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Why I'm Excited for the Future of AI & Retail

blog-clothes-rackI’ve spent most of my career in the retail industry. Throughout that time, I witnessed a great deal of change – from the evolution of the stores’ role, to the seismic shift in how retailers sell within the context of convenience, service and compelling experiences. Most noticeably, the fundamental core of how retailers think has changed: Managing at averages will no longer suffice. 

Despite these ongoing transformations, the one constant—and what, for me, is the most enticing aspect of the industry—is the intimate connection retail has with the consumer. With a background in astrophysics, my passion for science and innovation fuels my desire to help retailers use technology and data to make smarter decisions and preserve this crucial connection.  

The Future of Science in Retail  

For years, we as a retail community, struggled to use science to assist in decision-making, mainly because the technology was not ready. I’ve spent the last three and half years leading the delivery of the first repeatable artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) offerings at IBM Watson, as well as the approach for embedding AI/ML into offerings across multiple industries. This experience, paired with learnings from my prior life at Oracle Retail where I spent over a decade working with retailers all over the world on their merchandising, planning, inventory, supply chain, omni-channel and store challenges, exposed a great deal of insights into the possibilities AI/ML innovation holds for the retail industry today. 

I joined Celect because I believe the advances in AI/ML now make it possible to address some of retail’s toughest inventory challenges. To succeed, retailers today need a fully localized inventory approach that considers the context of the customer, individual stores, and the entire product assortment. Whether it’s enabling truly localized assortments, reducing excess inventory and markdowns, or improving the customer experience—the technology is ready, and Celect is leading the pack.

An Industry Ripe for Disruption

I believe Celect is an innovative and agile company uniquely positioned to solve the inventory optimization challenges retailers struggle with, in a practical way. Its distinct approach, combined with patented AI/ML models, addresses the challenges previous technology providers could not. With a great customer community and a team relentlessly focused on each customer’s success, Celect is on track to reshape how retailers approach inventory decisions today.   

There has never been a more exciting time or a more compelling reason to change the status quo. Retail competition is fierce, so assortments and customer service demands are high. Supply chain turnaround times are shrinking, giving way to more opportunities to be proactive and rethink how things are done. The right stores and store experiences are, once again, seen as an asset. The concept of channels is quickly fading away, and the opportunity to improve financial results is palpable.

I am thrilled to join Celect as the chief marketing officer and look forward to working with the team, our customers and partners to drive the next era of data-driven retail.

Look forward to meeting you all.

Andrea

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Topics: artificial intelligence, inventory optimization, brick-and-mortar retail, advanced analytics

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