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Scale Converge: The Future of eCommerce & Retail with AI
on Aug 15th, 2021
Scale Converge: The Future of eCommerce & Retail with AI

If you were not able to join Converge live, the fireside chat and expert panel are now available for on-demand viewing. Join the Scale Exchange Community to access these recordings and previous events.

Scale’s mission is to accelerate the development of AI. For eCommerce and consumer marketplaces, AI powers high-quality catalog curation, user-to-product personalization, intelligent customer support, and real-time demand forecasting. Through the adoption of AI, leaders in the space have the opportunity to create tens of millions of dollars of value via better recommendations, increased conversion, and deep user satisfaction.

Last week we hosted Scale Converge, to showcase the latest advances in AI and ML for eCommerce and online marketplaces. As we shared in our opening remarks, “it is imperative for every industry to leverage AI, or otherwise risk being left behind.”

We brought together technical leaders to hear from the people and companies leading the eCommerce and retail industry forward. It was an event full of thoughtful conversations that examined the advancements made, the challenges that still lie ahead, and what we can expect in the years to come.

Session Recap: Using AI to Launch New Products

Toby Espinosa, VP at DoorDash joined Alex Wang, Founder & CEO at Scale to discuss how DoorDash launches new products and services and how AI can help drive scale. Toby discussed how AI comes into play for DoorDash’s white label business and their framework for launching new products stating “We do a very simple process of, what is the problem for one of our core customers? How big is this? Is it a large enough business opportunity for us to dive head in first? And then do we have a competitive advantage? And if we do, if all those things match, it's like you're in Vegas and you see the slot machines and they go ding, ding, ding, they all match.”

Toby also shared his insights into hiring the best talent profiles for those who can do the “and” in our current world. Given the operational nature of DoorDash’s business, their approach to innovation and problem solving often involves putting a small team on a problem or opportunity to solve at a micro level, and then using AI and technology to scale. Thus, when searching for product talent DoorDash looks for people that can do the AND. Those who can start solving the problem in the weeds, but have a vision for scale.

Session Recap: Combining AI and Human Insights to Accelerate AI Adoption in eCommerce

Sebastian Barrios, VP of Technology at Mercado Libre, Pranam Kolari, Sr. Director of Engineering at Walmart Technology, and Jason Sleight, Group Tech Lead at Yelp joined Aatish Nayak, Head of Content & Language for an expert panel to discuss how the field is leveraging advancements in AI/ML to accelerate the world’s move to online retail.

The group discussed a variety of topics including:

  • Applications of AI/ML across eCommerce marketplaces
  • Building MLOps platforms to support eCommerce use-cases
  • Challenges in personalization & discoverability for ever-changing global customer interests
  • Utilizing human-in-the-loop for high search and catalog quality

Challenges Ahead

Because of the challenges posed by our ever-changing world, scaling ML from proofs of concept to production is nearly impossible without the most up-to-date data, continuous re-training of models, and human-in-the-loop to handle long-tail edge cases.

But it’s not enough just to have a lot of data. AI must be developed with the most accurate, high-quality data. Without it, AI systems won’t live up to its full potential and bad data can lead to less than ideal outcomes:

  • Off-topic recommendations to users causing churn
  • Incorrect product catalogs
  • Slow customer support cycles
  • Fragility to changing global circumstances

Yet it is imperative for every industry to leverage AI, or otherwise risk being left behind.

High-quality ground truth data must be the foundation of every AI strategy and it is important that companies have a trusted partner helping them build their AI models correctly from day one.

Scale serves as that trusted partner, providing the critical data infrastructure for AI. We work on the most ambitious AI projects in the world to accelerate the development of this technology - from eCommerce and finance to transportation, robotics, and government - for companies like Instacart, Etsy, PayPal, OpenAI, Brex, and Flexport.

What’s Next

The continued advancements in AI have created incredible applications in today’s world but there is an exciting future that awaits. The AI revolution is inevitable – it’s imperative we build it right. At Scale, we’re excited to have a hand in creating trusted, ubiquitous use of AI.

We are also grateful for all our incredible speakers representing organizations including DoorDash, Mercado Libre, Walmart Technology, and Yelp.

If you were not able to join Converge live, the fireside chat and expert panel are now available for on-demand viewing. Join the Scale Exchange Community to access these recordings and previous events.

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