurent Desegur, VP of customer experience at WalmartLabs, recently spoke at the MobileBeat 2017 event. Walmart is the 2nd largest online retailer and has 11,700 stores and 140 million weekly shoppers in 28 countries around the world. They are using AI in order to build a digital relationship with its customers. They are enhancing the shopping experience both in-store and online. According to Desegur, ‘We’re essentially creating a bridge where we are enhancing the shopping experience through machine learning…‘.
Target Talks Order Fulfillment
via Fung Global Retail Tech — The Fortune Brainstorm TECH 2017 took place in Aspen, Colorado last week. At the conference Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs and financiers discussed how they are preparing for the future. Target CEO, Brian Cornell spoke about investments in fulfillment, which is a very sound strategic initiative. ‘More than 1,000 stores are being used as flexible fulfillment centers, as part of a smart network for shopping and returns. Target is located within 10 miles of 85% of the US population.’ For retailers, this initiative will most likely evolve from – a nice to have to a need to have in order for retailers to survive/compete.
Data Trust Issues
via MIT Sloan Management Review — In his MIT Sloan Review interview, University of Chicago Prof. Dietvorst discusses his research, which is relevant to retailers. He focuses on understanding why people choose to follow their own intuition, even when they know that an algorithm will deliver better results than their own judgment. There is a human bias that expects perfect outcomes – algorithmic predictions are held to a higher standard than human judgment. This is especially true in retail. A combination of both human intuition + predictive analytics = a better outcome than either individually.
Have thoughts on these stories? Let us know in the comments below. Have some of your own? Let me know!