Ben Zifkin, the CEO of Hubba Inc., a Toronto-based online B2B platform connecting retailers to brands, is relying on a burgeoning technology to help him better serve his customers. Robots.
“It’s the new way of doing things for retailers,” Zifkin tells The Globe and Mail.
It’s a win-win. Brands, of course, are thrilled to be on the radar of big retailers while retailers feel empowered to ditch trial and error in favor of data analysis that maps consumer behavioral patterns over shopping habits. For retailers, the difference is night and day.
“You may have heard of 10 or 20 brands in your industry before, now AI can show you a thousand companies that you may have never heard of. More importantly, we can show you the 10 you ought to care about.”
“All of a sudden the whole world is open to you,” Zifkin explained. “You may have heard of 10 or 20 brands in your industry before, now AI can show you a thousand companies that you may have never heard of. More importantly, we can show you the 10 you ought to care about.”
Hubba is one of many Canadian startups eager to bridge artificial intelligence and machine learning to the world of retail.
Rubikloud Technologies Inc., based in Toronto, enables retailers to automate time-consuming processes.
“It works across the entire supply chain. It helps retailers understand and control the profitability of their products,” Kerry Liu, co-founder and CEO, says. “To do this, we take massive quantities of retail historic data and move it into AI.”
With Rubikloud, he describes, retailers can forecast sales for a private clothing label, down to how much cotton to order and how much production to have. Its AI software can also analyze sales to prevent inventory shortages and provide insights on the effectiveness of loyalty programs.
“Retailers often fund these programs through large marketing budgets. If they’re not actually driving the consumer behaviour they seek through these programs, then they’re wasting money,” Liu says. He reveals that automation through Rubikloud increases accuracy by 30 to 40 percent.
With results like these, it is no shock that retailers are sold on AI.