Burberry is a leader in the fashion industry with its luxury clothes lines offered around the world. With the threat of online retail, the company decided in 2006 to re-orient themselves towards technology and aimed at not just being a player in the digital space but a dominating force. Their success, achieved by the use of big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been staggering.
The first initiative, which is now an industry standard, involved asking customers to provide data voluntarily through loyalty and reward programs. This information was then used to offer targeted recommendations. In the store sales assistants utilized tablets to access personalised information on the customer as they enter the store.
In 2014 the CEO at the time, Angela Ahrendts explained that the strategy was to make “walking through our doors…just like walking into our website”. By the next year in 2015, this push had resulted in a 50% increase in repeat customers. By using the data provided by the program, specifically having to do with images relating to sales, one particular item saw a 100% sales increase. So how where they able to see this kind of success?
The Leading Edge
Burberry has focused on being early adopters of technology. This had a knock on effect, as their utilisation of the technology changed the direction that the innovation went and they were then able to capitalise even more on the same technology. They led the pack by:
1. Being the first to use Snapchat’s Snapcode feature.
2. Being the first brand with its own Apple Music channel.
3. Giving customers the chance to make versions of TV ads starring themselves
4. Using Facebook chatbots.
Stopping Counterfeit Sales
Using image recognition technology by Entrupy, they can detect counterfeits just by one photograph. This has led to counterfeit sellers worldwide being exposed and targeted by law enforcement.
Burberry is not finished with innovation. David Harris, VP of IT has stated that “We are formulating our AI strategy now … we believe that AI can deliver business value…for instance, we certainly see the potential for machine learning.” Harris then hints further about the direction of innovation mentioning pattern recognition, scenario modelling and increased security and fraud prevention.
With the use of new fabrics at its inception in the 19th century Burberry has been a leader and not a follower. By using new technology, they have built a stronger, more nimble and more connected brand and company. The use of Big Data and AI look poised to keep the brand going strong for the foreseeable future.
Original source Forbes