Retail

How Google uses A.I. to help businesses increase profits from online shopping

Key Points
  • Google uses artificial intelligence to help businesses improve their profit margins, says Carrie Tharp, Google Cloud's head of retail.
  • "We also think that the future of retail is driven by retail intelligence," Tharp says.
  • Tharp's comments come on the biggest e-commerce day of the year, Cyber Monday. 
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Businesses can make more money using artificial intelligence: Google retail head

Artificial intelligence can help businesses make more money from online shopping, Carrie Tharp, Google Cloud's head of retail, told CNBC on Monday.

"We're helping retailers with Google A.I. to help drive their ability to do promotions, recommendations, improve their margins with dynamic pricing," Tharp said on "Squawk Alley." "So it's really helping that retail C-suite deliver on all of their financial goals."

While it's not clear if Google is providing all these services to businesses whose websites are hosted on its cloud, Tharp said some of its partners include Home Depot and Kohl's.

Tharp's comments on the retail landscape come on Cyber Monday, the annual e-commerce bonanza that is on pace to generate more than $9 billion in sales, according to Adobe Analytics.

Online sales on Black Friday hit a record $7.4 billion, according to Adobe. Meanwhile, store foot traffic fell by about 6%, ShopperTrak found.

Tharp, who joined Google Cloud in July, previously served as chief digital officer at Neiman Marcus Group, where she oversaw the luxury retailer's push to embrace data and digital analysis.

"We also think that the future of retail is driven by retail intelligence," Tharp said,.

For Cyber Monday and the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, in particular, Google Cloud has placed an intense focus on making sure websites do not crash — especially with the record sales that had been expected, Tharp said.

Google survey from July found 10% of companies had their websites crash during Black Friday or Cyber Monday in 2018, while 40% said it happened during the last three years.

That represents a potential loss of revenue for businesses, which is why Tharp said her team has engineers "sitting with them through the actual weekend in their war rooms, making sure their systems scale no matter what happens so that there's never a break-the-internet moment for one of the retailers hosted on Google Cloud."

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Google Cloud VP of Retail Carrie Tharp: Cyber Monday is 'make or break'