The retail industry, like many others, is being disrupted and permanently changed by the ever-increasing capabilities and applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). As I wrote in my last post, we're just beginning to see the benefits of AI and ML implementations in the retail sector, but they've already helped forward-thinking companies shorten time to market, increase margins, and better align their offerings with customers’ preferences and expectations.
Retailers and brands, analysts and research firms are in agreement that AI and ML applications will significantly aid in product development, selection, planning and buying in the near future. They also agree that successfully implementing these solutions will require major organizational changes. However, the pain of change is worth it. Automating functions through AI not only frees humans from having to perform mundane tasks, but can also affect everything from product launch success to demand forecasting, areas where even minor improvements can have major effects on profit margins compared with older, more convoluted processes.