To help retailers achieve competitive advantage, Intelligence Retail wanted to provide them with fast, accurate product information, and needed a powerful infrastructure to support its solutions.
Intelligence Retail migrated to IBM Cloud bare metal servers featuring cutting-edge GPUs, boosting performance for its visual recognition engine and machine-learning algorithms.
Enablesretailers to enhance sales, decrease audit costs and drive customer loyalty
40%higher performance from IBM Cloud solutions slashes response times
ReadiesIntelligence Retail for growth by ensuring it can serve clients of any size
Business challenge story
Ensuring products don’t get lost in the mix
Consumers today face more choice than ever – so retailers need to work harder to capture every sales opportunity. They must ensure that products are always in stock and goods are positioned in line with their merchandising strategies.
However, keeping track of products manually is a huge challenge. Particularly for stores that contain thousands of goods, capturing and understanding product information is a time-consuming burden. Intelligence Retail aims to equip retailers with the information they need to make better decisions on the spot with visual recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
Maxim Morozov, Chief Executive Officer at Intelligence Retail, explains: “Typically, retailers and CPG [consumer packaged goods] producers rely on manual audits and questionnaires to monitor product performance and share of shelf. That meant they were often using a snapshot of information to come up with strategy, rather than real-time insights. We wanted to change all that using AI.”
Intelligence Retail created a solution that analyzes photographs of shelves taken with smartphones or tablets to identify products and calculate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) around presence, position, promotion and pricing. To ensure that the solution could crunch all of this data in seconds and present the results in an easy-to-understand way, the company needed a powerful infrastructure platform.
“Our machine learning algorithms and visual recognition engine require huge amounts of processing power to return insights quickly,” says Morozov. “We wanted to showcase this information through intuitive, tailored dashboards. Also, as a fast-growing company, we wanted extra resources on tap to ensure we could act fast on opportunities for expansion. It was a time to find a new technology vendor to help us in the next stage of our development.”
Bringing new acumen to retail
Intelligence Retail moved its solutions to IBM Cloud bare metal infrastructure, choosing GPU servers designed to handle compute-intensive workloads. The IBM team helped the company thoroughly test the new platform, demonstrating that the servers offered huge performance gains and stability.
“With IBM Cloud, we get access to the latest and greatest technology at a very reasonable price,” comments Morozov. “IBM provides the global resources we need to support us as we grow into new markets, along with the personal support and focus we want from a vendor.”
With leading-edge GPU computing supporting its solutions, Intelligence Retail can offer users very short response times, with complex photographs of store shelves analyzed in no more than 10 seconds. The company commits to an accuracy level of 95 percent and can go live with 1,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) in just a month of a new client coming onboard.
“The retail industry is fast-moving and dynamic, which means we have to be too,” adds Morozov. “During the testing phase, we found that the IBM GPU cloud servers out-performed the competition by 40 percent, making them the ideal foundations for our solutions.”
To visualize and share the insights gleaned by its solutions, Intelligence Retail deployed IBM Cognos® Analytics. The IBM software powers dashboards for sales performance and price and promotions, which can be tailored to users’ needs.
The sales performance dashboard allows users to drill down into KPIs such as share of shelf, on-shelf availability, share of assortment, out of shelf and planogram compliance. Around price and promotions, users can analyze regular prices, promotional prices and competitive price indices. Both dashboards make it possible to aggregate KPIs by region, retailer, store, category, brand, auditor, visitor and more.
“We’ve experienced enormous growth over the last year, and the amount of data we needed to analyze increased by 100 times as we brought on more clients,” recalls Morozov. “Thanks to Cognos Analytics we were able to take on this growth without missing a beat; it provides an extremely effective big data platform.”
Aiming for global domination
Underpinned by IBM technology, Intelligence Retail solutions give retailers and CPG producers the up-to-date, relevant insights they need to make better, faster decisions. As a result, they can enhance retail execution processes and capitalize on revenue opportunities, gaining a lucrative edge over competitors.
“By replacing manual processes, our solutions enable retailers to be much more efficient, reducing audit costs by up to 80 percent,” says Morozov. “With a better understanding of product performance, our clients have been able to lift sales by two to three percent on average. They also avoid stock-out situations for customers’ favorite products, enhancing the buying experience to build long-term loyalty.”
In just two years, Intelligence Retail has expanded from its origins in Moscow to serve new retail and CPG clients across Eastern Europe. Moving to the IBM Cloud puts simple scalability at the company’s fingertips, allowing it to serve companies of any size at relatively short notice. Next on the agenda, Intelligence Retail will explore IBM Watson® solutions and how they can support demand forecasting.
Morozov concludes: “It gives us great peace of mind to know that we have best-in-class IT resources available in data centers across the world through IBM. IBM is a global leader in AI and cloud, so we’re excited to explore how Watson can help us move beyond providing insights to giving users recommendations about what they should do next.”
About Intelligence Retail
Intelligence Retail is cornering the market for AI solutions designed for the retail sector. Through customizable, data-driven digital merchandising solutions, the company achieves tangible results for clients, including lower costs, higher sales and greater customer retention. Headquartered in Moscow, Russia, Intelligence Retail also has an office in Helsinki, Finland.