What winning the best AI & ML product of the year means for Olvin and the retail industry

What winning the best AI & ML product of the year means for Olvin and the retail industry

February 4, 2021

A few days ago, our team was celebrating after winning one of the most exciting tech awards. 

The Product Hunt Golden Kitty awards are contested by over 16,000 products, and over 100,000 votes are cast to decide the winners. In our category, AI and Machine Learning, we were lucky to be cast as the winner. A big thanks to everyone who voted for us. 

But now the dust is settled, this got us thinking – what does this mean for us as a company, and what does it mean for AI & ML in the retail industry as a whole?

Our story

Back in 2017, we opened a coffee shop near our offices in Central London. It was in a prime location, close to popular tourist spots, with a range of office blocks nearby, including Google’s London office. We had high hopes and great expectations about the success of the cafe.

But unfortunately, we ran into issues that many small retailers face. We didn’t have the data to make critical decisions around staffing, stock, merchandising, and marketing.

We could split these into three areas:

  1. We needed to save money – optimizing processes like staffing
  2. We needed to retain customers – perfecting marketing / merchandising
  3. We needed to reach new customers and grow the business

The most frustrating thing was that there were so many website analytics platforms that provide this level of data – but the same tools weren’t available for brick and mortar businesses.

This inspired us to build Almanac – the business intelligence platform that provides a suite of customer analytics and predictive insights to brick and mortar businesses. We do this by analyzing visits to physical locations in the same way that other platforms analyze visits to a website.


Winning a golden kitty product of the year

We quickly realized that looking forward would transform how retail could operate, providing snapshots into future consumer behavior, and store visits would give retailers powerful insights into how to plan their business. 

Looking forward is so important that we made it a core part of our product suite. But, to process such vast amounts of data and understand the multitude of factors that influence consumer behavior, we had to get some help from the power of AI & Machine Learning. 

This application of cutting edge tech, we believe, helped us to the Product Of The Day, included in the top products of the week, and eventually voted by our peers as the best product in the space.

We’re so proud of what we’ve achieved, and it goes to show the potential of these technologies when applied to difficult real-world problems.


What this means for retailers


This is great validation that the need exists for online level analytics for real-world businesses. The global pandemic has only added to the strain that smaller retailers are placed under. 

Navigating these conditions requires a detailed understanding of how consumers behave, who they are, and what will happen in the coming days and weeks. 

The ability to do complex data analysis in smaller businesses is not as prevalent as in big corporations. We believe that in our case, the power of AI is leveling the playing field and allowing local retailers to perform detailed data analysis without hiring huge data and tech teams. 

The award won’t help these retailers with the challenge that lies ahead. Still, we hope it validates the idea that AI and ML technology can help to democratize the analytics industry. 


What’s next?

This award only confirms to us the need for these solutions. The power of AI and Machine Learning for real-world businesses isn’t going anywhere, and we expect a normalization of the technology in a range of applications for real-world companies. 

It’s going to get even more powerful, more refined, and better at understanding consumer intent. 

In 2021 we’re expanding our solution to the UK market, helping more businesses navigate the COVID 19 crisis. 

With every passing day, we’re improving our models and optimizing our solution based on customer feedback. We want to provide a universal solution that leverages AI and Machine Learning’s power to help businesses avoid the pitfalls that small retailers (such as our coffee shop) face on a day-to-day basis. 

A big final thanks go out to everyone that has inspired us along the way. The team deserves immense credit. Together we can transform the future of real-world businesses!

Almanac is currently offering free trials for all businesses. Get started today.


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