A little technological assistance can level the playing field.
As much as I love shopping on Amazon, I do worry sometimes about the state of retail. When all of your products, from the biggest purchases to the smallest snack baggies, come from one place, that’s the beginnings of a monopoly, and I’m not keen on wearing a top hat and monocle. Consumer packaged goods (or CPGs) are losing a lot of business to the online shopping giant that is Amazon. In order to level the playing field, CPG brands need to find ways to compete with Amazon’s technological prowess. Artificial intelligence may provide the answer.
The primary difference between Amazon’s business and a random box of pasta at the supermarket is that Amazon is constantly collecting data about its customer base with every purchase and tweaking itself to accommodate their wants and needs. The random pasta company, on the other hand, has no consistent grasp of its consumers. Someone buys a box of pasta, but that’s for the market to know, not the producer. To combat this, CPG producers can employ artificial intelligence to help them skip the middleman and deliver directly to the consumer. Some companies like Casper and Hello Fresh already do this.
So what could AI actually do for these companies? Well, the thing to remember is that a company specializing in one product probably doesn’t have the manpower to manage all of the customer data a direct delivery relationship would entail. AI could handle the lion’s share of all sorts of tasks, including inventory management, delivery schedules, and most importantly, gathering and archiving of customer demographic data.
If a business can create a strong, reliable product, then they deserve to get whatever business they can. If it means getting a leg up on the behemoth that is Amazon, I think a little technological trampoline won’t hurt anyone.