Expert Panel Explains How Generative AI Could Impact Retail, Health Care

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Session at NACDS Total Store Expo discusses minor changes that retail companies can make to mesh artificial intelligence into their work to increase sales, improve margins, and lower costs.

During a session at the NACDS Total Store Expo in San Diego, California, a group of panelists from Coresight Research and Digital Wave Technology discussed how artificial intelligence (AI) can be harnessed to create new content and ideas in health care, retail, and wellness services. They also highlighted practical and impractical applications within AI, how to determine whether these services are worth the cost, and discussed specific tasks to focus on.

Image Credit: Supatman - stock.adobe.com

Image Credit: Supatman - stock.adobe.com

Deborah Weinswag, CEO and founder of Coresight Research, noted that there are many different AI startups flooding the landscape. She added that learning how to use AI and generative AI will be helpful to solve challenges that surround organized retail crime, retail media networks, and demand forecasting.

“Getting through the noise is a huge challenge for influencer marketing. Some of the first things to think about from a marketing perspective are how to change your messages by channel and how to identify people,” Weinswag said.

Weinswag explained that small personal tasks that can be handled by AI, such as creating a LinkedIn caption, can boost engagement. Further, using AI for larger retail challenges can create predictive models, pattern recognition, and new multimodal content. The research shows that this innovation can boost market growth as health care companies increasingly harness AI to improve patient care and business efficiency.

“Generative AI is a subset of artificial intelligence. It can find similar patterns in similar words or images, create new text, video, images, and poetry—it creates all sorts of things,” said Lori Schafer, CEO of Digital Wave Technology. “We saw that we could literally revolutionize the way businesses work and we must be part of it. I've been in the business for about 20 years on the technology side and I've never seen anything like it.”

Schafer added that AI can significantly improve business efficiencies while enhancing the customer experience and the ability to generate more conversions, regardless of the industry. Although the technology is changing rapidly, Schafer recommends that companies start small and simple. Whether it’s a consumer goods company, a retailer, or a pharmaceutical company, using AI to manage B2C or B2B websites can decrease wasteful retail practices with an outload of items.

Other uses the panelists mentioned for generative AI is storytelling and copywriting to provide character constraint and native multimedia language that create brand stories. Schafer noted that generative AI should not be used for this function without human intervention, but these small changes and improvements can aid these tasks and be published instantaneously.

“We're at the beginning of this, don't be afraid of it and use it as a copilot. It's not magic, it's not even intelligent—even though it's called generative artificial intelligence. Get a partner to work with you that can listen to your problem and create the use case,” Schafer said.

The panelists explained further that retailers and brands of health systems can utilize AI internally and externally to give them more time to focus on serving the client and building a data model. Guy Yehiav, president of SmartSense by Digi, said that internal AI involves retaining labor while external AI refers to the quality of the brand.

“To start, you look at specific cases that you're trying to improve, and then it's easier to build the data model for those. So, you look at the specific sensors and look at the telemetry data that you need, and you run the model,” Yehiav said.

Yehiav noted that starting these models is essential because as the company adapts to errors by penalizing and crediting based on the accuracy of the result, it can improve adoption of these skills to serve clients.

Panelist and consultant researcher Andre Persaud added that AI allows for a much easier and more predictable process to enable a demand planning system. Providing a practical perspective, Persaud suggested that a great place to start with AI is to copy and paste everything that is being done into an Excel spreadsheet to provide visuals, so others can learn internally at an accelerated rate.

Once the systems are in place, he said that AI can be used for marketing tasks, analyzing data effectively and efficiently.

With an AI-driven process, internal systems can collect every customer attribute to better understand how they shop while also running hundreds of campaigns simultaneously. Over a period of 1 to 3 days, the AI-driven process can easily determine which campaigns are the most effective.

“It does speed things up significantly and can receive over a 10-times improvement on conversion rate, just by allowing the system to work,” Persuad said.

Reference

How Generative AI will Impact Retail and Healthcare. Presented at: NACDS TSE Conference 2023. San Diego, California. August 11, 2023.

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