Warehouse-based retailer The Warehouse Group, from New Zealand, is making strides in artificial intelligence (AI), with the launch of a new ‘Snap and Shop’ feature on the company’s mobile app, noted a release in August.
This feature allows people to take a picture of items they like on their smartphones, and instantly matches them with thousands of available products in the company’s catalogue.
Snap and Shop is one example of the company’s partnership with Google Cloud to deploy neural network technology to enhance customer experience and optimise pricing.
The Warehouse CIO Timothy Kasbe says that AI is also being used by the company to price tens of thousands on nonlabelled products, taking into account variables such as size, weight and materials.
“We input the products specifications into Google Cloud’s platform, it searches for comparable matches all over the world and instantly comes back with pricing which is fair and accurate for the New Zealand market.
“This eliminates guesswork and estimation in determining pricing, which makes The Warehouse more competitive. It also gives us insights into how a specific product is marketed, so we can adjust the images or messages we use to get a better result,” Kasbe says.
Google Cloud New Zealand’s Brendan Brain says that developing an AI solution in the past to solve these challenges would have required vast resources and capability.
“With Google Cloud’s pre-built machine learning models and APIs, The Warehouse was able to quickly develop this solution using their existing team’s skill sets.”
Intentionally, the use of AI by retailers is booming, from chatbots, voice shopping and shelf scanning robots to checkout-free stores, personalised pricing, and product recommendations.
Online shopping events such as Single’s Day in China demonstrate the potential of AI to transform retailers and boost sales, increasingly driven by AI algorithms that recommend products and communicate with retailers to keep up with demand.
At the time of the company’s release, The Warehouse’s app was rated New Zealand’s number one shopping app in the AppStore.