Marks & Spencer (M&S) is turning to AI to sharpen its appeal to customers through a partnership with Microsoft. The UK-based department store plans to integrate Microsoft AI technologies into M&S stores and wider operations to improve the customer experience.
A team of AI engineers and product personnel from Microsoft will partner with the M&S Retail Labs team to accelerate digital transformation at the retailer. In November 2017, M&S unveiled a five-year transformation program, which includes technology improvements designed to enable the retailer to become a digital-first business.
The transformation plan also includes a slowdown of openings for its M&S Simply Food convenience stores and accelerated store closings. Marks & Spencer anticipates shuttering more than 100 outlets over the next four years.
Microsoft is reportedly working on technology that would eliminate cashiers and checkout lines from stores, in an effort to rival the technology deployed in the Amazon Go store.The tech giant reportedly has been showing off the technology to retailers around the world, having held talks with Walmart about a potential collaboration.