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Retail industry body NRF releases principles for AI Governance

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Mannu Mathew
Mannu Mathew
With over four years of experience, Mannu Mathew specializes in business journalism with a focus on technology, the retail sector, D2C, and E-commerce brands. He is working as the Assistant Editor for India Retailing and Images Retail Magazine.

The new principle aims to bring transparency and accountability to employers and employees in the retail industry

New Delhi: The National Retail Federation, the apex body for retail in the US, has released its principles for the use of Artificial Intelligence in the retail sector.

According to the world’s largest retail trade association, the move was taken to support governance and planning on account of the increasing AI implementation across the retail sector.

The principles are developed through the Center for Digital Risk & Innovation, which encourages effective governance of AI to promote consumer trust and facilitate ongoing innovation and beneficial use of AI technologies.

This also comes at a time when there have been multiple litigations around AI and Generative AI in America. Artists from Hollywood like Sarah Silverman, Christopher Golden, and Richard Kadrey have all sued Meta and OpenAI for copyright infringement and the wrong practice of training the large language model, as per information from various media reports in early 2023.

Expert Perspective on AI Governance in Retail

While the principles released by NRF at present are centred around the US region, expert say that India too needs a specific regulation and framework in the retail sector.

“Principles for the Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Retail Sector is very timely and one that needs to be heeded with the utmost fidelity,” Siju Narayan, a retail industry practitioner and chief experience officer, RexEmptor Consult LLP told IndiaRetailing.

Indian retailers too need to self-align themselves into creating a governance framework that encourages strong accountability-based ethical leverage of AI that respects customer privacy. This in a way ensures better customer engagement without losing trust,” Narayan added.


“Retailers use AI to better serve their customers, improve the shopping experience and increase the efficiency of their operations,” said Christian Beckner, NRF Vice President of Retail Technology and cybersecurity and Executive Director of the NRF Center for Digital Risk & Innovation.

“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,” added Beckner.

The newly released principles fall into four categories, these are:

  1.   Governance and Risk Management: Retailers should develop strong governance of AI tools and capabilities to manage risk.
  2.   Customer Engagement and Trust: Retailers should be transparent about their use of AI and should align with local government regulations.
  3.   Workforce Application and Use: Companies should review how AI impacts employees working in their organisations.
  4.   Business Partner Accountability: Retailers should have clear guidelines and expectations for their business partners who provide AI assistance.

With its headquarters in Washington, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has over 40 councils, committees and task forces that help retail members network, share ideas, and establish best practices. Its members include independent retailers, chain restaurants, grocery stores, and multi-level marketing companies.

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