THE RETAIL BULLETIN - The home of retail news
HOME
RETAIL NEWS
RETAIL EVENTS
Fashion
Department Stores
Shopping Centres & Retail Parks
Home & DIY
Electricals
Health & Beauty
General Merchandise
Entertainment
Sports & Leisure
Retail Solutions
Food & Drink
RETAIL INSIGHTS
RETAIL SOLUTIONS
ABOUT US
CONTACT US
SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE
Artificial Intelligence is proving popular with North Face customers

Outdoors specialist The North Face is utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve the customer experience online by helping shoppers find the right products on its website. By Glynn Davis in New York

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Artificial Intelligence is proving popular with North Face customers

Speaking at Retail's Big Show 2016 organised by NRF in New York, Cal Bouchard, director of e-commerce at The North Face, told delegates that search and filtering tools were not the most effective way for its customers to find the right products for their specific purposes.

"We wanted it to be more personal and intuitive with natural language being used so the customer could say, 'I want a jacket for a skiing trip'" she says. The solution was a partnership with Fluid Group to use the IBM Watson AI technology solution that began early last year and is now delivering positive results since its launch on The North Face website in mid-December.

By asking the customer a series of questions, it gradually hones in on the ideal product for them - determined by their specific needs that are worked out from the intelligent questions Watson asks.

Throughout the interaction with the customer it throws up a selection of potentially suitable products that then give visual cues to the shopper, thereby helping the solution move closer to the ideal item. "Visual engagement helps and the results change dramatically as more questions are asked. And customers can ask questions, which would not be possible with filters," explains Bouchard.

As the potential products are selected, Watson gives the reasons why it has picked out these specific items. It was initially tested on The North Face VIP loyalty programme customers. Of the 50,000 people that used it the average time spent on it was two minutes and 75% stated they would use it again.

"The customers who would gain most value are those who don't know about the product they want. It looks super promising to us after 12 months of effort," says Bouchard, but she warns other retailers who are thinking of using AI that they must take into account the work load involved in creating the data structure that enables Watson to be fully effective.

Email this article to a friend

You need to be logged in to use this feature.

Please log in here

Subscribe For Retail News

RETAIL EVENTS

Retail Human Resources Summit
Retail Human Resources Summit
Wednesday 3 October 2018
The Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1
The 10th HR Summit 2018, The Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1, 3rd October 2018
The Retail Design Summit 2018
The Retail Design Summit 2018
14 November 2018
The Cavendish Conference Centre
The Retail Design Summit 2018
Omnichannel Futures Conference 2019
Omnichannel Futures Conference 2019
6 February 2019
Cavendish Conference Centre, London WG1 9DT
A truly omnichannel offering requires an understanding of customer behaviour across all shopping channels and how this should impact your overall business strategy
Customer Engagement Conference 2019
Customer Engagement Conference 2019
5 June 2019
Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1
The 10th Annual Retail Customer Engagement Summit
National Minimum Wage Breakfast Briefing
National Minimum Wage Breakfast Briefing
20 September 2018
6th Floor 1, St. Martin's Le Grand London, EC1A 4AS
National Minimum Wage Breakfast Briefing