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Artificial Intelligence fuels innovation in retail industry…

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Artificial Intelligence is powering innovation in retail, according to new rankings from Webloyalty. It finds the top 50 retail technology initiatives of the last year, with innovations around artificial intelligence (AI) in customer communication and supply chain operations claiming numerous spots on the list.

For the second consecutive year Amazon was crowned the UK’s number one digital innovator, taking all three of the top spots. Amazon Echo topped the list with its new and improved features. The voice-driven device, better known as Alexa can answer questions and order goods, and also has an array of new capabilities such as video camera integration, with the potential to take and process pictures and feedback on outfit choices.

The retailer’s grocery store Amazon Go, which uses NFC sensors to monitor items moved from shelves and into baskets ranked second, and Amazon Logistics was listed third for its robot-filled warehouses and experimentation with drone delivery.

The Report applauded a variety of brands for their AI initiatives, including Panasonic’s robotic check outs and Shop Direct’s conversational technology in collaboration with IBM Watson. Delivery and fulfilment continued to maintain pace, with Deliveroo’s Roobox ranked fourth overall, but was less dominant, dropping from filling nine places on the 2016 report, to five in 2017.

“The various AI initiatives show how retailers are working hard to evolve customer journey. They are thinking outside the box and coming up with new ways to answer customer demand for convenience and immediacy, as well as looking for solutions to improve every step of the supply chain,” says Guy Chiswick, Managing Director of Webloyalty, Northern Europe.

A trend consistent with the 2016 Digital Innovations Report, is the prominence of the fashion sector, with 16 of the innovations in this year’s report being driven by fashion retailers. Ranked at number 12 is Net-a-Porter, honoured for its partnership with Whatsapp; the retailer has worked to develop a capability that enables purchases to be made directly the app.

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