Artificial Intelligence (AI), paired with big data, brings back an asset long lost to commerce - knowing your customer. As organisations shift from product to customer-focused strategy, data aggregation is exploding, while latent issues in legacy data warehousing cripple analytics.

AI has been adopted by two-fifths of retailers to leverage customer insights, while machine learning (ML) has seen even greater uptake. Almost half of retail executives use ML to boost sales figures: predicting trends, tailoring special offers and monitoring customer behaviour.

Thibaut Ceyrolle

Customer base and orders snowballing month by month quickly demands upgrades to existing systems. The cost of a hardware overhaul is out of reach for most small businesses, and sharing data between departments is nigh-on impossible.

Data drives an intricate system of predictive modelling, automated sourcing, shipping and marketing. It gives a 360-degree view of your customers, but given the size of an online customer base it is only possible with AI.

Those at the forefront of innovation are reaping the rewards: 54% of shoppers have bought something based on automated recommendations or cart reminders, while over 70% have been nudged into purchases through coupons and discounts.

To make the most of the latest tools and technologies, retailers need more flexibility from their storage solution. The ability to meet peak demand ensures full advantage is taken of every market whim, while rolling back data caps in quieter periods means loss margins are minimised.

Most AI/ML solutions we see today are in stock and supply, but extend to customer relations, chatbots and tailored services.

Smaller businesses are showing promise against industry giants, but need every possible resource in their favour, with AI and ML as their powerhouse. They need holistic views of their customers to leverage every advantage and close every sale; real-time flexibility and scalability to minimise overheads and meet demand. Cloud-based data warehousing is the only viable solution for those who seek a level playing field.

Thibaut Ceyrolle is VP EMEA at Snowflake Computing