Sales forecasting: how does AI help retailers in the most difficult cases?

What are the hardest sales items to predict? This is a question that many marketers have been thinking about for ages. Against all expectations, this questioning helped to shed light on the variables that influence the volume of your sales. Variables that retailers can now partly control thanks to AI.

Fresh foods: a textbook case

Fresh foods are among the items with the most difficult demand to anticipate. This difficulty arises from the continual fluctuation of their prices. In this context, market players must constantly monitor the price of these products. Contrary to popular belief, these variations are not only due to weather conditions or the state of the harvests. It is also important to consider a large number of factors, some of which have no direct or rational connection to your business, but influence consumer behavior. Let us cite as an example the disastrous consequences of a pro-vegan campaign on the sales of a butcher’s shop.

In this situation, managers must continually update these variables in order to produce more accurate forecasts. The use of AI greatly facilitates this work as its usefulness has proven on the stock markets. State-of-the-art algorithms already help traders predict how asset values ​​will fluctuate.

Road salt: the influence of past consumer experiences

This time again, the nature of the product could lead us to think that demand depends solely on the weather. However, it is clear that other factors come into play. Consumers’ memories of the previous winter affect their decisions. If the winter of the previous year was harsh, they will buy a large quantity of road salt at the end of summer. If, on the contrary, the winter was relatively mild, individuals will make this purchase late. The day-to-day weather forecast will also encourage everyone to do this race or not. This will lead to strong variations in sales.

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For this type of product, retailers rely on statistical data to establish their forecasts. However, these models do not always make it possible to anticipate the changes in interest that consumers may show because of their past experiences. However, AI provides the means to overcome this major drawback.

Furniture: the unexpected effect of advertising media on your sales

Furniture should not be mentioned in this article as sales increase from year to year. However, many brands have made a surprising observation. The place each product occupies in the catalog influences the speed at which these items sell. Furniture that enjoys good visibility on these media arouses more public interest. A reality which clearly proves that the communication actions of brands are bearing fruit. Moreover, product supports also highlight accessories to which consumers would normally pay little attention. Tablecloths, vases or even cushions then find buyers more easily.

Although it is therefore possible to influence sales, the results of your actions remain humanly unpredictable. Hence, once again, the interest in using AI.

AI to the rescue of retailers

These cases, oh so difficult, show to what extent factors beyond our control can influence sales. However, it is now possible to reduce uncertainties thanks to AI. The progress made in this area now provides the means to establish a correlation between the demand expressed by consumers and a constellation of variables. Moreover, the dedicated tools provide forecast data in real time. In doing so, they continually take into account new variables to deliver even more precise results. Solutions which therefore reduce the margins of error while allowing everyone to save time.