Google announced the launch of Google Cloud for Retail Wednesday at Google Cloud Next, with a host of new solutions designed for the retailer vertical. The new solutions are aimed at helping retailers deliver personalized recommendations, unifying customer experiences across online and offline environments and more.
What does it offer? Google Cloud for Retail includes solutions for inventory management, personalization, customer service and predictive analytics. E-commerce hosting is designed to flex with seasonal traffic increases and spikes on high volume shopping days — think Black Friday, Cyber Monday — so sites don’t get incapacitated and lose revenue due to traffic surges. Google offers managed customer reliability engineering (CRE) services for preparing for peak volume events.
Real time inventory management and analytics provide a full view of what’s in stock in-store, in-warehouse and online.
Visual product search enables retailers to integrate Google Lens-type capabilities that let customers learn more about a product, pricing and availability by taking a picture of it with their phones. IKEA is already using this to let customers find a specific or similar product on its site.
Google says its Recommendations AI “continuously learns and adapts to real-time user behaviors and dynamic environments such as changes in assortment, pricing, and special offers,” to power personalized product recommendations on retailer websites.
Currently in beta, AutoML Tables is a solution for data science teams to build and deploy machine learning models on structured data — such as product data. Retail applications can include supply chain management, fraud detection, conversion and revenue optimization.
Partnerships for future products. Google also announced it’s working with several partners to build more retail-oriented solutions. Partnerships include Accenture for personalization; Deloitte for demand forecasting and other supply chain analytics solutions; and Trax for in-store inventory insights with image recognition, to name a few.
Why you should care. This is among Google Cloud’s first efforts at developing and packaging a set of cloud solutions for a specific vertical as a growth strategy. Google clearly has its sites set on Amazon Web Services retail customers. It counts retailers such as Bed Bath and Beyond, Carrefour, IKEA, Kohl’s and Target as well as e-commerce platform Shopify, which supports more than 800,000 retailers, among its current customers.
Google also announced a partnership with Salesforce Wednesday focused on improving customer service experiences. It combines Google’s Contact Center AI which parses tone and intent of customer service calls and can bring in environmental information like weather and news events with Salesforce’s customer data to guide sales and customer service agents.