The University of Duisburg-Essen and the software company Panther Solutions, which specializes in artificial intelligence, have agreed to cooperate in joint research on the possible applications of artificial intelligence in the retail sector. The goal is basic research into the development and use of AI-based procedures and information systems for the automation and optimization of decisions and processes in retail.
The research cooperation takes place within the newly founded Retail Artificial Intelligence Lab (RetAIL). The RetAIL was established by the Chair of Business Informatics and Integrated Information Systems of Prof. Dr. Reinhard Schütte in order to research even more intensively the aspects of digitization, automation and optimization through digitization and the use of methods of Artificial Intelligence in retail, especially through methods of machine learning.
Within the framework of the cooperation, not only the researchers will be able to work together with the experts of the Panther Solution on concrete practical questions, which is crucial for the use of machine learning methods, especially from the point of view of the always necessary data basis, but which is rarely given in everyday research, but also the students of the University of Duisburg-Essen will benefit from the cooperation. Their education is rounded off with exciting and highly relevant practical projects that have already been successfully carried out.
Panther Solutions has access to a broad research community and the opportunity to advance questions and developments even outside of business constraints.
Under the project name “Artificial Intelligence in Retail for Product Placement Optimization” (KIEPO for short), the research partners are already working together on a first innovative research project in which digitization in retail is the defined goal through the development of a prototype for combined price and placement optimization using artificial intelligence. KIEPO is funded by the Ministry of Economy, Innovation, Digitization and Energy.
The common goal of both partners is to support the retail trade in the development of AI-based software solutions and thus to shape the digitization of the retail trade and to strengthen the competitiveness of the retailers in the long term.
Retail in Germany is one of the most important sectors of the economy and in 2018 the more than 330,000 companies and more than 3.7 million employees generated sales of over 500 billion euros – equivalent to 16% of the gross domestic product. Due to new digital competitors and changing customer behavior, the industry is facing a significantly changed competitive situation, which particularly affects small and medium-sized companies. The German Retail Association (HDE) estimates that “around ten percent of the approximately 450,000 retail locations in Germany will disappear in the next five to ten years”. The traditionally low priority in stationary retail for process automation, analytical optimization approaches and data analysis now appears to be becoming a decisive disadvantage. It is in our social and economic interest to address this situation and make the potential and possibilities of using artificial intelligence available to a broad range of retailers.
The Retail Artificial Intelligence Lab (retAIL) is a research project of the Faculty of Business Informatics and Integrated Information Systems of Prof. Dr. Reinhard Schütte at the University of Duisburg-Essen and conducts practical research in order to establish strategies and the technological use of artificial intelligence, especially machine learning, in the retail industry and related sectors. The research results are achieved, tested and transferred into productive applications in cooperation with partner companies.
Panther Solutions offers every retailer, regardless of size, AI solutions for better decision-making. Panther Solutions was founded in 2018 to develop AI-based cloud software solutions for the retail sector and to help shape the digitalization of the retail industry. The company is already successfully represented on the market with its cloud software Panther Pricing, which generates automated price recommendations for the retail industry. The use of Panther Pricing allows price markdowns to be reduced and sales and gross profits to be significantly optimized, and processes to be fully automated. Further AI-based “Panther” business solutions for the retail industry are currently under development.