Coming AI Revolution in Retail, Consumer Products

Coming AI Revolution in Retail, Consumer Products

A new survey finds that 85% of retail and 79% of consumer products companies surveyed plan to be using intelligent automation for supply chain planning by 2021.

At the National Retail Federation's 2019 Big Show, IBM  announced the latest findings of a study into the retail & consumer industry and launched new AI-powered innovations to help the retail industry accelerate customer experience by providing tools designed to optimize worker and business performance.

At the heart of this is retail's growing adoption of intelligent automation, defined as the convergence of people, processes, automation, and AI.

As the next generation of customers expects brands to provide unmatched experiential design and functionality across multiple interfaces, retaining customer loyalty requires retailers and manufacturers to implement cognitive, automated services while still remaining transparent and secure.

Developed with the National Retail Federation, IBM's Institute for Business Value released the findings of its latest report, 'The coming AI revolution in retail and consumer products,' which surveyed 1,900 Retail and Consumer Products leaders across 23 countries. 

The survey reveals:

  • 85% of retail and 79% of consumer products companies surveyed plan to be using intelligent automation for supply chain planning by 2021.
  • 79% of retail and consumer products companies surveyed expect to be using intelligent automation for customer intelligence by 2021.
    Retail and consumer products executives surveyed project that intelligent automation capabilities could help increase annual revenue growth by up to 10 percent.


"The changing landscape across today's retail and consumer industries has resulted in a rapid rise of emerging technologies, especially when it comes to automation and artificial intelligence. Retail is one of the sectors to already implement and invest in cognitive and AI technologies, resulting in new and unexpected offerings for consumers and shoppers around the world," said Luq Niazi, global managing director, IBM consumer industries.

Niazi added, "Throughout the entire value chain and operational infrastructure of B2B and B2C commerce, there has already been an increased adoption and demand for Intelligent Automation. This also brings forth the need for stronger transparency, ethical practices and business prioritization to evaluate and deploy AI responsibility.."

"Retailers are increasingly using innovative technologies to offer new ways to shop both online and in-store and provide rewarding careers for employees. 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," said NRF VP of Research Development and Industry Analysis Mark Mathews.

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