Tech revolution brings consumers back to stores

Share this post:

The retail landscape is increasingly complex, crowded, and competitive. The most successful companies today are tackling these challenges head on and turning them into opportunities to stand out.

A recent survey (1.900 consumer products and retail executives – of which 7% from Nordics) conducted by IBM Institute for Business Value and NRF – the National Retail Foundation – found that adoption of AI-driven intelligent automation in the retail and consumer products industries is projected to leap from 40 percent of companies today to more than 80 percent in three years.

In retail, the highest growth is expected in supply-chain planning, while in consumer products companies the deepest penetration is anticipated in manufacturing.

Retailers and brands are initially using intelligent automation to improve efficiency and reduce costs. As the capability matures, it opens up entirely new ways of doing business that can increase operational agility, improve the quality and speed of decision making, and enhance the customer experience.

More advanced retail examples, going beyond supply planning, of the use of AI and intelligent automations are:

  • Dynamic in-store assortment and display planning based upon hyper-local forecasts of weather, people flow, events and time of year.
  • In-store product customization like the ‘Nike Maker Experience’ where customers put on blank Nike Presto X shoes and, using voice activation, select graphics and colors with to design them – and get their customized Nike sneakers within 2 hours.
  • AI used to tailor in-store product and service offerings to the individual customer’s needs based on his/her buying history, interests and preferences
  • In-store virtual assistants either in the form of digital avatars on displays, humanoid robots, augment reality in virtual mirrors etc.

IBM client Groupe Casino is one great example of a visionary retailer transforming its business with new technological advancements

The 120-year-old retailer — one of the largest in the world, with €40 billion annual revenues and leadership positions in France, Colombia, and Brazil — is partnering with IBM to prove that thoughtful deployment of AI and IoT technologies can not only bring customers back, but also delight them, in stores.

Watch this video to see how Casino is putting Smart to Work in it’s new Paris location:

  • A hybrid concept, including a restaurant, bar, grocery store, showroom, and co-working space;
  • A combination of digital tools and employees to serve and guide customers;
  • Personalization and greater choice enabled by IBM technology, from product selection to 24/7 operating hours.

The store is fully functional and profitable, and Casino plans to implement these innovations in other locations.

If you consider embarking on a similar journey, the study has a number of recommendations and suggests that you ask yourself:

  • How do you plan to build an enterprise approach for intelligent automation that can deliver compelling experiences throughout the customer journey?
  • What steps can you take to assess, identify and prioritize the strongest opportunities for using intelligent automation to engage with consumers and improve the customer experience, while ensuring back-end processes across the supply chain can deliver the brand promise?
  • How do you plan to integrate intelligent automation across your existing tools to engage with consumers and processes, and deliver the products and service consumers demand
  • How can you better understand intelligent automation capabilities, and what steps is your organization taking to communicate its capabilities and implications across the value chain?
  • How do you plan to educate, train and prepare executives and employees to adopt this capability?

You can download the full study with recommendations here.

For any further questions do not hesitate to contact me at:

Research & Innovation Executive, IBM Research - IBM Watson

More AI stories

How to act in the new regulation of financial sector

Our world is changing. Because of that regulators around the world are taking ambitious steps to improve the sustainability of the financial sector and guide capital towards sustainable economic activity. Especially in EU we are seeing a high level of regulations. These regulatory interventions present complex and sensitive legal challenges for financial sector firms, which […]

Continue reading

Private cloud or public cloud? New server technology offers more choice

In September, we launched the new IBM Power E1080 high-end server, for corporate use based on the  new Power10 architecture, the Power E1080. The server can – among many other things – handle a large number of applications and workloads securely, at scale and with highest availability. Going into the spring of 2022, we will […]

Continue reading

10 Questions regarding SDG to the company’s management and board

We have all together manged to create the most serious sustainability deficit and our greatest challenge is the ecological debt – a dept which we are running up by overusing and depleting our natural resources and thereby threatening our ability to meet the needs of future generations.  Worldwide, the strains on key resources, from fresh […]

Continue reading