Do You See What AI Sees For Your Business’​ Future Beyond COVID-19?
Businessman holding sign clock. Concept business time is money

Do You See What AI Sees For Your Business’​ Future Beyond COVID-19?

“I feel like I’m running out of time.” “I don’t know how much longer my business can survive.” are the sentiments of many small business owners operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s difficult to trust your gut when operating in survival mode. Artificial intelligence and predictive analytics can provide you with the insight you need to make data-driven decisions about how to adapt your operations to recover and rebuild for the future.

What is predictive analytics? 

According to IBM, predictive analytics is a branch of advanced analytics that makes predictions about future outcomes using historical data combined with statistical modeling, data mining techniques, and machine learning (a form of AI).

So what does this mean? It means you can use models to identify relationships between different variables in your company’s data. Need to do ‘what if ‘ analysis? Predictive analytics is the tool to use. You can also design algorithms to analyze data that reveal and classify similar patterns together. These patterns will help provide the answers you need for future decision-making regarding customers, employees, machines, inventory, etc. 

Optimal Location Selection

If you operate from a brick and mortar location, you may be considering if you should reopen, when to reopen and even, where to reopen. Signs reading “For Lease” and “Closed due to COVID” unfortunately are popping up all over. You mostly see these signs in downtown areas that were once bustling with people commuting to office buildings but are now commuting downstairs to the kitchen table. 

With your current location impacted by new market conditions and changing demographics, you can leverage predictive analytics and AI’s use of geosocial data to help you select a new optimal location.  

Geosocial data combines geolocation data with social media data to help business owners better understand the behaviors of their target market. For example, geotags are aggregated from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts and analyzed to disclose activities in which customers engage in work and home life. Using this data in the predictive model reveals the insights to help business owners determine how well their products match the market in that geography. The greater your offerings match the desires of the market, the more you will sell.

Predictive analytics tells you the likelihood of the next action occurring based on past trends. Thanks to social media, you can rely on predictions based on the more recent past than distant. These predictions will enable you to make data-driven decisions that will sustain your business beyond the pandemic and into the future. 

What-If Scenarios

When revenue is scarce, the decisions about expenditures take on new meaning, and the need to evaluate return on investment (ROI) becomes even more significant. Inventory

needs, employee staffing, and delivery timelines are much more volatile due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can predict the impact of these changes by doing a “what-if” analysis via artificial intelligence, which will help prevent you from spending money unnecessarily.  

IBM offers a What-If analysis extension that builds machine learning models that run what-if scenarios that enable you to evaluate various business decisions based on changing variables. 

needs, employee staffing, and delivery timelines are much more volatile due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can predict the impact of these changes by doing a “what-if” analysis via artificial intelligence, which will help prevent you from spending money unnecessarily.  

IBM offers a What-If analysis extension that builds machine learning models that run what-if scenarios that enable you to evaluate various business decisions based on changing variables. 

The loss of jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many consumers to become more price-conscious, which means you may have to adapt your prices. One of the “what if” questions, to which you may be seeking answers, is what if I offer discounts – how will this impact sales? Machine learning and predictive models can answer this question. It can also tell you how long the discount will impact sales. The length of time a promotion affects sales is dependent upon targeting the right customers with your offer.

The AI-based predictive model can tell you which customers will return even after the promotional offer has ended. The model can also help you decide what offers to promote in the future, and in e-commerce which discounts to give in real-time. 

To increase the machine’s predictive accuracy, you must possess a significant amount of data on your customer’s purchase history. An easy, inexpensive and quick way to gather information on your customers is to incorporate surveys on your e-commerce website. If you cannot obtain enough data to run a predictable model, you must use an AI vendor. When you use a vendor, you must accumulate enough data to mirror that of the AI vendor to ensure their output reflects your business.

It is important to note that data pre-COVID is starkly different than during COVID. And it

will be different post-COVID. Ensure you base the AI-predictive model on data that reflects the current environment. As many have said before, AI provides additional insights through data, but it is up to the users of this outputto determine how it best aligns to the problem they are solving.

The ability to quickly make data-driven decisions in changing environments is one of the differentiators of businesses that continue to thrive during and after devastation strikes. You may not be able to predict the next catastrophe, but you can use artificial intelligence to predict how you navigate through and post it. These data-driven decisions will increase your confidence in your actions and boost the confidence of stakeholders that you will need to help you recover and grow in the future. 

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