Reseller News

Google Cloud AI is powering The Warehouse's app and refining procurement

Google Cloud is also powering more accurate procurement behind the scenes at the Big Box retailer
  • Rob O'Neill (New Zealand Reseller News)
  • 15 August, 2018 09:15

The Warehouse mobile app has a new feature, powered by Google Cloud's neural artificial intelligence service.

The Snap and Shop feature allows customers to take smartphone photos of items they like and instantly match them with thousands of available products in the retailer's catalogue.

But behind the scenes, use of AI is also advancing at pace.

Warehouse CIO Timothy Kasbe said the emerging technology is also being used to price tens of thousands of non-labelled products, taking into account variables such as size, weight and material.

"We input the product specifications into Google Cloud’s platform, it searches for comparable matches all over the world and instantly comes back with pricing which is fair and accurate for the New Zealand market," Kasbe said.

"This eliminates guesswork and estimation in determining pricing, which makes The Warehouse more competitive. It also gives us insights into how a specific product is marketed, so we can adjust the images or messaging we use to get a better result."

Snap and Shop is the public face of the retailer’s partnership with Google Cloud.

Brendan Bain, head of Google Cloud Platform sales in New Zealand, said developing an AI solution in the past to solve these challenges would have required vast resources and capability.

"With Google Cloud’s pre-built machine learning models and API’s, The Warehouse was able to quickly develop this solution using their existing team’s skill sets," he said.

Kasbe said AI is set to transform retail globally over the next decade.

Internationally, the use of AI by retailers is booming, from chatbots, voice shopping and shelf scanning robots to checkout free stores, personalised pricing and product recommendations.

The Warehouse said its app is now rated a New Zealand’s number one shopping app in AppStore.