Artificial intelligence is one of the buzzwords of the moment, attracting investments and sparkling geopolitical tensions and global challenges. We have seen with Kai Fu Lee and his AI superpowers book the social and economic implications that implementation of large-scale AI will have on jobs, production processes and the very nature of being human and how human beings perceive themselves in relation to the others, the society and the surrounding world. AI is expected to generate more than two million additional jobs in the world by 2020 and more than fifteen thousand billion dollars in economic value by 2030 thanks to increased productivity.
One of the industries most affected by the AI disruption will certainly be the retail sector and, incidentally, marketing of course. We see it also from the analysis of the last Statista Digital Compass (free download here) and from the strategic moves of traditional retailers and big brands that have often implemented AI technologies also in product design (Tommy Hilfiger for example). Yet investments are still lagging behind other sectors, certainly not as in the case of the travel sector where, against an estimated high impact there’s a really low rate of actual implementation.
Perhaps a stimulus can come from startups that are launching truly disruptive products, software and services in the retail world. I’m thinking about the most innovative ones like Abeja and its deep learning platform to fully understand the behavior of its customers, Signify for the world of the home design, and many others. Interaction with customers, analysis of data and behaviors to identify patterns that are difficult to grasp with traditional intuition, can trigger important marketing levers and accelerate the transition to new retail that we often talk about on these pages.
One of the most interesting solutions is certainly provided by Twenty Billion Neurons, a Berlin startup that offers its customers Millie: a true all-round brand assistant able to manage the relationship with the customer base, promote the brand and interact in a natural, intelligent way with human beings through a neural network capable of understanding over a thousand dynamic gestures and movements in real time, interacting with natural conversation in 120 languages and dialects (!) and receiving inputs in an intuitive and touchless approach.
The potential, as seen in the video demo, is practically unlimited for omnichannel retail both in the physical world and in e-commerce. Just consider Millie the avatar, probably knowing you very well, with a mix of AI processing power and insight production and a record base built on the history of purchases, data and behavior on social networks, tastes and interests in your wishlists. All this amount of data, profiling technology and AI-powered processing approach, interacts with you noth in-store and in the digital touchpoints with the brand. We’re talking future … practically … or not?