Artificial intelligence in retail: Scale at speed

Transformation in retail was already underway before the pandemic and is now accelerating, powered by data and AI. The good news is that retailers can now access the innovation, skills and solutions required to fully embrace AI responsibly across the enterprise to create value and fuel profitability. Working side-by-side with businesses, has made artificial intelligence with practical, everyday applications is no longer the stuff of science fiction. AI is already being employed by thousands of businesses of all sizes today to help them do business faster and less expensively or to develop an edge over the competition.

We are reaching the peak of the hype curve with artificial intelligence (AI) in retail. The vast majority of retailers agree it will continue to transform the retail industry and redefine financial and operational benchmarks for success. The competitive landscape is shifting and it’s no longer about just pursuing AI—it’s about being among the first to adopt AI at scale to reach unprecedented levels of personalization, precision and profitability.

Most people don’t think about AI when they talk about the “digital transformation” of the retail industry. The first things that come to mind for most people are robots replacing workers and the efficiencies derived from a universally available internet together with the ubiquity and sophistication of modern database systems. But sophisticated AI systems are no longer limited to the labs of academia or high-tech giants like IBM and Google. A wide variety of purpose-built AI technologies, provided by company likes, are available today to “rent” or buy, including a growing number of “machine learning systems” that help retailers improve their operations and better understand customer behaviours in order to improve their marketing efforts.