It is a well-known fact that Deep Learning algorithms have the power to help vehicles navigate, help casinos tell if someone is cheating at the poker table, and of course, they are seriously changing how consumers shop. We are fast approaching a time when Artificial Intelligence will be a part of every aspect of our life.
John Bates, a product manager for Adobe Marketing Cloud, which offers ML services of e-commerce and other industries, says “For retail companies that want to compete and differentiate their sales from competitors, retail is a hotbed of analytics and machine learning.” The travel and entertainment industries are taking early advantage of ML as they did with the early introduction of the internet, Bates also points out, in an interview with Time Business.
E-Commerce Better at Adopting AI Then Brick-And-Mortar Businesses
From what I can see, brick-and-mortar businesses are more slow to adopt Machine Learning than that of their online counterparts, and this will end up being a big problem for them. Online merchants are now using online extension solutions to create and import coupon codes and BI in order to collect data on what drives consumers. Mixing that with AI, they are gaining a one up on the businesses that are slow or have been slow in the past to adopt such methods.
Due to the “Great Recession” in 2008, many retail stores have already closed. But in 2017, the number of retailers that closed was far greater. So what seems to be causing this? It is because of the rise of online possibilities. It is far cheaper to run a warehouse that stocks merchandise and ship it than it is to operate a physical store with all the responsibilities and costs that come with it. And seems those traditional stores are getting left in the technological dust, so to speak.
Because it is easier to simply switch from one site to another versus leaving a physical store for another if you don’t find prices reasonable, e-commerce sites are in a battle to the death to provide the best customer service experience. Therefore, as they compete to be better than the other, they are quickly overrunning the brick-and-mortar retailers – at lightening speed. With same-day delivery for only a small surcharge in bigger cities, it’s a hard one to beat.
In order to provide such effective and rapid delivery times requires intensive logistical support from warehouses and delivery drivers. Nevertheless, running a network of warehouses requires far less physical locations than that of a national, or even international, chain of stores. This is very cost effective, as renting a warehouse can lower rental costs, utility bills, and employee overhead. Compared to Walmart’s 1.5 million employees, America’s largest private workforce, Amazon employed under a quarter of that number at 340,000 staff.
Tech Companies Keep Coming With New Technologies
While e-commerce sites are using every kind of new technology in their arsenal at nearly every step of the online shopping experience, tech companies are also developing newer technological advancements such as using drones, robots and even driverless vehicles that can make deliveries with little to no human help. This will raise human worker productivity in warehouses and delivery, yet, as is the hot topic today, this will naturally reduce jobs in many sectors of retail.
There is an upside to this whole business, though. Workers will be forced to shift to a higher-level of skill sets, which will naturally increase wages for those who possess the necessary technical or interpersonal skills. Retailers in developing countries may find that they are no longer the primary source of employment as machines and AI start to take on the more redundant of jobs. It is sort of like how ATMs allowed banks to open a greater number of branches with tellers handling a wider variety of other financial services.