The adoption and implementation of artificial intelligence technologies is set to boom in both the retail and consumer products industries, a new study by IBM and the US National Retail Federation has found.

The paper, entitled “The Coming AI Revolution In Retail And Consumer Products“, surveyed over 1,900 consumer products and retail executives with ownership of supply chain, operations, and customer engagement functions in 23 countries.

One surprising finding is that 85% of retail and 79% of consumer products companies plan to use intelligent automation for supply chain planning by 2021, demonstrating the efficacy of AI for back-end and logistical processes. A further 79% of both retail and consumer products companies expect to be using intelligent automation for customer engagement by 2021.

“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 for IBM Consumer Industries.

ibm study

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. Working with the right partners and third-party experts can result in acceleration of digital services, capabilities and customer experience and business efficiency for retailers of all sizes.”

“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 Mark Mathews, NRF VP of Research Development and Industry Analysis.


Access the full report here