I came across an interesting article in Bloomberg last week. Amazon has been synonymous with robotics and automation, but for the most part that has been relegated to stocking the shelves and other operational tasks in the warehouse. Interestingly, according to the article, automation is starting to take over the roles of the white collar workforce as well. The article states:

“Machines are beating people at the critical inventory decisions that separate the winners and losers in retail. For the staffers deciding how many books, games or plastic pool toys to peddle, the tradeoff can be stark: Order too little and you miss out. Order too much and you’re forced into costly clearance sales. Amazon’s algorithms, refined through years of monitoring customer behavior, are getting the Seattle-based company out of the guessing game.”

Data-backed decisions are a topic that I discuss a lot on Forbes. It’s something that I firmly believe in. Retailers and brands can no longer rely solely on intuition given the power that the consumer has at his or her fingertips. Customers can find any product they want at the price they want, so how are retailers and brands going to deliver that differentiated product AND keep up with Amazon?

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