BUSINESS SCENARIOS AND DEEPER INSIGHTS INTO AI AND BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY.
By: Anurag Varshney on May 10, 2019
Automating Businesses through AI and Blockchain
As an IT thought leader in the retail and fashion ecosystem, I derive immense pleasure in seeing businesses run simple by leveraging on emerging technologies. In my previous articles, I shared my thoughts on how Blockchain technology is helping the e-commerce and retail industry. Also, I highlighted the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to e-commerce companies. This article provides insights and explains business cases of AI and Blockchain in fashion, online sales, grocery, and consumer products.
DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES IN CONSUMER PRODUCTS’ INDUSTRY
AI and blockchain are one of several emerging technologies that consumer products’ companies can implement to enhance customers’ experience and strengthen a company’s competitive advantage in the marketplace. With these disruptive technologies, companies in the consumer products industry can gain deeper insights and increase revenue. Let me share insights into some of these areas:
Integrated Supply Chain:
Blockchain and AI ensure that the SCM processes are well automated, from suppliers to customers. We may visualize the future which is going to be true very soon. Bots provide constant feedback on production capacity, schedule, production and data on shipment production condition accurately. Once this is done, driverless trucks move goods to warehouses, with live transit-location updates via satellite link. Using predictive shipping, products are moved from warehouses to stores and online retail supply chains ahead of demand. Afterward, customers can view order status and enter a new delivery address through mobile phones. The last part of the automated SCM is delivery and pick-up returns by drones. This process would enable forward-thinking customer product companies to meet the needs of their customers anywhere, and anytime.
Secure and Faster Payment:
Consumers’ product industry can make payments faster through secure networks by leveraging AI and blockchain technology. Blockchain technology allows for the secure management of a shared ledger where transactions are confirmed and stored on a system without having a central body. Money is transferred and received from a customer to the company and vice versa. Depending on the network's configuration, the payment is either confirmed instantly or transferred into a secured record and placed in a queue of pending transactions. Afterwards, the systems on the network verify if the transactions are valid based on a set of conditions the system has agreed on with a high level of data integrity and security.
RESHAPING THE FASHION INDUSTRY THROUGH AI AND BLOCKCHAIN
It is disheartening that the fashion industry is still behind in fully adopting blockchain and AI technology. Supply chains processes are not connected, intellectual property rights are worrisome, and labels are rarely standardized. Blockchain and AI can help the fashion industry in areas such as track and trace and inventory management. Today's customers and fashion lovers want to have detailed information about the products. With the blockchain, fashion companies can securely communicate with their customers; get the finished product history for every fashion attire. This includes comprehensive information on all stages of product life cycle starting from design inspiration, raw materials, manufacturing and distribution to the stores and also providing visibility of all stakeholders involved in the value chain to create traceability and transparency in real sense.
Blockchain technology allows customers to scan the tag and discover the history of every garment and thus help in improving the customer experience.
These days, customers in the fashion world want to know the sourcing of the clothing they are purchasing. They are interested in knowing whether products from fashion companies have high environmental and ethical standards. With blockchain, it is now easier for consumers to trust in the claims that the fashion companies make. Businesses could adapt this to check the location of where an item came from and the true nature of a clothing item. The importance of this is that consumers can track and know every part of the supply chain of an item.
INCREASING ONLINE SALES THROUGH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Considering the pace at which AI and other emerging technologies are moving, 85% of e-commerce sales – interactions between retailers and customers will occur without any relationship with a human come 2020. So, it is pertinent for e-commerce companies to look inward and adopt AI and blockchain technology to stay ahead of the competition. Artificial Intelligence can be integrated into e-commerce, both to enhance consumers’ experience and to attract users into accessing your platform, increasing conversion rates.
AI can help e-commerce companies with prompt intelligence needed to solve their business issues such as lead generation. This provides predictive insight into the company’s CRM, marketing, sales and so on. AI can help to determine present and future preference of customers – color preference, product type based on preference, like previous orders, location, etc. AI can do sentiment analysis and provide reactive & dynamic promotions to acquire and retain customers. E-commerce could also integrate AI on their e-commerce platforms that read the minds of customers and determine the kind of products they might like at a particular time and when they will need it.
Also, by adopting AI technology on your e-commerce platforms, customers can communicate directly with your online platform without searching for items in store.
The AI searches your online store and brings out related products sought by the customers in real time for the order. This will increase online sales, streamline your business processes and give you a real insight into your business.
Some people still prefer in-store rather than online, with one study finding that 85% of US consumers prefer shopping in-store than online. For an increase in revenue generation, e-commerce companies can implement virtual assistants. These can be approached in the same manner as a retail assistant and, by sharing data such as the occasion, age of the wearer, and preferred styles, AI assistants can select desired items.
Responding to Queries:
Most e-commerce platforms spend so much money to respond to customers queries, questions and so on, most of which can be handled by chatbots, which also provide much faster responses than traditional email and phone calls- even quicker than speaking to a human on the other side of the screen. Forward-thinking e-commerce companies are beginning to adopt this technology to grow their businesses and meet customers’ expectations.
Price optimization is helpful in retail to determine a price point which can maximize the returns of retailer’s investments. For this retailer needs to adopt to a machine learning algorithm, utilizing an involvement of data from competition and history to build price optimization models. Use of artificial neural networks are used to predict sales and make pricing recommendations to help business reach it’s goals
The Author is an IT thought leader in the retail and fashion world and has written this article for a new division “NeuVays” of Mckinsol, focused on emerging technologies.
NeuVays is aggressively hiring the right caliber of people in Asia at their offshore development office.
(Anurag Varshney, 2019)