Is Machine Learning Changing Retail?

Machine learning is a process in which computers can learn new information and draw conclusions without having to be reprogrammed. It is a type of artificial intelligence. Machine learning involves the use of algorithms, large data sets, and other mathematical and technological tools.

Essentially, machine learning allows computer software programs to generate insights on their own, based on information that they are exposed to. Machine learning may sound like an incredibly advanced tool with only military or top secret government applications. However, machine learning can and is already being heavily used in retail. In fact, machine learning in retail is changing the entire retail industry. Here is how it is doing this.

Product Recommendations

If you have ever purchased anything on Amazon, then you may have noticed that after you have made your purchase, you may have been recommended certain other products. If so, have you ever wondered how these recommendations were made? After all, there is not a customer service person who watches purchases and types in recommendations after they are completed.

It is actually machine learning AI program that makes these recommendations to you. The AI program uses algorithms and pattern recognition to identify products based on your own purchase history, and those of similar consumers, to recommend products that you may like.
Being able to recommend specific products that are tailored for individual customers can definitely help companies to generate more sales. So, machine learning in retail being used in this way is definitely changing the industry.

Self-Driving Vehicles

Advanced machine learning is changing some important retail products. Automobiles are one example of a traditionally important retail product that is being highly effected by machine learning. This is because machine learning is making it possible for automobiles to be self-driving, meaning that they can drive themselves independent of a human operator.

Google has created a self-driving vehicle. Also, recently, Elon Musk said that the Tesla Model 3, which will arrive at some point in the next few years, will have an autopilot feature. This means that machine learning is currently bringing about huge changes in the retail auto industry. Autopilot through machine learning appears set to become a vehicle feature that can provide auto retailers with a competitive advantage. So, many will likely continue to try to take advantage of it.


Machine learning is incredibly helpful when it comes to identifying the right price for retail products. Machine learning can analyze the prices of competitors, account for seasonality and demand flows, and even adjust prices depending on the day of the week. This is a strong advantage for retailers.

If a product is priced too high, then sales can drop. Similarly, if a product is priced too low, then too many sales can be made without enough profit generated. So, finding the right price is crucial for optimizing profits. Machine learning is extremely helpful for doing this. That is why many retailers have already begun to use it to do this. AirBnB is one well known company who uses machine learning to help with pricing.


Machine learning is already changing the retail world. Many companies have seen the potential for this technology and are starting to capitalize on it. In the future, machine learning is only likely to improve. This means that machine learning in retail could be a trend that carries on strongly into the future.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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