From AI website builders to AI writers, artificial intelligence can be found in almost every industry. One area where AI has had a transformative impact is across global supply chains and logistics. Companies everywhere are increasingly adopting AI to slash expenses, boost productivity, better forecast needs, and roll out all sorts of original offerings and tools.
You could say that it’s remaking the playbook, and here, we explore exactly how by looking at the key benefits and use cases.
Supply chains have long been mired in inefficiencies – poor visibility and forecasting inaccuracies plague inventory management, ballooning costs and offering subpar customer service. Yet AI can make everything that much easier.
With predictive analytics and optimization algorithms, AI systems can accurately predict demand fluctuations, dynamically calibrate inventory levels, and optimize delivery routes in real time.
AI empowers supply chain leaders with enhanced efficiency and peak performance.
Kum & Go, a convenience chain, is streamlining its supply chain and merchandize optimization using machine learning powered by AI. The company enhanced its forecasting and mobility features by adopting machine learning-based forecasts that incorporate various data sources and improve order precision.
Accurate demand forecasting is crucial yet pretty difficult in the fast-paced world of ecommerce. Customer preferences change on a dime, and market factors flip so quickly. But AI and its predictive algorithms give online retailers a huge leg up.
By examining boatloads of sales data, pricing history, search trends, promotions, and reviews, AI models spot subtle patterns in consumer behavior that humans would likely miss. And they use those insights to make super detailed forecasts on what shoppers will buy in the coming days, weeks, and months.
Armed with those projections, companies can smartly stock inventory and scale production ahead of demand shifts. Mega retailer Walmart does just that, banking on smart AI to master inventory throughout its massive network of stores.
By instantly analyzing point-of-sale data, the brand builds forecasts on what shoppers are snapping up. Are certain products flying off shelves or collecting dust? AI predictive models know early and give Walmart informed choices on restocking so popular items never run dry.
AI gives brands a peek into the future of consumer demand. And as these systems process more data, the forecasts get even more uncannily precise. In unpredictable ecommerce, the gift of future insight from AI delivers a huge competitive advantage.
Figuring out the best routes for shipping products has always been tricky. Fuel prices fluctuate, traffic jams happen – so many things can make transport costs spike. But AI lends online retailers a helpful hand by finding them optimized delivery paths to cut down expenses.
How does it work? Well, AI systems take giant pools of data around the following:
- Fuel expenditures
- Real-time traffic flows
- Warehouse locations
- Order destinations
Then it crunches the numbers to uncover cheaper ways to fulfill orders. Maybe it makes sense to reroute packages through Atlanta instead of New York to avoid congestion and save on mileage. Or the answer might lie in consolidating shipment trips during off-peak hours.
By having AI continuously evaluate data and route options, retailers can dodge pricing surges and provide budget-friendly shipping for customers. Savvy companies like DHL use these AI systems to great effect, experiencing a 50% decrease in picking errors thanks to AI-driven supply chain optimization.
Personalized experiences mean everything in online shopping nowadays. Customers expect retailers to cater to their individual needs and preferences. Well, AI makes that level of personalization possible across delivery and logistics.
How? By letting retailers tap into customer data around past purchases, browsing behavior, size measurements, and even personal build. ASOS, for example, has leveraged Azure Machine Learning to speed up its recommendation engine, effectively linking customers with relevant brands. This AI integration has significantly cut their time-to-market from six months to approximately six weeks.
AI systems also use insights to tailor shipping and fulfillment on a super granular, customer-specific basis. Maybe someone always wants expedited Sunday delivery. Or a certain unboxing experience. AI allows retailers to pinpoint the logistics touches that delight different customers.
More information: Learn more about other ways AI can help with customer experiences.
Fraud poses a nasty threat in ecommerce logistics. Between fake orders, stolen payment info, and shady suppliers, retailers have it rough. Thankfully, AI lends a heavy hand in detection and prevention.
By reviewing past fraud patterns and scrutinizing orders, AI spots shady transactions in an instant. When suspicious activity is uncovered, AI systems can halt fulfillment or flag to human teams.
But that’s not the only way AI can offer enhanced security. Rolls Royce has recently collaborated with Google to develop innovative autonomous ships equipped with AI algorithms that detect and categorize objects in the water based on the risk they present.
Future autonomous boats will pack even more smart tech for smooth safe sailing. We’re talking sensors that continuously scan engine activity, cargo holds, and security while at sea. This artificial intelligence integration speeds up ocean shipping big time by keeping transport smooth and safe.
AI’s perpetual vigilance lets companies preempt most security breaches, too. Supply chains stay locked down and fraud is greatly minimized with such tech on guard. Now retailers can focus on smooth operations, not fraud fighting, thanks to AI’s watchful eye.
Getting your pricing right is mega important for success in online retail. And prices need to flex as market conditions change. That’s where AI shines. It gives merchants the power to nimbly adjust prices on the fly based on subtle signals.
The tech tracks components like competitor rates, supply fluctuations, and buyer demand shifts spotted in website browsing. Then AI automatically tweaks prices across catalogs to capitalize on opportunities.
For example, Amazon uses sophisticated machine learning to comb through supply, demand, shopper trends, and competitor intel. Then, every 10 minutes, Amazon’s algorithms crunch the numbers and tweak listings across its catalog to lock in prime profits. A product flying off shelves may see a price bump to capitalize on popularity. Meanwhile, lagging goods get marked down to spur sales. This hyper-precise AI pricing allows Amazon to stay uber-agile in a competitive market.
So by letting algorithms handle continuous rate adjustments, retailers master strategic pricing in our dynamic ecommerce landscape. Just another way AI grants a winning marketplace edge.
Returns are a big-time headache for e-tailers and mean tons of added costs and complexity. But what if AI could predict which items shoppers are most likely to send back?
That’s exactly what some brands are doing. Using data to improve product recommendations, AI models forecast returns down to the stock-keeping unit (SKU) level. Armed with these insights, companies can update policies, personalized recommendations, and more to cut down on returns happening in the first place.
Clothing giant Zalando uses this approach with awesome results. It implements AI to get product recommendations right. Smart algorithms boost suggestion accuracy by 20% and slice returns by 15% via ultra-personalized picks for shoppers.
Dealing with customer questions around order issues or tracking information can be a real challenge for ecommerce businesses. Responding to tons of inquiries with human staff alone just doesn’t scale. But that’s where helpful chatbots come in.
AI-powered chatbots automatically handle common requests like order status lookups, return policies, or payment questions. That means smaller wait times and 24/7 availability. And thanks to machine learning, these chatbots get smarter daily as they acquire more data from customer queries.
Airline KLM Royal Dutch knows good service means being there for flyers 24/7 in their preferred language. That’s why they rolled out a clever multilingual Facebook chatbot to respond to passenger questions and concerns.
Beyond bots, natural language AI helps human teams understand customer messages, too, ensuring that the right queries are sent to the right teams. Bots handle high volumes of basic inquiries, while complex issues are handed off to human teams and still see thoughtful solutions. As a result, responses feel fast and personalized.
This future-forward AI merges convenience and customization, and is just one of the many reasons to use AI in customer service. Between automated self-service and AI-boosted teams, retailers can finally deliver five-star, instant support post-purchase.
In our current environment-consicious world, sustainable shipping is key. Customers want their online orders delivered fast but in eco-friendly ways. AI comes through in helping retailers go green across logistics.
It can locate the most efficient routes, optimize packaging down to size, predict renewable energy needs, and more sustainability heroics. Companies then reduce emissions, meeting Earth-first objectives.
Amazon is just one company aiming to hit new sustainability goals. Artificial intelligence is helping this retail giant slash packaging waste in a major way. By implementing machine learning-optimized packing systems, Amazon has cut its packaging requirements by 33% over just five years, thanks to AI.
That elimination of over 900k tons of material and 1.6 billion shipping boxes is no small feat. The algorithms even analyze customer feedback to catch overboxed items and prompt the bundling of products to further limit waste. So by letting AI make smart, instant packaging selections, Amazon streamlines the unboxing experience while reducing its carbon footprint.
As consumer consciousness grows, AI gives brands a framework to progress toward environmental goals without impacting delivery times.
Warehouse work gets a major upgrade with AI-powered augmented reality. AR headsets that display critical data insights are making order picking way more seamless for human staff. We’re talking overlays that showcase exact item locations and quotas in warehouses.
But mixed with AI, the future looks even brighter. AI can populate AR glasses with predictive information, like popular products, to speed up fulfillment. Additionally, it can highlight fragile items that need gentle handling.
Associated AI even tracks worker performance to guide coaching. Augmented intelligence is seriously optimizing operations. Statistics show AR adoption leads to fulfilling orders almost 40% faster with near-perfect accuracy. Talk about a productivity boom through immersive tech and smart AI collaboration.
We’ve seen how AI can make logistics faster, cheaper, and more eco-friendly through optimization. While predictive powers give retailers an edge, automation handles the heavy lifting.
If you’re researching AI solutions to improve your logistics and operations, the benefits are clear. Thanks to machine learning tech, you can make a ton of AI-assisted adjustments to improve your bottom line and set your delivery services apart. The future of modern logistics looks AI-assisted.
It also helps retailers to accurately personalize products for consumers, meaning fewer returns and increasing the chances of return purchasers. AI can also assist with security and tracking, ensuring deliveries arrive safely and consumers’ personal details are protected.