The previous retail business model was turned on its head well before COVID exposed its weakest links, which means that the traditional approach to forecasting and planning – intuition based, channel-focused and inflexible – has been out of lockstep with the realities of retail for far longer than many organizations realize.
Traditional planning had been oriented around one particular objective or channel and has been based on analysis of historical information from prior seasons. “A contemporary planning strategy may leverage same historic sales performance, but by contrast also places comparable importance on eCommerce behavior patterns, footfall data, material wastage, returns figures and product data housed in PLM and other systems, sourcing, and supply chain indicators” explained Gavin Fallon, General Manager for Board International, to the author.
As one of the leading providers of intelligent forecasting and decision-making software, Board International has established itself as well with retail and brand customers in the fashion industry - including Burberry, H&M, and Puma. For features such as complete reporting on business performance in real-time view and dynamic, location-independent financial planning and analysis reports, a total of around 2,000 users worldwide already use the predictive, AI-driven forecasting and functions by the developers from Boston, Massachusetts (USA) with European headquarters in Chiasso, Switzerland for their related decision-making processes.
Artificial boosts natural intelligence And this is precisely where AI comes into play. Where large or even gigantic amounts of data are processed and analyzed, artificial intelligence can add considerable value. What basically applies to artificial intelligence today (and according to mathematicians and IT experts for the next 40 to 50 years) also applies here: The high efficiency - assuming appropriate computing capacities - cannot be topped. But when it comes to cognitive thinking, and when emotions and creativity are required, natural intelligence is superior.
Shelf-checking AI to improve product availabilityRecognizing the market and opportunities, the Alphabet subsidiary from Mountain View, California has jumped on the bandwagon of AI-based software tools as well for their Cloud-managed Database Services: Google Cloud just introduced an AI-powered shelf-checking solution to enhance e-commerce sites for better customer shopping experiences and to help stationary retail formats to transform their systems concerning product availability, visibility of what shelves actually look like, and to understand where restocks are needed.