Glamcorner grows through AI

Audrey Khaing-JonesAs often happens with buzzwords, artificial intelligence [AI] has evolved from a much-hyped silver bullet to just another tool retailers may use to lesser or greater effect. The common refrain now is that retailers need to get the basics right before they can see the benefits of AI.

But for Glamcorner, a six-year-old fashion rental company generating upwards of $10 million in annual revenue, the basics have been a priority from day one, and it is now growing rapidly, thanks in large part to its AIdriven decision-making.

“We’re identifying patterns that we may not have understood or noticed before, and making better decisions [off of that],” Glamcorner co-founder and CEO Dean Jones told IRW.

The online-only company carries over 200 fashion brands and charges customers a fraction of the RRP to rent an item for two days, rather than buying it new. While the rental business model allows Glamcorner to turn repeat profits on the same piece of inventory, it involves other costs, such as laundering, and complex logistics due to every item needing to be returned.

“Our business is kind of like hotel booking meets air traffic control,” Jones said, noting that reverse logistics plays a much bigger role at Glamcorner than most other retailers.

Perhaps because of this, Jones and his partner and co-founder Audrey KhaingJones invested in building their own technology platform, which allowed them to set up the right protocols to collect and store their data from day one.

That decision is now enabling them to adopt AI tools faster and more effectively than many of their peers.

“If I were to recommend my three top tips for businesses considering AI, first would be to get the basics right in terms of your databases. Second would be to invest time in your data infrastructure, in particular your data warehousing. Like a real warehouse, you should be able to get in and out of it easily. Third would be to put on top platforms that allow you to draw on your data to make useful, intelligent, fast decisions,” Jones said.

Glamcorner uses various tools to improve its decision-making in different parts of the business, including Domo for marketing and merchandising and Deputy for rostering. Jones said the merchandising team uses AI to predict which styles will be trending and how much the company should be ordering with a higher degree of accuracy, and the warehouse staff use AI to determine how many people will be needed to pick-andpack orders for any given shift.

According to Jones, Glamcorner increased its return-on-investment from merchandising decisions by 30 per cent over the last year, while decreasing per unit labour costs by 10 to 20 per cent.

“Our business is more profitable – there are more resources left over to invest in growth.”

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