Missguided CTO says AI is retail's future

Missguided sees artificial intelligence as a key way to drive sales growth and connect with customers, the young fashion retailer’s chief technology officer John Allen said.


Missguided will rely heavily on tech as it navigates an omnichannel future


Speaking at an event in New York, he also said businesses need a revolution in their systems and operations and that leadership teams need more than ever to have deep understanding of technology as AI and other tech disrupt the industry.

And that disruption could see traditional job roles changing beyond all recognition, Essential Retail reported.

“In 10 years from now, we might see emerging players that have never had merchandisers or buyers in the traditional way, and brand management that is done entirely by two or three individuals and the rest by social media-driven content,” he said.

Allen also said the company has made major investments in digitising its supply chain as it moves from being a pureplay e-tailer to an omnichannel one and drives sales through click-and-collect.

In this process, the company has relied heavily on AI and machine learning and has been testing AI-enabled chatbots.
But less visible to the customer is the way Allen thinks that AI in the supply chain will one day allow machines to make decisions previously made by people, while also allowing humans to intervene when needed.

He said that machines “aren’t going to do everything,” especially when it comes to creative decision-making. But “as you move through the supply chain, taking out some of the inefficiency and the people out of the process to make their contribution greater rather than being administrators of data, that’s where the technology [has potential].”

He sees this move towards AI happening over the next five to 10 years unthaw wider industry and that will help businesses such as Missguided support a much more personalised service in the future.

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