Best Practices for Fashion Retailers using AI solutions to improve Sales, Profits, and Consumer Relationships
Since 2019, online shopping has led to more sales than in-person shopping for the holiday season. This trend does not show signs of stopping and therefore it is more important than ever for fashion retailers to be looking toward the latest innovations for support.
Figure 1: Holiday Shopping Plans Among Consumers in the United States from 2015 to 2021, by Channel:
AI has undoubtedly improved many aspects of retail and therefore it is no surprise that industry leaders are looking towards the most popular applications of this technology to help navigate the infamously chaotic holiday season.
The following are some of the most prominent examples of how this holiday season will be transformed with better planning, strategy, and success through Artificial Intelligence.
The Future is Yours
While the holidays come at the same time every year, they are far from predictable. Despite the limitations put on the country by the pandemic, the record for the largest increase in holiday spending is 8.2%, between 2019 and 2020. Knowing how much consumers will spend and what products are most likely to fly off the shelves is a game-changer for any retail company. This just so happens to be one of the many applications of AI.
AI predictive analytics have provided incredible insight for holiday spending, helping businesses navigate the already stressful time for shoppers.
Pactera Edge, the IT solutions and service provider, is an outspoken supporter of predictive AI and how it can solve the current supply chain issues destroying businesses seasonally. Understanding which products to buy in bulk and when to raise or lower prices based on predicted scarcity or overabundance can immensely impact budget and overall financial security.
Currently, many businesses manage to navigate the trends of the season by staying alert to consumer reactions. AI which can pick up even the slightest changes in consumer behavior allows earlier detection of trending products. This provides more time for sales to take place, providing businesses more profits and less stress.
The holidays are notoriously short, so retailers need to make the best of their time, acting fast and accurately to provide consumers with what they need.
Wrong Turns for Returns
According to a retail executives survey by Capgemini at the AI in Retail Conference, the application of the technology in retail could save up to $340 billion each year for the industry by 2020.
An estimated 80% of these savings will come from AI’s improvement of supply chain management and returns. Amazon has changed the business world with their radically consumer-focused return policies. All retailers have the opportunity to further advocate these policies which attract shoppers, especially during the holiday season where gift buying can often end in returns, with the necessary ingredient of AI.
With many different products and policies, returns can be tremendously tough to process. AI simplifies and can help automate the process.
Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc. and other companies are using artificial intelligence to decide whether it makes economic sense to process a return. For inexpensive items or large ones that would incur hefty shipping fees, it is actually often cheaper to refund the purchase price and let customers keep the products. With AI can help keep businesses in the green by monitoring their return policies to provide the most cost-effective strategies.
With all e-commerce’s conveniences, the inability to try on the actual clothes you are planning to buy is surely a disadvantage. Virtually wearable clothing projections are an AI-supported solution.
Virtual trial rooms help customers save time and money from travel expenses. From the convenience of home, customers can find the perfect outfits from as many options as businesses choose to provide.
Stores like Levis, Gap, Brooks Brother, Old Navy, and others installed AI scanners and received enormous sales within the same customer base by giving them a real-time picture of what they look like in different clothing. This saves the business money by decreasing the need for instore assistants, and the time required to restock clothing tried on but not purchased.
While online shops look to integrate more elements of the in-store experience into their websites, brick-and-mortar first stores are following the same suite of incorporating new digital experiences in person. For instance, the OMNIOUS Lens solutions enable shoppers to directly snap a picture of a clothing item in-store to find complimentary items and specific product information in seconds.
AI has proven to be an effective tool for creating both a better e-commerce and in-person environment for consumers and businesses.
By encouraging usability and perks such as virtual try-ons and free returns, online shopping becomes an even better alternative for holiday shoppers still on the fence about replacing their favorite Brick-and-mortar stores.
On the business side of things, costs are kept down, stock is kept plenished appropriately and sales are as profitable as ever. These are only a few of the most popular innovations with many sure to follow. Retailers are smart to adjust their own business models to best match the most successful tactics of the times.
The holidays remain an important part of the Fashion retail industry, with these AI innovations some of the best presents under the tree.