As brick-and-mortar retailers continue to struggle against online competitors, some are seeking out services that leverage big data and personalization to increase e-commerce sales.

“During the rise of big data, it was said that data was the new oil,” Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter, told TechRepublic. “In an era of AI and machine learning however, personalized data is the new competitive advantage and will only become standard CX on the horizon.”

SEE: How Sephora is leveraging AR and AI to transform retail and help customers buy cosmetics (cover story PDF) (TechRepublic)

Indeed, 72% of retailers reported that AI will be a “competitive necessity” in the next five years, according to a recent Oxford Economics survey.

One such tech option for retailers looking to fight off the competition is uSizy, a recommendation technology for fashion apparel and footwear businesses, which unveiled its latest product, uSizy Smart Business, on Wednesday. The product allows retailers to access personalized analytics to make data-driven decisions to improve sales, returns, stock, logistics, and pricing.

Returns and stock breaks are among the largest challenges for retailers seeking to maximize sales: In the US, retail delivers will cost $550 billion by 2020, more than 75% higher than in 2016, according to Statista.

USizy—which currently works with over 315 global brands, including Nike, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger—helps retailers learn how much money they are losing when certain sizes are out of stock. Using the product, companies have seen on average a 20% boost in conversion rates, a 25% drop in returns rates, and a 3% jump in customer loyalty.

The Smart Business service predicts products that have a high chance of being returned, as well as the sizes and products that should be priced higher or lower. It can also recommend sizes using machine learning algorithms, and manage stock supply and logistics, according to a press release.

“Personalization is something customers have learned to expect simply by using a smartphone, social media and their favorite apps,” Solis said. “Retailers that offer a ‘try it on and return it for free’ service is basically…basic. But by offering a personalization engine to help consumers filter choices based on not only their fit but also the aggregate fit of people like them, customers are sure to receive something truly personal. And, the experience will only get better as it learns.”

As technology makes experiences increasingly personal, intelligent platforms are also removing the need for human-to-human interaction, Solis said.

“Consumers are in a way, becoming digital introverts, because technology is taking the place of expert advisers when it comes time to make a decision,” he added. “Platforms such as uSizy are only expediting the challenges facing traditional retailers. But it’s doing so by delivering better, more convenient, real-time personal customer experiences.”

For more, check out Digital transformation in retail: How consumers are using tech to make shopping easier and more enjoyable on TechRepublic.

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Image: iStockphoto/Zinkevych