The 2001 French romantic comedy Amelie told the story of a shy waitress who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better, while struggling with her own isolation.
The painting below captures one of the 222 moods that the main character depicted in the movie. It was drawn by an aspiring artist that claims the goal of the project was, “To be taken seriously — one day — as a creative artist in my own right.”
Before we continue, see if you can answer the following two questions:
While there are more or less “scientific” merchandising principles, formulas and theories, the knowledge, experience and intuition of the retailer brings something indispensable to the table – the “art” of merchandising. This brings us squarely back to the answer to question #2 above.
At Syntel, we always keep an eye on the horizon, and have been steadily investing in developing an ecosystem where designers, merchandisers and buyers will leverage AI to predict what customers want before they even know themselves.
We believe that the future of Merchandising will capitalize on the inherent creativity of the human mind, backed by AI-driven creative algorithms. Clearly, merchandising design and planning requires a lot of creativity and prediction to succeed, and AI and ML will help lead the path forward.
As a trusted technology partner, Syntel can help our clients harness AI and ML to progress in their Merchandising journey by focusing on:
Customer Experience AI: Assemble and recombine a series of components and thousands of potential configurations to identify factors that drive maximum impact and saleshe painter?
Managing Variations through Automation: Define and manage automation algorithms and large data sets that use continual iterative A/B testing to pick “winners” for customer latent needs
Mental and Data Models to Recommendation Engines: Use a data-driven approach to build inputs that run the recommendation engines
Capturing Nuanced Customer Triggers and Signals: Capture and identify the customer responses of and discover insights that define discovery of next generation traits
If the pundits are right and AI truly does take off as predicted, this technology will have a role to play in virtually every aspect of our lives. If the work of The Painting Fool is any indication, even creative fields like Merchandising may experience a “bot” explosion. To capitalize on this wave of innovation, you need a partner that is well-versed in the latest technology but has a deeply-rooted understanding of your business.
To find out how Syntel can help, please reach out to your Syntel Client Partner or learn more about our AI and Machine Learning solutions online at www.syntelinc.com
I follow the startup world very closely, as it keeps the maverick technology enthusiast alive in me — and never fails to dish out an interesting story. I can honestly say that I have found this to be the easiest way to remain informed and relevant in today’s fast-paced tech world. Perhaps it is also a selfish attempt to avoid becoming a "technosaur".
Thus, it came as no surprise when I read about a European online fashion and lifestyle retail startup called Lesara that had increased their sales by 175% last year. Their product range has grown to more than 100,000 items, and they recently expanded to serve markets in Sweden, Denmark and Spain. All this with just 300 people on the payroll.
With this kind of growth so early on, I knew that this retailer was actually doing something technologically disruptive.
Founded in 2013, the company has tried to solve a problem that fashion retailers have long faced: how to bring products from the catwalks to the catalogue as quickly and as accurately as possible. Lesara’s approach uses cloud data analytics and cloud-based AI to make statistically-based decisions about what clothes it should produce and sell. It pulls data from various online sources, including e-retailers, search engines and social media to help it make real-time, informed business choices about which products they need to create.
“This analysis removes the guesswork about what will sell and which styles will flop on the shelves. We don’t just know which new styles are popular, we can also identify retro trends that are making comebacks, which styles are on the way out, and that helps us to precisely manage our production.”
What amazed me most about the story was not simply how they could turn a product from idea to market in just 10 days, but also how technology was envisioned and leveraged to manufacture a solution to this problem. As a tech enthusiast, I am thrilled whenever groups of individuals break out of the “business-as-usual” mindset of technology as just a cost reduction lever or an enabler.
It’s exciting to see entrepreneurs recognize the transformative role that technology can play, and use it as a driver to envision a new and novel way of solving a problem.
The moment we stop thinking about cloud technology as an effective way to move expenditures from CapEx to OpEx, we embrace the future. Instead, let’s recognize cloud’s potential to create products, manage inventory, understand customers better, and sell more and better products. One we start thinking that way, “retail nirvana” will be within our grasp.