An Artificially Intelligent Digital Commerce Platform

You’re probably going to read this if only to find out what that title means. We’re all going to find out together as the online shopping experience continues to evolve.

The North Face has worked with a company called Fluid to develop an online shopping assistant powered by IBM’s Watson Cognitive Computing Technology (I say again, whatever that means).

It’s in beta right now and has just been released for use by the public. Apparently, it’s only for jackets so far. Go here to give it a try. What I found was that it was still a little clunky to use, but that’s why they call it a beta and I imagine it will only get better. Anyway, go play with it yourself.  I can’t see why it won’t ultimately be utilized in brick and mortar as well.

I’m waiting for the online shopping assistant that takes a picture of me through the camera on my digital device, asks me a few sizing and preference questions, saves those, and shows me what’s new that I might want whenever I log on. It’s probably already out there and certainly we already see shopping suggestions (way too much if you ask me) based on what we’ve purchased before. Imagine what that’s like when VF shares the data among all its brands. I am thinking such a system, if it does nothing else, might cut down on returns- brands are spending a lot of money on returns from online sales.

I’ve got one suggestions for The North Face. This is going to sound a little weird, but once in a while the digital assistant (you guys need to name this thing) should recommend a product from another brand when it’s appropriate. I don’t know when, how or what’s involved in programming that, but think of the credibility it would generate. And better they buy another brand’s product that is right for them than one of yours that’s not.  The North Face wouldn’t be the first to do that.  What’s the name of the insurance company that checks its competitors for the best deal?

Here’s the link to the article.  It’s intriguing and exciting to imagine where all this is going, but then I don’t have to run a retailer.