Expert Interview Series #3 With Eva Ross
Eva Ross, August 2020
I have worked with Farfetch, an online platform for the luxury industry, since 2015 in different roles covering various aspects of e-commerce. Before that, I worked for Bain & Company for 4.5 years as a strategy consultant across different industries, including e-commerce.
Companies are collecting lots of data on a daily basis but often don’t know what to do with it. Artificial Intelligence can help make sense of all the data and draw insights that support decision-making and day-to-day operations. Artificial Intelligence is the foundation for a wide range of applications to improve customer experience, including search, AR/ VR, chatbots, inventory planning, and many more.
Amazon is one of the companies that are using Artificial Intelligence well. There are lots of use cases where AI is applied, including personalized recommendations, Alexa, inventory management, robotics, or even developing their own white-label products based on data that shows how certain third-party products are performing on Amazon or where potential gaps are in the assortment.
AI is nothing without data. However, deriving insights from data is not always easy and requires an organization to have the right foundations in place. One challenge is that data often lives in fragmented and siloed sources and many e-commerce companies are still using outdated data structures and systems which makes it difficult to access all necessary data. Preparing data is often a manual process and requires a significant amount of time. Having great analytics, data science, and data engineering teams in place is crucial to make sense of the vast quantities of data possessed by a company. If the data quality used by AI is poor, this can have detrimental effects on the outcomes for customer experience and overall decision-making.
Companies should start by having the right foundations in place as mentioned before, including the right data systems, data governance that aligns with current data protection rules, data teams, etc. to ensure that the quality of data is high enough to derive valuable insights from it. Identifying the right patterns in the data usually requires some time as the algorithms learn over time so testing and reiterating is crucial before launching any AI-based applications.
Artificial Intelligence is forecast to grow to $5.025 trillion in 2025 (from just $692 billion in 2017) according to research and advisory firm Gartner with an average annual growth rate of 28%. By 2025, Artificial Intelligence will be driving the biggest technological advancements across e-commerce and many other industries. Companies that successfully use the power of AI will have a competitive advantage over other businesses in their industry.
Artificial Intelligence is not a “nice-to-have” anymore but a “must-have” to successfully compete with other businesses in the industry.
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