Inside Logistics

Retailers want AI for demand forecasting

Only 16 percent have AI in place at the moment

October 4, 2019

DALLAS – Retailers are looking to artificial intelligence (AI) to help them with demand forecasting, along with replenishment and price management. And while 61 percent of retailers expect to have AI play a role in their retail merchandising approach within 24 months, only 16 percent have at least one AI engine in place today.

These are findings published in a research report by Symphony RetailAI on the state of retail merchandising and the role of AI in driving profits.

The study identifies the most pressing questions retailers currently face in their merchandising planning and reveals their perception of AI’s emerging role.

AI increases inventory efficiency and improves margins

Retailers say three specific applications are critical for meeting merchandise management goals, and therefore will benefit the most from using AI engines to process vast amounts of data across a wide range of distributed stores and channels: demand forecasting (56%), replenishment (44%) and price management (41%).

Fifty-nine percent of retailers surveyed believe doing so will help with sell-through of inventory and 56 percent expect it to improve margins. Retailers are most excited about AI’s support in reducing out of stocks (56%) and over stocks (34%), creating real-time inventory visibility (41%) and improving inventory accuracy (34%).

“As retail becomes more intelligent and consumer preferences become more fluid, the study’s findings make it clear that now is the time to invest in AI to improve merchandise management outcomes,” said Kevin Sterneckert, CMO, Symphony RetailAI.

“Whether testing AI for isolated functions such as demand forecasting or personalization, or deploying across the enterprise, early adopters will be uniquely positioned to create a differentiated value and sustainably grow revenues and margins.”