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Exclusive Q&A: Amy Eschliman, Google Cloud managing director, retail

AI image
AI is changing retail.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to disrupt retail across the enterprise.

Amy Eschliman, Google Cloud managing director for retail, recently had a conversation with Chain Store Age about how she sees rapid evolution in AI capabilities transforming retail in areas including marketing, personalization, supply chain, and staffing.

In other AI-related news, Google recently announced it is testing the integration of new generative AI functionality into its search engine to let consumers conduct online searches by asking conversational questions.

How will advancements in AI image analysis and generation change shopping?

These advancements will revolutionize the creative process. Building the right combination of words and imagery to market products across all of a retailer’s channels and marketing campaigns is costly, time-intensive and difficult.

On top of that, today’s shopper expects a high degree of personalization, which adds a whole new dimension to the task at hand. Generative AI technologies can enable a retailer’s creative teams to create proprietary images and creative content for campaigns, and one-to-one personalization at scale. 

[Read more: AI has arrived – and it’s not just ChatGPT]

How will generative AI aid retailers in the supply chain?

Google sees a couple important ways generative AI can help retailers in the supply chain area. For example, with enhanced search and conversation AI capabilities, retailers could help their supply chain teams who are often looking for internal information and insights; but have to sort through siloed sources to do so.

With generative AI tools, supply chain professionals can get increased access to internal resources, and you can imagine one result in the supply chain space being a better understanding of the best mix of pricing and trade promotion spend.

Using the same enhanced search and conversational AI capabilities, a retailer’s logistics team could search and synthesize documents associated with shipments. For a single shipment, there can be upwards of 20 associated documents which require significant time and resources to access specific information.

Supply chain professionals can obtain a quick way to navigate large sets of complex contracts, such as contract identification and summarization of terms, as well as compare multiple contracts. 

Will generative AI change how retailers staff their organizations?

Google cares a lot about how technology can affect people’s lives. No doubt jobs will shift, as they always have. We believe that many jobs will be complemented by these technologies, and entirely new jobs we can’t imagine today will be created, as well. 

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