Will machine-learning be the tie-breaker in this new dawn of consumer retail?
Back of House USA was founded on November 22, 2017. Rodney McLeod Jr. of the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles tapped Sir Kevin James, designer and owner of ShopCore (4 locations in DC Metropolitan Area) and his best friend Jonathan Mason, a Wall Streeter and hedge fund founder, to create a progressive men’s streetwear store that provides high-fashion to an area skipped over by brands for places like LA and NYC. BOH struggles with inventory management and digital sales. BOH is located in Pentagon City Mall, a Simon Mall next to the Pentagon, but the founders know that Brick-and-Mortar retail stores are failing generally. The founders want to explore the options of machine learning to assuage inventory concerns and promote digital sales. Exploring the journey of CEO Katrina Lake (MBA ’11), one can see how BOH must work hard to obtain the scale necessary to support this endeavor.
Alibaba has leveraged Artificial Intelligence (AI) to disrupt China Retail Industry for the past 19 years. Nevertheless, 81% of retail consumption in China still comes from the offline channel . Realizing the importance of offline presence, the giant online e-commerce shifts its gear towards Omnichannel strategy. In 2017, Alibaba opened futuristic groceries stores, Hema, offering 30-minute deliveries and facial-recognition payment. In the same year, T-mall pop-up stores are introduced in collaboration with over 100 domestic and international brands, promoting inventive &amp;quot;Retailtainment” shopping experiences . While offline stores around the world are suffering, the giant e-commerce leveraged AI and made a brave move to enter the physical world in an innovative means. Or this will be another significant retail disruption, reinventing offline shopping experiences…
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With the increased penetration of e-commerce, declining in-store traffic, and retailer bankruptcies, brick-and-mortar retail is experiencing tremendous headwinds. Neiman Marcus has recognized that digital innovation is critical for the future viability of retail and is seeking to optimize and personalize the customer experience at every touchpoint using advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
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Advances in machine learning (ML) are tilting the playing field in consumer retail. On the one hand, tech-savvy pioneers like Amazon and Glossier are leveraging ML to captivate Millennials and Gen Z consumers with ever more engaging and personalized online shopping experiences. On the other, traditional retail brands, especially luxury labels, hesitate to embrace ecommerce for fear of losing their exclusive, white-glove service experiences delivered through the brick-and-mortar channel. Using Burberry as a case study, this article discusses why luxury retail brands must develop a robust ecommerce strategy to stay relevant, and how leveraging ML can help them win over online shoppers without diluting brand equity.