Retail and consumer product organizations are entering a new phase of technological innovation — with intelligent automation at its core. “The coming AI revolution in retail and consumer products,” a global study co-sponsored by the IBM Institute of Business Value and the National Retail Federation, looks at how companies are thinking about implementing intelligent automation in their businesses, where these innovations are poised to take the industry and the new set of risks and benefits artificial intelligence can pose.
The study is based on a global survey of 1,900 retail and consumer products across 23 countries. Participants included executives in supply chain, store operations, merchandising, product design, finance, sales and marketing and customer-focused areas.
- Two in five retailers and brands are already using intelligent automation, and adoption is expected to double by 2021.
- Intelligent automation is making the biggest impact in demand forecasting, supply chain planning and customer engagement.
- Companies invest in intelligent automation with an eye toward improving efficiency and their bottom line. However, as these capabilities mature, they realize additional benefits beyond their original expectations. Executives say some of the top wins from implementing intelligent automation are greater operational agility, the ability to make faster, smarter decisions and improving the customer experience.