“In God we trust, all others bring data,” had adorned the walls of NASA headquarters for decades. Then, one day on a cold morning in Florida in Jan ’86, the Challenger space flight disaster changed everything. Seventy-three seconds into the flight, the spacecraft had disintegrated, killing all seven astronauts. What went wrong? Richard Feynman, Physicist, and Nobel Laureate, who was commissioned to investigate the disaster, concluded – in the absence of data, the scientists had failed to argue by reason.
This story teaches us an important lesson in applying artificial intelligence (AI) and data science to the world of retail that is led by consumer decisions and choices, which are not always rational. In such a scenario, pairing data-driven decisions with reason in the form of context and experience could make all the difference.
Traditional brick-and-mortar retail has always relied heavily on merchant (or ‘buyer’) instincts and experiences to run the business. On the contrary, new-age digital commerce has turned to data and experimentation to make business decisions. Omni-channel commerce, mixture of brick-and-mortar and digital, has been the messy middle. This is driving several companies, including the Fortune 50 companies like Lowe’s to reinvent itself and stay relevant for the future.
OMNICHANNEL FOR FUTURE
Retail constitutes three foundational pillars – assortment, experience and value i.e., what products you need to sell, how would you sell them and at what price.
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