Retail sales aggregator Lovethesales.com has launched a new Machine Learning (ML) platform to classify and categorise over one million products on its website, at a speed that could change the face of traditional merchandising. It completes a task that would take a team of 10 four years to complete, in just under 8 hours.
LovetheSales has a unique problem to solve. It works with more than 700 multi-national retailers, processing millions of products a day, separating out everything that’s discounted so it can be displayed to consumers enabling them to shop every sale in one place.
With this comes the challenge of managing between 10 to 50 times the number of items even the largest of retailers have in their product catalogue. Managing a product catalogue of this size is an insurmountable task for traditional merchandising.
Enter Minerva, the AI system developed by LovetheSales.
Minerva’s role is to understand what each product is, understand what attributes it has (such as product gender, colour, length, style, material, fit, pattern and so on), place each product into the relevant area of the site and then promote more popular products over less popular ones, dependant on a user’s activity.
Using Support Vector Machine technology, the system calls on over 100 million data points from training data that has been manually entered by the Lovethesales team over a 10 month period. In less than 8 hours Minerva reviews the entire product catalogue and tags each product individually with any relevant attributes. Minerva then places the items into the correct departments on the website, while promoting the stock she deems more likely to sell.
Minerva’s ability to perform these tasks so quickly and efficiently completely changes the role of merchandising within e-commerce. According to LovetheSales, to classify and promote 1 million products correctly, they would need to employ a team of 10 people for 4 years at a cost of around £1,250,000 just to complete this once. Minerva does this job in 8 hours, at a minimal ongoing cost.
David Bishop, CTO & co-founder of LovetheSales, commented “The future of retail is highly connected with developments in Machine Learning. It’s an exciting time as it allows us to bring to market great services such as LovetheSales, which wouldn’t have been feasible 10 years ago – ultimately it’s consumers who will reap the benefits.”
LovetheSales.com joins the ranks of Amazon, Facebook and Netflix, companies who have also invested heavily in Artificial Intelligence, with many commentators now drawing comparisons between the development of AI, and the fast technological expansion the world saw with the Industrial Revolution. Mark Zuckerberg recently said he felt AI would “outperform humans within the next decade”.