Shoptalk 2017: Artificial Intelligence and Parcel
Shoptalk dubs itself “the nextgen commerce event.” This year’s second annual conference, with more than 5,500 attendees from around the world and no shortage of big announcements or powerful influencers (see the expansive sponsor list as evidence), fit that bill.
For four information-filled days at the Aria in Las Vegas, members of the VeriShip team and I shared our platform expertise for parcel intelligence with business leaders and industry influencers alike. We listened and learned, taking the pulse of what matters and what’s to come in e-commerce and retail.
Artificial intelligence (AI) was a theme threaded throughout keynotes and conversations at the conference. As you know, AI has myriad connotations — you might be picturing smart robots in your head right now. In this setting, think of AI as enabling you to “better synthesize mounds of data and incorporate those learnings to improve the commerce experience,” as Forbes contributor Michelle Evans writes in her Shoptalk recap.
With artificial intelligence a centerpiece of Shoptalk, my team was in their comfort zone.
VeriShip has long been on the leading edge of parcel accountability technology. VeriShip’s Intelligence Platform uses AI to “translate” raw carrier invoicing, tracking, and transit data to help customers improve their small parcel shipping, resulting in cost savings and operational efficiency. In fact, our entire platform — what we describe as 3D: data, diagnosis, and design — is built on AI algorithms. More than a billion parcel shipments — and growing by the thousands daily — hone our algorithms in real time.
(For more insight on big data for parcel, check out this series at parcelindustry.com)
As a Shoptalk sponsor, VeriShip was the first stop on a Tech Tour series designed for C-suite attendees. This unique opportunity afforded us another avenue to evangelize VeriShip’s vision and expertise, and stand out from the crowd (or exhibit floor, in this case).
Beyond AI, other interesting Shoptalk takeaways:
- Omnichannel retailing continues to be key. Brick and mortar stores are facing well-publicized challenges, forcing them to beef up their online presence and seek innovative ways to keep up. Meanwhile, established online brands are strategically opening physical locations. The race is on to become the everything brand, with Amazon — and Walmart — battling to lead.
- Alibaba a quiet giant no more. While the 17-year-old Chinese company controls the world’s largest marketplace, it remains a relative secret to America’s consumers. For a perspective of scale, Alibaba’s Tmall ships 12 million packages a day. Its 2016 Singles Day (think Amazon’s Prime Day) had 657 million orders resulting in $17.8 billion in sales, 82 percent sold via mobile.
- Other tidbits. eBay announced three-day guaranteed shipping… 100,000 entrepreneurs had $100,000 in revenue from Amazon Marketplace last year… The easy pay trend continues to expand, with technology, telecommunications, and credit card companies competing.
These stats and stories remind us that what used to require immense time or resources — building out e-commerce properties, confidently distributing once-unbelievable package volumes, guaranteeing delivery within days — are more attainable than ever.
Parcel shipping is no different. Receiving a parcel health grade used to take a lot of time; now, with the help of AI and big data, actionable results are available within hours. Need proof? Our team at VeriShip can show you with no obligation. Contact us.