3 Practical Reasons Retailers Should Adopt AI in 2019

In the world of retail, the goal is simple: sell product. 

However, reaching that goal is a completely different story. When you throw competition, customer expectations, stores, inventory, logistics, and fulfillment into the mix, things reach a whole new level of complexity. The challenge is really two-fold:

  1. ) First, demand is seemingly unpredictable, with a multitude of factors influencing a consumer’s desire to want to buy something. 
  2. ) Secondly, there’s the issue of optimization – how can retailers leverage their inventory more productively? 

Overcoming these challenges requires retailers to better predict demand and optimize their inventory decisions more effectively to ultimately maximize every opportunity for a sale. Artificial intelligence and advanced analytics technologies are growing to be the tools of choice for retailers when it comes to optimizing inventories as customer expectations force retailers to invest heavily in digital capabilities.

Many retailers, according to Gartner, are “simply not optimizing their most significant assets.” What asset is more important than a retailer’s inventory? Here are three reasons retailers should adopt AI for inventory optimization in 2019:

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Topics: brick-and-mortar retail, merchandise planning, data, inventory, e-commerce, demand prediction, order fulfillment, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, allocation, markdowns

Three Retail Inventory Management Challenges for the 2018 Holiday Season

As the sugar high from Halloween subsides, retailers are shifting their focus to the next holiday spending rush this season: Black Friday. The dangerous combination of pumpkin-spiced lattes, a strong economy, and product deals and discounts will fuel consumers into the eagerly awaited shopping period for retail.

The outlook on holiday spending this year is optimistic. Retailers are getting holiday ready and pulling out all the stops, such as Target and Walmart's free two-day holiday shipping rollout and Wayfair's holiday pop-ups

However, the difficulties in achieving success during the holidays always fall back on how effectively a retailer can manage their inventory. Are you providing the right product, in the right amount, at the right time and place? Here are some of the biggest inventory management challenges retailers must overcome this holiday season:

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Topics: brick-and-mortar retail, merchandise planning, merchandise assortment, product assortment, data, inventory, e-commerce, holiday shopping, holidays, demand prediction, order fulfillment, advanced analytics

Lessons from Amazon's 4-Star Store, GH Lab, & Fashion Pop-Up Boutique

It’s easy to gloss over the timeworn Amazon headlines, but media coverage of the e-commerce titan’s recent physical retail strategies incited us to dig a little deeper to share some key learnings for you today:

1). First, Amazon’s partnership with Good Housekeeping magazine to create a new pop-up shop and digital boutique, GH Lab, at the Mall of America beckons a unique approach to the physical shopping experience using technology and a thoughtfully crafted, limited assortment.

2). Secondly, the opening of Amazon 4-Star — a new physical store where everything for sale is rated 4 stars and above, is a top seller, or is new and trending on Amazon.com— signals a new level of data-driven curation and transparency that only seemed possible online. 

3). Lastly, the introduction of Amazon’s first fashion-focused pop-up shop in London further affirms the 'brick-to-clicks' phenomenon driving many digitally-native brands to embrace offline despite the 1,773 store closures so far in 2018. 

Amazon has been dabbling in physical retail since its acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017, but its bold experimentation with these new store models clearly reveal the company’s ambitions across multiple physical retail verticals – from fashion to furniture to wellness and more.

These moves signal a future in retail where the power of data drives curated assortments, transparency, and more pleasant, stress-free shopping experiences.

Retailers, take note!

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Topics: brick-and-mortar retail, merchandise planning, merchandise assortment, product assortment, amazon, data, inventory, e-commerce

Why Prime Day 2018 Isn’t Just About Amazon Anymore

“Amazon has been getting more and more help hyping the event every year, as other retailers — seeing both opportunities and risks in being left behind — chase after deal-hungry shoppers in cyberspace with their own discounts.” Retail Dive 

It’s all going down on July 16.

The explosion of the unofficial, e-commerce, midsummer holiday is exceeding expectations since its initial launch only a measly, three years ago! It’s pretty absurd looking at the jaw-dropping stats behind the growth Amazon Prime Day continues to garner: 

According to the Goliath, Prime Day sales increased 60% year over year. 

However, it’s clear that the attention around the event isn’t just fueled by Amazon themselves. Retailers of all shapes and sizes are jumping in the ring to get a finger in their consumer’s wallets. Here’s why Prime Day 2018 isn’t just about Amazon anymore: 

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Topics: amazon prime day, amazon, amazon prime, e-commerce, holiday shopping

How to be Michelangelo in Today's Retail Renaissance

Most news outlets seem to cover the changing retail landscape with near-weekly stories on store closings and bankruptcy filings. Even outside of the fact that articles with high click-rates beget other similar articles, which in the case of retail generally include household names with a significant nostalgic punch—there certainly is a dramatic change in the industry. However, we should not take stock in those with signs proclaiming “the end is near” for retail any more than we do the madman in front of the park fountain.

One of our customers’ CEOs recently told his leadership that he’s tired of hearing about “The Retail Apocalypse.” He pointed out the fact that it’s become such a ridiculously exaggerated topic, it even has its own Wikipedia page. Given the industry we’re in, this naturally made it worth a look. 

What’s interesting isn’t the fact that retail is changing, or that the general public and media have mischaracterized the evolution. What is interesting is when you look at the factors contributing to this change, understand their impact, and – most importantly — understand how to combat them in order to thrive in the face of this “New Retail” environment.

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Topics: e-commerce, inventory optimization, retail renaissance, retail apocalypse, brick-and-mortar retail

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