Beyond Black Friday: Reimagining Retail With AI

ANIL KAUL | December 11, 2019

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The holiday shopping season kickoff isn’t called “Black Friday” because of the chaos in stores when shoppers turn up in droves. The origin of the name goes back to the bookkeeping color code retailers make their profits in the last quarter of the year, hoping to finish “in the black.” But profitability is a mixed bag for retailers lately, with talk of a “retail apocalypse,” even while consumer spending remains strong. As the National Retail Federation points out, retail is growing. Online sales account for only about 10 percent of total retail sales, and most retailers sell in-stores as well as online. The trouble in the retail sector is about shuttered stores’ failure to keep up with changing consumer expectations. The flip side to that is an opportunity to reimagine retail, and the sector’s good news stories show that artificial intelligence (AI) is the key to success.

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