Black Friday, an annual ritual, introduces the holiday season, offering unbeatable discounts. Stores are usually flooded with eager, adrenalized, and sometimes belligerent consumers. However, in today’s climate, online retail has become the new battleground. As retailers have adapted to this changing climate, they possess the needed technological leverage in order to make the most profit off of this lucrative day; this advantage is attainable with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Now, retailers have transformed the playing field, for AI enables them to personalize service and predict demand.
Because of AI, Black Friday has changed to “Couch Friday,” as digital sales beat in-store sales. In-store traffic has dipped over the past few years as online shopping is becoming more popular, and this trend continued for Black Friday 2017. According to Business Insider, “shoppers spent a total of $3.54 billion online as of 8 p.m. ET on Black Friday, a 15.6% increase over last year.” Online retailers like Amazon continue to have success during this time of year. Ricardo Rubi, a partner at consulting firm Simon-Kucher, explains, “With more promotions linked to its Alexa smart assistant and the company’s launch of a ‘Watch a Deal’ app, Amazon was more determined than ever to dominate the holiday… Engaging shoppers in the holiday season with its vast assortment exposes more consumers to the wonders of online shopping.”
In the past, retailers use recommendation engines to drive online business. Nonetheless, this technology was limited. In this day in age, technology allows retailers to predict what customers will spend their money on with greater accuracy, using information such as location, age, lifestyle choices, and personal preferences. Consequently, retailers can manage pricing, inventory, and distribution more easily using data regarding consumer buying habits. This actually benefits both the retailer and consumer, for lower operational costs lower the cost of products. Furthermore, according to Forbes, this is a trite example: “Today’s sophisticated machine learning engines are built around artificial neural networks designed to mimic the learning process of the human brain.” In other words, retailers don’t even require personal information to recommend various products. By analyzing the learning process of the brain, artificial intelligence enables retailers to predict demand and personalize service, catering your needs and saving their money.
In-store traffic on Black Friday will continue to drop in the coming years as online retail becomes more profitable with the help of artificial intelligence. Moreover, online retail is more convenient for the consumer, for the same discounts are given online and in-store. Soon enough, instead of pushing and shoving, consumers will be violently clicking away for the best deals of the holiday season.