How AI Can Make Christmas Shopping A Dream

Time-lapse mall retail forecasting

Using AI in retail forecasting gives us a completely granular view of different sales channelsUnsplash – Dieter de Vroomen

Shopping in the holidays may seem like chaos to you and me, but retailers have an arsenal of data-driven tools to define their strategy well in advance. The latest fashion trends, changes in the economy and even the weather all factor into what you see online and in-store, and the rise of e-commerce and monitoring technology has given retailers more insight into how we shop than ever before.

Consumer trends are not 100% reliable (where did fidget spinners come from?), but AI forecasting is helping retailers pull together the many influencing factors and make shopping a more personalized and enjoyable experience. As technology makes its presence known, the retail environment is set to become more focused on the consumer, and move closer towards Jeff Bezos’ vision of a ‘customer obsessed’ retail landscape.

Measuring how we shop

Our willingness to shop is affected by a huge number of factors that influence our feelings of security, spontaneity and overall happiness. While we haven’t yet managed to fully quantify human emotions – although AI is getting closer every day – it is possible to measure the factors that influence how we feel about spending or saving our money. Dr. Michael Haydock, IBM’s VP & Chief Scientist of Global Business Services, creates algorithms that combine a wide range of economic variables – including unemployment, personal disposable income and savings rates – with statistical trends and data from individual retailers to create a complete picture of a store’s customer base.