While showcasing its latest technology solutions for retailers and brands at the NRF Big Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York today, IBM released findings of a survey that showed the growing importance of what it calls “intelligent automation.”
The survey, done in partnership with the NRF, found that “intelligent automation capabilities could help increase annual revenue growth by up to 10 percent. The research polled 1,900 retail and consumer products company executives in 23 countries.
The survey found that 85 percent of retail respondents and 79 percent of consumer products companies surveyed “plan to be using intelligent automation for supply chain planning by 2021.” And 79 percent of retail and consumer products companies polled “expect to be using intelligent automation for customer intelligence by 2021.”
This weaving between customer insights and the supply chain is key to omnichannel success, IBM noted. “At the heart of this is retail’s growing adoption of intelligent automation, defined as the convergence of people, processes, automation and AI.”
IBM said in a statement today that this represents “a watershed moment for the industry as human capabilities can be augmented to help reduce errors, while enabling a culture of digital operations and customer experience innovations.”
To meet this demand, IBM is spotlighting solutions at the NRF show that includes its order management platform featuring tis Watson Order Optimizer as well as IBM MetroPulse, “which help retailers improve omnichannel profitability and customer satisfaction.”
Luq Niazi, global managing director of IBM Consumer Industries, said 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,” Niazi said adding that 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.”
A focus on innovation and strengthening the entire value chain has been an underpinning theme at this year’s NRF show. Speaker sessions and exhibitors are highlighting how retailers and brands need to deploy the right technology with the right strategies in place.
NRF vice president of research development and industry analysis Mark Mathews, said retailers and brands 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.”