How Aldo Uses AI to Optimize Inventory and Focus on Innovation

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While some companies remain skeptical — and skittish — about the future of artificial intelligence (AI), Aldo is leaning into the technology.

According to Daianara Grullon Amalfitano, chief brand and product officer at Aldo, the Montreal-based footwear brand has been successfully utilizing AI programs and machine learning technology to optimize inventory and across innovation endeavors, as well as targeting products to the right customers at opportune times.

“When it comes to product development, we are using AI in ways that can allow the teams to be more creative and to spend their time and effort in the spaces of innovation and exploring trends,” Amalfitano said. “We really are using it to alleviate some more of the tedious and mundane tasks that takes away from our focus on innovation.”

Some of this innovation has been used in development of Aldo’s “Pillow Walk” technology. First unveiled in 2022, the technology features a “pillowy sock foam and sturdy outsole” and is present in about 75 percent of the brand’s men’s and women’s footwear assortment.

“We initially started Pillow Walk with just a small assortment in the collection,” Amalfitano noted. “And the reaction that we had was so unbelievable that we quickly expanded it across the assortment. And not only is it now in heels, it’s across all of our categories. It’s in styles like casual shoes, loafers, ballerinas and sneakers across our ladies and men’s footwear assortment.”

This innovation also translates into the company’s marketing efforts. In its most recent spring 2024 campaign, Aldo highlights its Pillow Walk styles by placing oversized versions of their styles outside of the brand’s Miami store. Created with computer generated imagery (CGI), Amalfitano said the images were part of the company’s strategy to make comfort fun.

Aldo, Pillow Walk, campaign, CGI, larger than life
Aldo, Pillow Walk, campaign, CGI, larger than life

“Comfort has typically been associated with brands that are a bit matronly or not as fashion forward,” Amalfitano explained. “So, we wanted to show comfort in a playful way, in a way that is engaging to the consumer that doesn’t feel so serious and traditional and feels fashion forward. So, this is our first time we dipped our toe into CGI. And it was, again, incredible, just fun and playful.”

But the company’s uses for the technology are not all consumer facing. Fatih Nayebi, Aldo’s vice president of data and AI, added that Aldo also uses AI to predict sales and demand.

“We need to ensure that we have the right products at the right time and the right place,” Nayebi said. “This will hopefully reduce waste and boost efficiency. We are also working on tailoring our marketing efforts to offer customers recommendations that match their preferences. So, this can hopefully enhance their shopping experience. We also use AI to prevent e-commerce fraud, which has been in place for many years now – with the mission of making the shopping environment safe and secure.”

Adding these programs has also helped the company on the sustainability front. As of 2022, Aldo execs said the company has reduced carbon emissions from its operations, stores, and offices by 79 percent compared to 2013 levels. Further, since 2019, Aldo Group has eliminated more than 14 million single-use bags from stores to reduce waste.

Aldo's spring 2024 campaign.
Aldo's spring 2024 campaign.

Aldo’s Spring 2024 Shoe Campaign [PHOTOS]

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