AI Can Predict What You’ll Return Before You Buy It – Crazy!

AI Can Predict What You’ll Return Before You Buy It – Crazy!

 

Fascinating report from Indian e-commerce startup Flipkart showing how they assess your online shopping cart before you click to buy.

 

It’s being done in response to the trend of easy returns for fashion items. The much higher return rate for online retailers (vs. brick and mortar) has been a disaster. Figuring out how to minimize those returns is crucial for online retailers’ survival.

Through machine learning, they’ve been able to accurately determine what you will return based on the patterns of what you’ve looked at online, what you’ve put in your shopping cart, plus your actual size and fit (more accurate than you are even aware of yourself). With that information, they can change your returns behavior.

 

Here are the major highlights of the study:

In less than 70 milliseconds, the computer can decide, how much of a risk of a return you are.

Based on your past shopping/return patterns, they decide on reward or punishment, e.g., increasing your shipping charges, as a deterrent, or offering you a coupon as an incentive to make your purchase non-returnable.

To get real-time predictions, the researchers put together a “fully-connected” deep neural network, which is trained on numerous factors about products and customers. That trained model will then produce the instantaneous assessment of the customers’ cart to predict the probability of returns e.g.

  • How many times a given article of clothing has been returned by anyone
  • How many similar things you’ve put in your cart, e.g., the same shirt in different colors (doubling-up of items is a leading indicator of higher returns).
  • The more items a person has in a cart, the higher the return rate. More than five products in the cart? Return rate goes up to 72%, whereas a cart with one product has return chances of 9%.

Because sizing is the #1 reason for returns, the researchers have developed something called a “personalized sizing latent feature.”

  • They put the info from all your online purchases, over time, into the network which allows them to examine what you’ve got in your cart and compare your intended purchases to “sizing vectors which explain your body shape & fit for different brands & products.”
  • Running all this info through the neural network, the program creates a probability score of potential returns.
  • The model predicts the return probability for a cart as well as the exact number of products that will be returned from that cart. Based on that prediction, the decision is made on what rewards and punishments to implement, if any.

If you shop online for apparel and footwear, this ZDNet article is a must-read. Absolutely fascinating!

 

Read on below for more on how companies are growing their businesses by cultivating a data culture.

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A Weekend Of Phenomenal Discoveries For The Writer In Me

A Weekend Of Phenomenal Discoveries For The Writer In Me

 

I got really lucky running errands this weekend. At each stop along the way, new discoveries fell into my lap (like manna from heaven!).

 

#1: Eric Nam, Korean-American Singer/Songwriter/Host

In Soho, on my way to Madewell (where I had never shopped before), I ran into a three-block-long line of young people. At first glance, I thought it must be for a new sneaker drop. But then I noticed it was mainly young women. As it turns out the line was for a meet-and-greet with Eric Nam at Soko-Glam (a Korean beauty store) on Crosby Street.

His fans were emphatic that he was not a mere K-Pop star even though the K-Con convention was in town. While we were chatting, he drove by. The crowd went wild.

What’s amazing to me about this experience is how easy it is to miss things. I make it my business to stay on top of what’s new but WOW, Eric Nam, slipped right by me. And he’s a big deal. He was named “Man Of The Year” by GQ Korea in 2016 and was one of Forbes’ “30 under 30 Asia 2017” – and yet, I was MIA on all this until this weekend.

 

Scroll down for more discoveries.

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One Of My Role Models Just Ascended To Powerful New Heights!

One Of My Role Models Just Ascended To Powerful New Heights!

 

I first wrote about Christine Lagarde three years ago as one of the women who I most admire and respect. Inspiring to see her take over as president of the European Central Bank.

 

Per Business Insider:She has a knack for exceeding expectations. She has also been a figure of women’s empowerment, becoming the first female head of the IMF when she took the role in 2011. Then, as now, there were doubts whether a former lawyer could successfully run the Washington-based organization.”

 

As the Lagarde Era begins, let me repeat what I said about her back in 2016:

  • She has all the traits that I admire: brilliant, no-nonsense, confident – with a great dose of charm and chic!
  • I also admire her for being equally at home being interviewed for the WSJ as she is for the pages of Vogue.

 

Highly recommend you also watch her excellent interview with David Rubenstein on his show, Peer-To-Peer Conversations. Absolutely outstanding. An inspiring choice!

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Top Fitness Trends To Keep You Thriving No Matter Your Age

Top Fitness Trends To Keep You Thriving No Matter Your Age

 

I turned into a conscientious gym-goer 20 years ago (for health reasons) and can’t imagine life without this daily routine.

 

My experience with arthritis and weight loss has made fitness even more integral to my lifestyle. The last three years, in particular, have been game-changers in terms of how I work out including getting a trainer and my approach to eating and drinking.

I’m writing about it today (again) for two reasons:  1. I believe if I had started this way of life earlier, e.g., in my early thirties vs. late forties, I might have avoided this arthritis situation altogether and 2. I’ve seen so many of my friends (mostly younger) struggle to get motivated with fitness.

I used to be gym-averse also. I can’t count the number of times I joined a gym only never to go. It took being diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol to get me motivated. Now, going to the gym is as ingrained a habit for me, as taking a shower or brushing my teeth.

Today’s post features the Top 5 Fitness Trends just released by Sara Kooperman, CEO of SCW (which I believe stands for Sara’s City Workout). I wanted to share this because every word of what Sara writes mirrors my fitness journey. One sentence, in particular, got my attention:

  • Exercise is medicine, and fitness and health professionals are emphasizing prehab rather than rehab.

This is so relevant to my situation. Twenty years ago, my doctor gave me the choice of taking medicines to treat my high blood pressure and high cholesterol OR going to the gym. For whatever reason, I was adamant NOT to become a pill popper to stay healthy. And fortunately, I saw results quickly which turned my then new gym-routine, into an unbreakable habit.

 

Sara’s top five fitness trends are based on surveys conducted among fitness instructors, personal trainers, owners and managers at independent health clubs, recreation centers, YMCAs and boutique studios.

The top five most sought-after areas of fitness/wellness across the nation are:

  1. Functional Training
  2. Active Aging
  3. Nutrition
  4. Strength Training
  5. Personal Training

 

Read on below for a recap of the top trends, but if fitness is a topic of particular concern or something you’re struggling with, please read this in its entirety.

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Getting Political Today. Blame It On Pop Culture!

Getting Political Today. Blame It On Pop Culture!

 

First, kudos to Andrew Yang for doing a bang up job on the #bottlecapchallenge. Second, I finally found something inspiring about AOC.

 

Let’s start with the bottle cap challenge. Are any other presidential candidates doing this? Sanders? Biden? Harris?

I follow Andrew Yang on Instagram. A few days ago, he took on the challenge, and it’s gone viral with 158K views. A math nerd, running for president, who also has a mean roundhouse kick. Color me impressed.

How did the bottle cap challenge start? I initially saw it on TikTok, but according to the NY Times, the bottle-cap-kicking videos first circulated in mixed martial arts circles. Farabi Davletchin, a Taekwondo champion, posted a cap-kicking video on Instagram with the hashtag #farakickschallenge. He called out several celebrities to accept his challenge, including Jason Statham, Conor McGregor, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Jackie Chan.

The challenge went viral, with plenty of celebrities as well as regular Instagram and Twitter users trying it out. Jason Statham’s is especially worth watching. Link here.

So expect the #bottlecapchallenge to be a thing for a few more weeks – but most likely not in political circles.

 

Now onto AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), Trump’s equal when it comes to Twitter. The media can’t get enough of her, and this may not be a popular thing to say, but I think a lot of it has to do with her appearance. She’s young, extremely good-looking, and very photogenic (and a good dancer). Her socialist politics, I’m not so into, but I am impressed with her “presence” and how outspoken she is. There’s nothing she doesn’t have an opinion on so the press, of course, is mad for her.

Which brings me to how she could be incredibly helpful to a whole new cottage industry of political fashion bloggers. They don’t exist yet but let me explain.

I came across a Michigan blogger, Susan E. Kelley, who founded What Kate Wore in 2011 when Britain’s Prince William got engaged to Kate Middleton. She had another blog at the time, but whenever she wrote anything about Kate, she got a huge boost in readership. Eventually, she just went all in and started to exclusively follow the dutchess. More recently she added What Kate’s Kids Wore and What Meghan Wore.

Per the Rapid City Journal, there is also a blog called Meghan’s Mirror, edited by Christine Ross, a writer from Virginia. That blog launched before Meghan Markle started dating Prince Harry, because Ross’ co-editor, Amanda Dishaw of Toronto, was a fan of Markle’s TV series “Suits.” Once Harry and Meghan were spotted together in public, the actress’ profile went up. And so did visits to their site. The blog is a fulltime gig, monetized by selling Meghan-inspired items, e.g., jewelry on Etsy.com.

What Kate Wore also links to what are called “repliKates,” shoppable items similar to something the Duchess of Cambridge has worn. That’s kind of brilliant!

It made me wonder who, Stateside, would have this kind of appeal – somebody with a public schedule, doing quasi-important work, who is stylish but not a Kardashian.

The first person to come to mind was Michelle Obama, but she’s out of the limelight. Melania Trump and Ivanka don’t have the same kind of appeal and may be too toxic.

It only took a minute to come up with AOC – a quick Google search shows her in Vogue, Elle, Glamour. Additionally, with so many women now seeking election, there has to be a massive opportunity for a Women-In-Politics website that fills us in on the details of these influential women’s fashion decisions, i.e., the clothes, shoes, jewelry, makeup, and even hair products per campaign stop or any other public occasion. Yes? No?

 

Scroll down below for pics – and tell me if this isn’t a great idea.

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What Are Your Favorite Things To Order On GrubHub?

What Are Your Favorite Things To Order On GrubHub?

 

My go-to on Seamless is the green curry with tofu. My switcheroo to tofu (from chicken) happened about six months ago. I find it yummier, and I’m not even a vegetarian!

 

But it does sound like I’m right in line with GrubHub’s newly released “State of the Plate Report which analyzed data over the last six months from the half a million daily orders they receive.

The report highlights top nationwide delivery trends, along with forecasts for what we’ll be craving this Fall and Winter.

Based on the first half of 2019, plant-based, vegan, and vegetarian foods are all skyrocketing.

 

Read on below for key takeaways. It’s worth checking out – even if just to ponder how much we’re fooling ourselves into believing something is healtheir just because it’s plant-based – even though it’s highly-processed and deep-fried.

 

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The Historic Mary A. Whalen Is The Perfect Spot For Fireworks Viewing

The Historic Mary A. Whalen Is The Perfect Spot For Fireworks Viewing

 

 

Major tip for NYC locals and visitors alike: Check out Red Hook and the Mary A. Whalen. This decommissioned oil tanker is on the National Register of Historic Places. It serves as a destination for various events on the waterfront. They also host something called Tanker Time but make sure you confirm the schedule first (link here). Tanker Time opens up the deck of the ship for picnicking or hammocking. There are also music performances, readings, and other creative events scheduled throughout the year.

I discovered Red Hook while living in Long Island City. Weekend bike explorations always included this creative, off-the-beaten-path neighborhood by the waterfront.

I have also been a frequent visitor to Pioneer Works. This phenomenal space was developed by the artist, Dustin Yellin. They offer weekend programming both in the galleries and the gardens.

But over those many years spent in Red Hook, I had NEVER once set foot on – or even heard of – the Mary A. Whalen i.e., until my friends Elliott and Rodrigo invited me to join them for a pre-Pride party on board this decommissioned oil tanker.

I got to briefly meet Carolina Salguero at the party. She bought the decommissioned oil tanker in 2006 and struggled to find a home for it until she found a space to dock it in Red Hook. She started PortSide New York to run it as a museum complete with school visits, and maritime programming.

The non-profit received recognition by the White House in 2013 after it had weathered Hurricane Sandy and provided aid to Red Hook residents recovering from the storm.

From what I understand, Carolina still makes the boat her home (at least occasionally).

If you do visit, you can take a ferry from Manhattan which will drop you off right at the tanker, or you can take a Citibike, there are several docking stations nearby. And, of course, there’s always Uber.

If you’re even a tiny bit adventurous, you’ll find Red Hook well worth a visit. It’s one of my favorite places in NYC – the views of the harbor and lower Manhattan are spectacular. There are also lots of cool restaurants and bars in the area.

I will add that I’ve entertained the idea of living there. It has a true sense of community and lots of character. It’s a very romantic place which makes it very enticing. But I’m also a realist, and fortunately, came to my senses and realized that it’s way too remote and off-the-grid for me to ever truly consider making it my home.

That said, if anyone wants to check it out anytime, any season, hit me up. If I’m in town, I will gladly join you.

 

Scroll down for more photos from our evening on the Mary A. Whalen as well as pictures of Pioneer Works and some of the other fantastic spots to check out in Red Hook.

 

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Want To Know Where The Next PayPal Mafia Will Come From?

Want To Know Where The Next PayPal Mafia Will Come From?

 

I just discovered this fantastic site – VISUAL CAPITALIST. Highly recommend if tech and startups are your thing.

 

For this survey, they asked 529 tech founders which startups would be the most successful and the most valuable over the next ten years.

  • The big winner was Stripe (the payments startup).
  • It was cited by 19% of the founders.
  • Stripe was valued at $1.8 billion in 2013 and is currently valued at $22.5 billion.
  • Much less confidence in WeWork (6.3%), Uber (5.3%), Lyft (4.7%) or Pinterest (1.6%)

However, when it comes to predicting which company will produce the next generation of startup founders as influential as the PayPal Mafia, one company stands above the rest:

  • Uber is cited by 22.5% as the company most likely to beget the next group of notable founders (although the company itself was not considered as valuable or successful as Stripe).
  • Another interesting aside is how few of the founders expect Amazon (1.1%) or WeWork (1.8%) to foster this kind of startup talent.

Other Findings:

  • Over 60% of founders believe that the world is in a technology bubble, with evenly split reviews on whether it’s either nowhere close or very close to popping.
  • 57% of founders believe the U.S. will continue to dominate the tech world, while 39% predict China’s growth will become the world’s hub for tech innovation by 2028.

Link here to visualcapitalist.com complete with infographics and more detailed info on this tech founders survey.

 

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