Volume I | Fourth Quarter 2018
Welcome to the inaugural issue of Retail Tech Bulletin, a publication by Platt Retail Institute and the Retail Analytics Council . This quarterly bulletin will include news and case studies regarding retail robotics, artificial intelligence, and related retail technologies. Updates on Retail Analytics Council activities, including the Retail Robotics & AI Conference, Retail Robotics Initiative and Retail AI Lab at Northwestern University also will be featured.
Multipurpose Retail Robots Advance Data Analytics and Automation
Despite massive disruption in the retail industry, brick-and-mortar stores still account for more than 90 percent of total retail sales. What matters most, however, is the steady adoption of e-commerce across every facet of the retail industry. Retailers also are seeking more compelling, convenient in-store shopping experiences to elevate customer loyalty and operational efficiency.

Robotized Retail: Historical Analogy and Retail Disruption
Today, a consumer’s expectations have expanded significantly, if not exponentially. For this reason, a more robust method must be adopted to meet consumer experience expectations and align automation to those needs. Design (design thinking, design research) offers a more robust, modern corollary to methods used in the past, just as the robotics and AI platforms of today offer more advanced methods for converting processes to be handled by robots.

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The New Age of Frictionless Retail
2017 was a watershed year for retail. Overall retail sales reported a healthy 3.7 percent increase, yet a record number of retailers declared bankruptcy and over 7,000 stores closed. Why are so many retailers struggling in what is otherwise a healthy economy?

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Retail Analytics Council Updates
Join Platt Retail Institute and the Retail Analytics Council for the second annual Retail Robotics & AI Conference on April 11-12, 2019, at Northwestern University in Evanston, Il. With a focus on emerging applications, advanced analytics, and industry trends, the conference will bring together up to 150 retailers, academics, and experts in robotics and AI.

Open to retailers by invitation only. Learn more and request an invitation to attend.
The first Robots in Retail Competition will take place in conjunction with the April 2019 Retail Robotics & AI Conference. Interested firms are invited to apply for consideration. Judges will select those firms that offer significant, breakthrough use of robotics to create unique, rele-vant, and value-creating solutions for retailers. Winners will be invited to present at the conference to the audience of 150 senior-level retailers.


The objectives of the RAC Retail AI Lab are to undertake additional research projects by broadening faculty involvement and engaging students on research projects, with the goal of raising awareness of careers in retail AI and analytics.

Read more about the Lab, its advisory board and sponsors, EnterWorks and Sears Holdings.
Platt Retail Institute (PRI) is an international consulting and research firm that focuses on leveraging technology to impact the consumer experience and store operations. Central to this is building actionable data models that aid retailers and technology companies in gaining insights into their customers and operations. In addition to its global consulting expertise, PRI also publishes pioneering industry research. Learn more.
The Retail Analytics Council (RAC) is the leading organization focused on the study of consumer shopping behavior across retail platforms and the impact of technology. Established in August 2014, RAC is an initiative between Medill’s Integrated Marketing Communications department, Northwestern University and the Platt Retail Institute. Learn more.
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