H&M moving to be a Data-Driven Company

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H&M is well known as a global retailers with 5000 stores in 74 markets and flagship shops on the world’s busiest high streets. The H&M company has come a long way since it was founded in 1947 in Sweden.

From their beginning in 1947, the fashion retailer followed rapid expansion across Europe, U.S., and globally. And as early as 1998 they began to sell online. H&M Group has been heavily investing in artificial intelligence to stay on top of fashion cycles, and also to support its massive growth. They also invested in automated warehouses, which will eventually offer next-day deliveries for the majority of the European markets. The warehouses and their free shipping, exclusive for loyal customers, are driven by algorithms and data.

Errol Koolmeister, the head of AI at H&M’s Advanced Analytics and AI unit said that funding for AI has become a key component of its transformation plans over the last few years. By 2018, the AI unit became a separate entity within the organization with more than 120 people. As long as they have rolled out several pilot projects, which have become core components of the business. Now the focus is to reshape the H&M to be a fully data-driven organization.

They are covering the entire value chain, from design buying support, with assortment qualification, fashion forecasting into production, logistics, marketing, sales cycle are done within H&M across the world. H&M has done so many things in such a short time. There are several things to be kept in mind while using AI, such as being aware of biased data and keeping track of that as well as guaranteeing the quality of the products the unit produces.

The H&M Group is also called Amplified Intelligence because of the collaboration between machines and humans, science and art, data, and gut feeling. It is impossible to manage a global retail brand such as H&M solely by humans in this digitalized world and were human capabilities end and AI begins. Taking H&M Group’s example of AI-driven retail, retailers can gain much from enhancing human intelligence by implementing AI into their business: more accurate merchandise decisions streamlined supply chain, and top-level customer experience.

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