How Machine Learning Will Change Retailers’ Life

How Machine Learning Will Change Retailers’ Life

For many retail businesses, artificial intelligence, namely machine learning, isn’t something that’s coming to the industry in the next decade. Some of the biggest companies operating in the industry – including Amazon, Walmart, and many others – already have AI systems in place to process customer data to help them sell more.

For example, last year, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, wrote a letter to the company’s stakeholders that explained how they used AI to create a competitive advantage. Naturally, most of the attention went to Alexa, but we also found out that the company spent quite a lot of time on using machine learning to analyze purchasing patterns and determine fraudulent purchases. Moreover, Bezos also shared that the company utilized customer browsing and buying data to provide them with personalized promotion and product recommendations.

That sounds about right: Amazon is fantastic at analyzing purchasing patterns because every time I visit the site, I get interesting, and, most importantly, relevant product recommendations. However, product recommendations are just a tip of the iceberg because machine learning can do so much more.

So, with the machine learning revolution in progress in retail, how exactly it will continue to impact the industry? Should smaller companies also join giants like Amazon in the pursuit of business insights provided by machine learning?

We’ll try to answer these questions here.

The Amazing Algorithm

I’ve recently come across this Economist article that I thought provided a glimpse into the future of retail business. Otto, a German retailer, was struggling with a problem of additional shipping costs and delays. The company sold products from other brands, so they had no warehouse to store them before shipping. To make a long story short, delays, as well as returns, were a usual thing for them.

According to the article, some of Otto’s customers even returned products they bought from the company after they “spotted the product in a shop for one euro less.” Needless to say, the company needed a quick and effective solution to predict future buying behavior, which was done by humans.

So, Otto’s management invested in the creation of a machine leaning-powered system which, although initially designed for particle-physics experiments, did a fantastic job at predicting what the customers bought a week before they ordered. The algorithm was able to make predictions of what will be sold within a month with 90 percent accuracy (!)

Machine learning

As a result, the brand was able to improve the effectiveness of its existing processes profoundly.

So I guess that the main takeaway here is that small businesses should also explore machine learning and its benefits. As the story of Otto shows, Amazon and other retail giants aren’t the only ones already benefitting from the technology.

So what are other impacting ways to use machine learning in retail?

Machine Learning in Retail: Use Cases

1. Dynamic Pricing

Machine learning algorithms process a lot of data collected from customers, but their functionality is not limited to personalized product recommendations and predicting what products will be bought. As we already know from the story of Otto above, many customers are very price-sensitive, e.g., they’re looking for the best prices and are willing to return a product if they find a lower price for it.

Machine learning can help retailers to check and continuously monitor the prices of competitors to automatically match them or even offer a lower price, so the customers get the best possible deal.

“You’ve probably seen deals that offer “The best price guarantee” or something like that – this is often used by companies in the hotel industry,” says Jamie Chapman, a data analyst from Trust My Paper. “Chances are that’s the work of machine learning algorithms.”

2. Fashion Trend Analysis

Without a doubt, machine learning will be a disruptive force when business models based on it will emerge. For fashion retailers, collecting social media data such as likes and comments will be tremendously important because it will help them to identify their interests and the hottest trends.

Of course, machine learning makes this task much more comfortable by processing tons of data within minutes. The results of this analysis can help to make relevant offers for specific customers as well as identify what’s selling.

No wonder there’s evidence that many of the well-known fashion brands are starting to use artificial intelligence; for example, Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer and an owner of the Zara brand, has recently formed a partnership with technology companies to be able to utilize the benefits of machine learning and keep up with the competition.

machine learning

3. Inventory Management

As we already know, demand prediction is something that machine learning can help with, and this is also the first step in the process of inventory management. Once the level of demand has been determined, a brick-and-mortar retail store can resupply to ensure that the needed number of products is available to meet it.

Predicting too little or too much imposes additional preventable expenses for retailers, but, thankfully, they have lots of data, which is exactly what machine learning models and algorithms needed to generate a sound prediction.

4. Check-out Free Shopping

Another use for brick-and-mortar stores is quickly gaining interest, especially after the opening of Amazon Go, the checkout-free grocery store. Apparently, AI and machine learning can help to cut waiting time in retailer checkout lines by analyzing data provided by smart shelf sensors and cameras, which is undoubtedly something that a lot of people will appreciate.

According to Retail Gazette, in addition to Amazon, such international retail companies as and Alibaba also have their concepts of unmanned convenience stores so the revolution might be coming sooner than we think.

Is Machine Learning the Future of Retail?

Machine learning can change the way we shop as well as dramatically enhance the existing approach to customer data analysis, inventory management, and price setting. It’s inevitable that giant companies like Amazon and smaller ones like Otto can benefit from the technology in a big way, so the pace of adoption is likely to accelerate in the next years, as more and more companies study the benefits of machine learning.


Why US Tech companies are failing in China, but winning in India?

Why US Tech companies are failing in China, but winning in India?

Many leading firms around the world have tried to penetrate their business in China. Unfortunately, companies like Uber, Google, Amazon, eBay have seen a significant downfall in China and had to back off their business from China. This shows the severe failure of US-based companies like Amazon failure in China the second largest economy in the world. Whereas, on the other hand, it has become straightforward for companies to penetrate in India. Is like China empowering their local business? And India the neglecting the local and startup businesses?

amazon optimization

Reasons for the downfall of tech companies in China

Recently, Amazon one of the biggest e-commerce company has decided to back off their steps from China market. While there may be widely touted reasons for the failure of censorship by the Chinese Government as this may include a difference in the cultural aspects. Well, this factor may have contributed a significant part to the failure of Western Tech companies in China.

If we take the World’s favorite browser Google into account, then Google managed to dominate in all the significant parts of the world, expect a few countries like China. Yes! You heard it right, the favorite browser in the world is not excepted in China, even though Google is present in various other countries but was not accepted wholeheartedly in China.

Not just Google a few years back, Uber abruptly sold its company in China to the chief rival DiDi Chuxing, when Uber failed in flourishing in China.

Like this, there is a lot of global companies such as eBay, Amazon, Facebook who failed in establishing themselves in China.

Chinese People belongingness to their home brand

The question may have arisen until now, Why people of China are not excepting other companies which are not Chinese origin company? We can tell that China already has its alternative social world or the homegrown versions like Baidu in place in place of Google, Ali Baba in place of Amazon, Sina Weibo in place of Twitter, Youku Tudou in place of YouTube.

chinese tech giant

A lot of Chinese firms innovate safe and knowledgeable software applications so that they don’t have to face foreign competition. We can say thanks to the Chinese Government, which beliefs in empowering their local brands. Processing a ban on the popular platform such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook. While this clearly shows the nativity and how people love their local application than the foreign one.

It doesn’t end here; the Chinese Internet is way too big that provides an ideal environment for all the large Chinese firms like Tencent the owner of WeChat to well establish itself before it goes Global. As much as 668 million these were the number of Internet users in China, and it outnumbered the US population by 2:1 with a lot of space to grow. With this size, it is visible that it is a difficult task for foreign companies to penetrate and establish themselves in China.

How Companies excel in India?

Recently, India added 1,200 new technology startup companies came to action and giving competition to last year already present 1000 companies. Being a Country with the second largest population in the world, most of the US tech companies target India, which indirectly creates a lot of job opportunities for the Indians. If we take a more in-depth look, then we can see companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook have already started penetrating in India.

Amazon’s success in India is instead an illustrative and notorious one. The first most reason which helped in establishing the company in India is that the CEO’s like Jeff Bezos knows the market type in India and can view the future is potential enough rather than checking the ups and downs that are going to come up. Usually, people look for one to two from now while Amazon aims for 10 to 15 years from now.

Amazon branding

It can be said that now the foreign companies have understood that to succeed in the emerging markets, you need to implement all the tactics that will attract the people of the country. For instance, we can say that India is still now not giving access to a lot of Foreign companies. Already established companies instead of thinking for the regulations to change, companies started working in India as a marketplace rather than the retailer.

Foreign Tech Companies Influence in India

Suppose, in India; everyone doesn’t have Credit cards, few people believe in paying while delivering the product. Not just the Amazon, even the case is similar to Facebook, it became an enjoyable social media side for the millennials by a unique way to contact friends and chats. As there was no such local application which can be used to connect with people when Facebook launched in India, it grabbed the whole market.

Wooing the Indians became very easy for Foreign Companies, and they quickly recognize what the Indian people love. Started to occupy the well performing and small companies to make it look Indian having the significant companies base.

Building the right local leadership is essential to keep the organization structured, flat and dull. To emerge in the growing chaotic market of India, moving quickly and coming to action as fast as possible is the primary tactic taken up the foreign companies.

The emerging country like India is the biggest market for these companies to target and expand. As it is emerging, due to lack of new technology, people attracting to foreign goods than local, Government policies, bureaucracy and so on.

Are foreign brands are dominating local brands in India?

According to the latest report by Kantar Worldpanel Footprint, the top 50 companies of India in 2015 contained 35 companies that are local and rest 15 companies are MNC’s.

While if we shift our focus from India to China, 75% of the people use only the local brands and maximum of them comprise from local companies only. In India, we guess people yet need to build trust upon the local brands. Indian customers usually tend to change their choices and don’t elect one brand. People became more sophisticated and well defined with the selection and tend to have a belief in the Foreign Brands as they are already established and known in other countries.

Typically, people think the local brand has a lot of advantage as they can understand the culture of their place and city. While, several other personal care Indian brands such as Chandrika, Vicco, Himani Navratna oil have taken a stand and built a strong, successful local Franchise.


Keeping aside the personal care products, Patanjali an ayurvedic brand, has slowly started taking over the market by making the people believe in the Ayurveda and ancient medicinal values. Not just the therapeutic and personal care, it even includes food and beverage, skincare and apparels.

Local brands are just taking over in some field if we shift our focus from local brands to local technology companies the Indian technology industry fails. MNC’s occupy the primary technology market. There are very lesser-known companies such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro who give fierce competition to the Foreign Tech companies.

This clearly, shows how much the foreign countries have started getting under the skin of the Indians in the Tech field. Most of the Indian Brands are personal care or household requirements. But, in the technological area, we are failing to establish trust between our people, so they support the local Indian Companies.

The Make in India projects also going on simultaneously, to make India self-sufficient creating more jobs to Indians in India.


Supporting and letting the foreign brands establish in the country is the best thing; it gives exposure. If similarly we develop a belief on our own companies and support them, it will provide the company with an extended exposure in the global platform.

There are a lot of companies from India, who are doing a good job. Simultaneously supporting both is important and making your local companies improve will help in the growth of the country.

I hope this helps! And help support the home talents!

5 Ways to Integrate CRM With Marketing Automation to Boost sales

5 Ways to Integrate CRM With Marketing Automation to Boost sales

The world of business has gotten competitive like never before. The average lifespan of a company was over 70 years in the 1950s. However, the introduction of new technologies and a dynamic business environment has bought the lifespan of an average company to less than 20 years.

average life span

Source: on-brand Partners

The sustainability and growth of the companies not only depend on acquiring new customers but also on maintaining the existing customers. According to the report, businesses lose a whopping $75 billion due to poor customer service.

A company needs to grow without harming their customer base. The best way to achieve it is by combining marketing automation with CRM.

Marketing automation means automating repetitive marketing activities, such as emails, website update, social media activities, and so on. On the other hand, CRM (customer relationship management) software lets you understand your existing and potential customers by retaining, analyzing, and organizing their data.

There are plenty of options for you when it comes to choosing CRM and marketing automation software. You can either select two vendors for marketing automation and CRM or choose one vendor to get both pieces of software. Some of the widespread marketing automation and CRM software vendors are Infusionsoft, Marketo, HubSpot, Zoho, Salesforce, and so on.

One of the recommended platforms is HubSpot. It offers both marketing automation and CRM tools to its users. The great thing about HubSpot is that you can get started with HubSpot CRM for free. Even the free version will assist your business to grow. Once you grow your business, you can opt for the paid features.

How can I boost my sales by integrating CRM and marketing automation?

Around 53% of the top-performing corporations have CRM system installed (Source). Another study shows that those companies who invest in marketing automation have increased their revenue by 79% and high-quality leads by 76%.

The results that you can get by integrating these tools are impressive. Here are some of the ways CRM and marketing automation can boost your sales, eventually leading to the growth of your company.

Your company can nurture your leads in a better way

You will not automatically convert your prospects by offering one free e-book or a report. There are a lot more works that you need to do to turn your leads into customers. After capturing the information of potential customers, you should guide them through to a sales process. The process of guiding is called lead nurturing.

The process of nurturing your leads is like building a stable relationship with a woman before you can ask your girl for marriage. You must answer all their objections and give them a solid reason to do business with your company before offering them a product/service.

Once you integrate your CRM and marketing automation software, your system will automatically start sending relevant content to your potential customers, according to their buying stage. It will result in significantly increasing your conversion rate as the system will continue to nurture the leads.

A boost in business intelligence

The study found that more than 50% of internet users are willing to share their personal information, while more than 60% of them expect companies to send personalized messages. What this means is that you will see a boost in your conversion rate if you send out personalized offers to your potential customers.

It is possible to send highly personalized messages to your customer base if you integrate CRM and marketing automation. Your software will capture critical customer data that your audience is willing to share with you. It is possible to use that data later to send out personalized messages to them via various channels.

CRM meter

A highly personalized message will send out the signal to your customers that you care about their needs. It will make them feel important, and that is what you need to do to convince them to do business with them.

The CRM software can use the data and show you many insights like page views by specific customers, time spent, resource downloaded, forms filled, and so on. These pieces of information will help you know the interests and preferences of your potential and existing customers.

After knowing these things, you can use the data to create more personalized messages for your customers. You can intelligently segment your customers and send out emails and messages that will resonate with them.

You can prioritize your potential customers

Not all leads are equal. Some people have better chances of buying your product/service in comparison to others. The 80/20 principle states that 80% of the effects are the results of 20% actions. In case of your business, you are likely to get more revenue from a small portion of your following. Some people are more likely to spend more money in your business than the rest.

One report revealed that over 50% of the revenue of small and medium-sized businesses come from repeat customers. With the help of CRM software, you can know in advance about your leads and their value. The information in your CRM software can allow the marketing automation tools to assign a value to each prospect.

CRM tools

Source: SuperOffice

The marketing automation software gives a score to the lead based on their online behavior. It will provide us with a hint about the people that are more likely to purchase our product and stay with us for a long time. After finding out the essential prospects, you can shift your focus to them and get more sales.

Shorter buying process

No companies want to wait for a long time to make a sale. However, there are times when they are compelled to wait to make a sale. It might take them a long time to figure out what the customers want before they make an offer to them. By stating “making an offer” I’m talking about making a relevant offer.

buying process

The time to make a sale can be challenging mainly when the users expose themselves to tons of information, which creates a lot of skepticism.

Thanks to advanced marketing automation and CRM software, you can drastically shorten that time. It will allow you to get them to buy your product and convert them into a loyal customer much more quickly than in the past.

You can now send out relevant information based on the collected data and answer their objections quickly to make a sale.

Accurately measure your performance

No one can do everything right. One always need to monitor the performance and continually improve the efforts to get better results. However, one needs to know their mistakes before they come up with an improved strategy.

The CRM software will get you the information, but it cannot accurately measure your performance. However, you can do that by integrating marketing automation software. It can dive deep into your marketing data and offer comprehensive statistics on your return. You will know what tactics are working for your company and what actions are incurring losses.

When you have detailed information, you can stop performing specific actions, update your strategy, and allocate more on the marketing campaigns that are producing results. It will ultimately lead you to have a better marketing strategy in place, saving you money, while increasing sales in a process.

Over to You

Many businesses have reaped the benefits by combining marketing automation and CRM. You can achieve similar results by implementing the combination in your business as well. However, it is not enough to connect both tools without any understanding.

Along with the installation of the system, you should also educate yourself and your team about the ways to best utilize the software for getting the maximum benefits from the system. Hopefully, you have gained useful insights from this article. If you want to add some more ideas, do leave your thoughts in the comment.


The Importance of Your Product’s Design and Appearance

The Importance of Your Product’s Design and Appearance

For the success of your product appearance is paramount, but it seems like many companies are not aware of how important this factor is. New trends in technology have pulled the focus away from aesthetics and more toward automation, analytics and technical solutions. Managers seem more intent in finding the latest solutions that provide greater efficiency and production speed.

In all this hype over new technologies like machine learning and business intelligence, it’s easy to overlook how the appearance of a product can affect how likeable the product is to customers. Businesses should be more concerned with how their brand image fits their core messages about competence and value. They should understand how design aesthetics convey a sense of professionalism and superior quality.

Appearance is not just about packaging. It’s also relevant in realms such as social media, customer service, and web content. Aesthetics and wording used to be the primary focus of business marketing, but the rapid advancements have eclipsed it in tech solutions that have revolutionized business strategy. For companies to create better branding for their products, they need to understand the importance of appearance throughout all areas of business and marketing operations.

Packaging appearance and design

First impressions are everything. People are more likely to buy if their first impression (the packaging) is positive. Packaging is also essential nowadays due to the growing prominence of online purchasing.

Some customers think packaging quality as their primary reason for rating a product either high or low quality. Packaging that is convenient and free of frustration when opening it is a critical factor in product satisfaction. Efficiency is also essential because consumers appreciate the importance of reducing the use of materials toward lowering the carbon footprint. The fact that homes are becoming smaller due to urbanization also makes smaller package size a desirable quality for people who have limited space.

Six roles that appearance plays toward influencing consumers

Product design and presentation affects people’s evaluation of product quality and has a significant impact on their ultimate choice of what they buy. Based on a recent study, the appearance of products influenced consumers’ evaluations of them in six different ways.

  • Conveying aesthetic appeal
  • Symbolic
  • Function
  • Ergonomics
  • Drawing attention
  • Categorization

The qualities of shape, color, and size of a product influence customers’ perceptions of value, and these qualities can be symbolic of specific ideas that are congruent with customer ideas about what a product should look like. Customers also make evaluations about the ergonomics and efficiency of the design.

A product with a bright color might draw attention, but this type of color could also be associated with cheaper products and harm the brand image. It’s beneficial to conduct tests that evaluate how customers react to a product design on these six points to get an overall sense of the brand image that is conveyed by the look of the product.

Appearance influences emotion

Effective branding stimulates emotion, which affects consumer behavior and choices. The most significant factor that affects emotion is color. Each color is associated with specific feelings, and research has shown that it accounts for 90% of quick judgments about the product. This means that color has a significant impact on people’s buying behaviors. The choice of color for a brand can affect its recognition by up to 80%. Many consumers say that they decide not to revisit a website if it has an unappealing aesthetic.

Branding should focus on the consumer, not you

Branding isn’t about the company; it’s about making a connection with the audience. Through branding, you can convey truths, universal ideas, observations, and trends visually. When this is done effectively, people will agree with the message and understand it. The real value of collecting data and customer feedback is when it is fed back to them through words and imagery. When the signal goes beyond reciting the benefits and price information, it can touch the hearts of consumers.

The best brand imaging campaigns have a clear message about what their company stands for. They know how to create a compelling presentation that incorporates all the core offerings, service, and all the values in a way that is pleasing to the eye and easy to understand. This is especially important online because a few seconds is a long time for someone surfing the web. If your message doesn’t make an impact within ten seconds, you have lost your opportunity to promote your business.

A new design can revitalize your brand image

The well-known computer peripherals company, Logitech, is doing a major overhaul on their brand image. They are changing their name to “Logi,” which means they’re cutting the word “tech” out of their image. However, they feel that the techy sounding name lacks a certain “sex appeal” that appeals to a more mainstream consumer. They have been well-respected by niche consumers who are computer enthusiasts, but their market share in other demographics has left something to be desired.

The company president, Bracken Darrell, is a progressive-minded individual who understands what brand imaging means to a product. As times change, the progressing image of the Logitech brand can make or break its success in a very competitive marketplace.

Cohesiveness builds loyalty

In order to keep customers loyal to your brand, it’s essential to employ cohesive branding in all phases of media both online and in physical store locations. Every place that people see your products, they need to recognize them. This is accomplished by consistently using the same color schemes, fonts, images and messaging. Business cards and signage should match the design and aesthetics of the website. This also comes into play with invoice designs and employee apparel aesthetics.

Every time you repeat the message on a different media channel or platform, you are reinforcing the brand image and creating more customer loyalty. This is similar to how a new couple can form a closer bond each time they go out to a different type of venue for a romantic date. If the first impression about your brand is about convenience and cost savings, then this message needs to be repeated each time the customer encounters the company in various scenarios and locations.

Branding builds relationships

Whether people realize it or not, brand image communication is forming a relationship with them. It doesn’t matter what type of product you’re offering. When a person is inundated with a message, they feel more of familiarity toward it, and they will naturally gravitate toward it on the store shelf.

Appearance is crucial online

A critical factor in clinching sales online is the appearance of the product in the photo images. This also comes into play with the design of the website. If the plan is poorly executed, the customer might have a frustrating time understanding the procedure to check out and purchase the items. Delivering a timely brand message can also reel a customer back in when they’re on the verge of exiting the shopping cart.

Appearance goes beyond aesthetics

Aesthetics entails all the visual aspects of a product including font, text size, color, and images. However, there is more to branding than those physical attributes. The voice of the brand speaks through customer service style, blog posts, marketing emails, and social media posts. Branding is a multi-faceted experience that immerses customers in many ways. Companies need to look appealing, but they also need to convey professionalism, trustworthiness, and values.