We are all witnessing new applications for AI chatbots like ChatGPT, Google Bard, and YouChat pop up like dandelions and are already seeing their immense potential to revolutionize the retail landscape. At Repsly, exploring emerging technologies is part of DNA, so we asked ourselves: “What could we do with these dandelions – craft a tea or forge a flower crown, perhaps?” But actually how I phrased it to our R&D team was more like, By integrating AI chatbots into retail execution, how can we better serve our customers to help them boost sales, optimize operations, and gain a competitive edge in the market?
This was the focus of our 2-day hackathon on June 29-30 where participants were encouraged to leverage technologies like natural language processing, machine learning, and predictive analytics, to create more intelligent and efficient systems for retail execution. Our engineering team pulled up ready to go, submitting over 30 ideas, from which 7 were culled for team formation, and ultimately 1 winner selected by a panel of judges.
Topics ranged from analyzing customer data to provide easy insights and improve decision-making to elevating customer engagement by offering personalized recommendations and real-time assistance. The winning idea centered on saving representatives time preparing for a visit so they arrive fully ready to engage with store managers effectively. The team demonstrated a representative quickly accessing relevant data for a place from the last couple of months by asking (via keyboard or voice-to-text) specific requests like:
- Is this the store manager who likes the Patriots?
- What were sales here last week?
- Provide an overview of what happened the last few visits.
The runner-up focused on enabling administrators to communicate their needs in natural language to an AI chatbot that would generate proposed actions to make complex tasks more manageable.
Fueled by friendly competition and pizza, Repsly’s summer hackathon proved to be a resounding success, unearthing a treasure trove of innovative ideas to improve customer experience. By exploring the potential of AI for retail execution, we showcased our commitment to adopting disruptive technologies and fostering innovation within the organization. This event not only encouraged creative problem-solving but also strengthened team bonds, creating a vibrant and forward-thinking work environment. As we look forward to the future, we can expect to see the seeds of innovation planted during this hackathon blossom into real-world solutions. We already have several ideas planted for the next one!