How brands can drive value through artificial intelligence? Elina Ashkinazi-Ildis – Director of Carrefour-Google Data Lab and Mathieu Ricou – Operations Manager for Ile-de-France at Carrefour, share the lessons learned from the Carrefour-Google Lab in partnership with Artefact.

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Carrefour Google Data Lab Challenge: AI as a corporate strategy

AI offers incredible opportunities in the retail space. Global retailer Carrefour is going through a digital transformation and has partnered with Google and Artefact to leverage the power of AI and capture value in several departments: assortment, pricing, supply chain, store operations, ecommerce, and marketing.

“We aim to build Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning solutions to better serve our customers and employees”
Elina Ashkinazi-Ildis – Director, Carrefour-Google Data Lab

Carrefour’s ambition is to sift through its vast trove of data (4 billions annual transactions, 1 million daily visits to digital platforms) to identify unaddressed issues, define use cases, scale AI solutions, spread the adoption of AI within the company and conduct training and upskilling.

“We are really trying to inject innovation, agility, extra-collaboration”
Amélie Oudéa-Castéra – Head of E-Commerce, Data and Digital, Carrefour

Carrefour chose to set up a multidisciplinary hub of internal and external data experts.

Solution: AI Factory by Artefact, a robust framework that turns AI technology into valuable AI projects and solid competitive advantages

Artefact devised an operating model through an agile methodology composed of several steps: Structure, Discovery, Minimum Viable Model (MVM), Prototype, Scale and Optimization.

“The key is to carefully select the right use cases that bring value to the business.”
Vincent Luciani – Co-CEO, Artefact

Carrefour selected a dedicated AI lead and worked with its partners Google and Artefact to establish guidelines. Artefact also assembled Feature Teams, each working on a single unique key performance indicator. They are made of a business owner, an AI product owner, a data engineer and a data scientist.

“When a challenge is huge, our ambition is to break it into many sub-problems that we will solve one after the other”

Vincent Luciani – Co-CEO, Artefact

Use cases were developed in several departments, such as assortment optimization, dynamic pricing,  relevant promotions,  sales prediction, inventory management, out of stock prevention, fraud optimization, customization of marketing, churn reduction, and algorithm product recommendation.

“Our rule is the golden KPI: to define a numbered objective that is very concrete. For example, regarding supply chain, our KPI is forecast accuracy.”
Fabrice Henry – Managing Partner Data & Consulting, Artefact

Relying on a gradual approach to gain speed and scale while enabling innovation is key to turn experimentation into innovation.

Results: making data-driven decisions and unlocking value at scale

Artefact’s initial experiments proved successful and are being scaled through the organization and deployed across different product categories, store formats, and countries.

Carrefour developed an assortment recommendation tool that helped the chain support a more personalized selection at the store level, giving store directors the autonomy to influence inventory needs.

Some stores saw up to 40% additional revenue on some single items.

“Carrefour needed to ensure it had the right products, in front of the right shoppers, at the right store location”
Stephane Spinella – Retail Director, Google Cloud

The models made to optimize operations with precision across the supply chain were able to detect stockouts in just an hour when it used to take two days and to accurately predict the volume of curb pickup sales down to the half-hour and allow store managers to staff their operations teams accordingly.

“We are redefining the ways of shopping, developing a truly omnichannel value proposition for our customers … Across the continent, there is value creation in our core business”

Amélie Oudéa-Castéra – Head of E-Commerce, Data and Digital, Carrefour

AI factories are a combination of talented individuals, methods, and technologies in the service of brands looking for scalable operational efficiencies and business successes.