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NRF Releases Principles for AI Use in Retail Sector

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has released its Principles for the Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Retail Sector, providing a framework for retailers to govern and strategically plan their use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

“As retailers of all sizes continue to expand their AI capabilities, these general principles for the use of AI are increasingly critical to the industry,” Christian Beckner, NRF’s vice president of retail technology and cybersecurity and executive director of the NRF Center for Digital Risk & Innovation, said in a Monday (Nov. 13) press release.

The NRF’s principles fall into four high-level categories, according to the press release. The first is Governance and Risk Management, emphasizing the need for strong internal governance of AI tools and capabilities to manage risks and deliver expected benefits.

The second category is Customer Engagement and Trust, urging retailers to be transparent about their use of AI that may significantly affect customers, the release said. It also emphasizes the importance of preventing unlawful discrimination and aligning consumer-facing AI applications with existing privacy, cybersecurity and data governance policies.

The third category of NRF’s principles is Workforce Applications and Use, highlighting the need for ongoing oversight and review of AI applications that impact employees or are used by workers to support business needs, per the release.

The fourth category is Business Partner Accountability, emphasizing the establishment of clear guidelines and expectations for business partners providing AI tools, data sets and services, according to the release.

The NRF Center for Digital Risk & Innovation is leading the development of these principles, the release said.

“The Center plans to develop reports and additional guidelines in the coming months that provide additional context and assist retailers with using these principles,” the NRF said in the release.

PYMNTS Intelligence has found that retailers have turned to AI to enhance the customer experience with offerings like AI-powered self-service options.

Beyond that, by deploying AI in both consumer-facing and back-end applications, the grocery industry, for example, could save $113 billion, according to “What Self-Service Retail is Teaching Banks About Self-Service Banking,” a PYMNTS and NCR Corp. collaboration.