6 ways AI will revolutionize retail

In the future, people will partner with artificial intelligence to optimize worker and business performance, according to an IBM study.

Brick and mortar retail digital transformation is powered by mobile device data Stephanie Dismore, VP & GM, Americas Channels at HP Inc. explains how mobile devices and big data are shaping how brick and mortar retailers understand their customers.

Retail will increasingly adopt intelligent automation technologies, according to IBM's latest study released Tuesday at the National Retail Federation's 2019 Big Show. The study focuses on the convergence of humans and artificial intelligence (AI) in the retail industry, and specifically how automation can help reduce human error and improve the customer experience.

The report surveyed 1,900 retail and consumer product representatives across 23 countries to determine how AI will revolutionize retail. When integrating AI into retail, manufacturers must remain transparent and secure to retain customer loyalty, as people can be wary of automation and other new technologies entering a sphere where it previously didn't exist, the report found.

SEE: Artificial intelligence: Trends, obstacles, and potential wins (Tech Pro Research)

IBM identified the following six ways the retail industry plans on utilizing AI, based on respondents' feedback:

  1. Supply chain planning (85%)
  2. Demand forecasting (85%)
  3. Customer intelligence (79%)
  4. Marketing, advertising, and campaign management (75%)
  5. Store operations (73%)
  6. Pricing and promotion (73%)

"Retailers are increasingly using innovative technologies to offer new ways to shop both online and in-store and provide rewarding careers for employees," Mark Mathews, NRF vice president of research development and industry analysis, said in a Tuesday press release. "From reducing shipping costs and improving supply chain efficiency to personalizing shopping experiences and helping workers acquire new skills, AI technologies allow retailers to compete in the 21st century economy and better serve their customers. This is what the future of retail looks like."

IBM also announced its latest AI-powered innovations for retail, the release said. IBM Order Management (OMS) offerings are intended to help businesses increase omni-channel sales and customer experience. And IBM's MetroPulse offers new features that help industries better understand their consumer base, the release added.

To learn more about digital transformations in retail, check out our sister site ZDNet's Data, AI, IOT: The future of business special feature.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Humans will continue partnering with AI to improve customer experience and business processes in the retail industry. — IBM, 2019
  • From supply chain planning (85%) and demand forecasting (85%), to customer intelligence (79%), AI will revolutionize retail. — IBM, 2019

Also see

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By Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.