- “Just a few days after VentureBeat reported that Pinterest chief technology officer (CTO) Vanja Josifovski was jumping ship for Airbnb, the game of musical chairs is continuing with news that Pinterest has hired Walmart CTO Jeremy King as its new head of engineering.
- The announcement comes less than 24 hours after an internal memo revealed that King was leaving Walmart after nearly eight years at the company. Most recently, King served as EVP and CTO for Walmart U.S., where he spearheaded the company’s ecommerce technology efforts.
- Pinterest is, of course, an entirely different kind of business from Walmart — but there are enough similarities to make King a good fit for the role. The San Francisco-based company has evolved a great deal over the past decade, transitioning from being an online social pinboard of sorts to become more of a “visual discovery engine” that leans heavily on computer vision and artificial intelligence. A big part of its current business is making it easier for people to buy things that they see online and in the real world.”
“The world’s largest retailer is using Jetblack, a money-losing personal-shopping service, to develop artificial intelligence to compete with e-commerce giant Amazon”
Photo by Gary Miller
- “In between the glamour and geeks, companies like Walmart, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Kohl’s are sending execs to Austin to tout new technologies and how they’re keeping up with the changing retail landscape.
- In addition, some retailers that started out and still mostly sell online will be at this year’s SXSW, which starts Friday and runs through March 17. Among them are luggage maker Away, clothing rental service Rent the Runway, apparel companies Revolve and Outdoor Voices and online marketplace StockX.
- Walmart is sending its Chief Technology Officer Jeremy King to talk about why stores still play an important role in the retailer’s e-commerce strategy.
- Kohl’s is sending Grace Burgio, who manages artificial intelligence for the department store chain, to discuss how AI is helping Kohl’s boost in-store sales.”
- “Sales in the U.S. are at a nine-year high. One thing Jeff’s presentation made abundantly clear is that the company plans to keep those numbers up with artificial intelligence.
- Last spring, Walmart redesigned its website to be more personalized. Shoppers are served product recommendations based on their previous behaviors, an important distinction. According to Accenture, 58% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that does so. Plus, if a brand doesn’t make relevant recommendations, SmarterHQ found that 47% of people will go to Amazon — Walmart’s chief rival.
- “We have more data than nearly everyone in the world. We’re making heavy investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning to grow our business,” says Jeff. ‘Why? Because we have to.'”
One of the best aspects of transitioning to a new calendar is the year-in-review pieces written by popular technology blogs and publications. This morning I discovered a post written by Ana Păstrăvanu of thepaypers.com.
Here are just a few of the key take-always. Check out the post for full details.
- In Pakistan ecommerce was expected to surpass USD 1 billion in 2018, propelled by the increase in broadband penetration and the rise in the number of online payment merchants.
- In India, ecommerce sales reached USD 32.70 billion (an increase of 31% compared to 2017), with growth being driven by Amazon, Flipkart, and Paytm Mall.
- In January, Amazon opened Amazon Go, an automated and checkout-free grocery store in Seattle.
- Walmart’s take on cashier-less checkout, Scan&Go, started being tested in stores in the US.
- A study released by Juniper Research found that global retailers’ spending on AI would reach USD 7.3 billion per annum by 2022.
- Flipkart acquired Liv.ai, an India-based AI-led speech recognition software startup, while Walmart partnered with Microsoft for a wider use of cloud and AI technology.
- In August, Visa has created a new category of payment aggregator, the marketplace, and updated the requirements that have to be met in order to qualify as a marketplace under Visa’s rules.
- 2018 marked the world’s biggest purchase of an ecommerce company, the acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart, in May, for USD 16 billion.
- Another important announcement regarded Adobe’s intention of acquiring Magento Commerce from private equity company Permira for USD 1.68 billion.
- Another important investment in 2018 is marked by Alibaba, which increased its control of Lazada, investing USD 2 billion into the business.
“Artificial Intelligence is taking over retail and has been used across the entire product and service cycle.
- Flipkart which was acquired by US retail giant Walmart this year is using machine learning (ML) to arrive at a structured address classification system for order deliveries,
- The ML solution classifies and resolves inconsistencies with a 98% accuracy rate.
AI-powered visual aided picking (within warehouses/ distribution centers)
- As report indicated, Physical forms of AI are now extending beyond chatbots to robots in the warehouse. The AI robots markets is expected to grow at 28.8% CAGR between 2017 and 2023.
- German-based ecommerce player Otto: The AI system predicts customer purchases at 90% accuracy, thereby reducing product returns by over two million items a year.
AI for stock replenishments
- AI-driven insights from varied data sets offer significant scope to automate stock replenishments.
- This allows the company to predict demand down to the individual store level and then automates the product orders. As a result, shelf gap was found to be reduced by 30% during trial sessions.36
AI for assortment rationalization
- Global fashion retailer H&M faced a significant challenge: $4 billion worth of unsold stock
- The number of SKUs reduced by 40% as a result”
- Walmart Labs, the local product development division of US retail giant Walmart has acqui-hired Delaware-based data analytics and machine learning startup Int.Ai, its second acqui-hire in India in three months, as it looks to strengthen its engineering team.
- In September, Walmart Labs brought the entire team of engineers from Bengaluru-based Appsfly onboard, which built a system for micro apps to get hosted and streamed on any platform.
- Globally, acqui-hiring has been used by large companies to get talent in a new domain it looks to test waters. In 2017, Google acquired Halli Labs, a four-month-old startup out of Bengaluru that was developing artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions. Its founder Pankaj Gupta, now heads the internet giant’s Next Billion Users (NBU) team that looks at building technology in emerging markets.
- In October, Airtel acqui-hired Authme ID services, an AI-based solution firm to bring in its founders Shardul Shirkant Lavekar and Parth Mudgal into its employment.
CSONDY, GETTY IMAGES
- On Thanksgiving Day, the traffic flowing through mobile devices represented 68 percent of all online traffic, according to Salesforce. And 54 percent of all digital orders that day were made through smart phones, the most of any day this year and roughly 30 percent more than in 2017.
- Social media is also playing a growing role, with nearly 8 percent of traffic on Thanksgiving Day generated by platforms like Instagram and Facebook — a more than 40 percent uptick over 2017.
- Digital research firm eMarketer has similar figures, saying that e-commerce spending will rise 16.6% to $123.73 billion, making up 12.3% of total holiday retail sales — the largest chunk ever.
“Walmart is piloting same-day grocery delivery in China via a new service called Walmart To Go.
According to a report in TechCrunch, customers in China can access the service via a mini-program within WeChat, which is the messaging app owned by China’s Tencent. Walmart partnered with WeChat earlier in 2018 to tap that market of consumers.”
“US-based retail corporation Walmart is reportedly planning to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) -based lab which they are calling an Intelligent Retail Lab inside one of its stores in Levittown, New York. The company plans on using AI to help it identify when stocks are running low so that it can replenish it. The company is also aiming to use technology to identify spills, when products are placed in the wrong shelf, etc. According to the company, the team responsible for building the AI-based lab is named Kepler.”