Intel’s innovation leader on the future of retail tech

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Intel is at the forefront of today’s retail revolution, driving the technology that incorporates the best of the physical and digital store. Stacey Shulman, chief innovation officer for the retail solutions division, says Intel has as much to do with retail as it does with microprocessors. “We’re not selling software in the retail industry,” she says. “We’re trying to inspire the retail industry to continue leveraging data and information.”

Shulman joined Retail Gets Real to discuss artificial intelligence, autonomous retail technology, increasing urbanism and more macro trends that are driving the future of retail today.

Stacey Shulman (center) joined co-hosts Sarah Rand (left) and PwC’s Steve Barr (right).

Stacey Shulman (center) joined co-hosts Sarah Rand (left) and PwC’s Steve Barr (right).

Shulman sees a few overarching retail trends that will impact the future of retail. One area that retailers are starting to leverage data is in the use of AI. For Shulman, AI is an evolving journey, and involves working through four stages: The first is analytics — the ability to perceive the world and contextual information so that we can use it. The second is to understand how to react to contextualized information. The next step is building relationships and intent around that data. She considers the final stage as general intelligence, where the information generated from AI helps make quick decisions. Shulman thinks retail might reach this final stage within the next decade.

Shulman has nearly 30 years of experience in retail, starting with building commercial products to becoming a retailer herself, working with brands like Levi’s and American Apparel. “I’ve worked every angle of retail,” she says. Being a woman in tech allowed her a unique vantage point, but has come with challenges. “The thing I had to learn,” she says, “is the mix of being able to take credit for your work, but at the same time crediting the team and the collaboration with the people around you.” Shulman sought out mentors to help her along the way. “You don’t have to be one of the boys to do this,” she tells young women as a mentor herself.

To learn about more of the macro trends affecting retail today, listen to the full episode. Attend Shop.org for more discussions around the future of retail, Sept. 12-14 at the Venetian Las Vegas Resort.

Jen Overstreet is a co-host on NRF’s Retail Gets Real podcast. Meet all the co-hosts and learn more about the show.