The National Retail Federation (NRF) has released a new framework to support effective governance of artificial intelligence (AI) and strategic planning in the retail industry.

The ‘Principles for the Use of Artificial Intelligence’ in the retail sector has been developed by NRF’s Centre for Digital Risk & Innovation.

This framework aims to encourage innovation and appropriate use of AI technologies while strengthening customers’ trust.

NRF principles have been divided into four categories: governance and risk management, customer engagement and trust, workforce applications and use and business partner accountability.

The trade association first requires retailers to establish strong internal governance of AI capabilities and tools for the realisation of desired benefits and risk management.

Secondly, retailers should be open about their use of AI, especially about AI tools that have a legal impact on customers.

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In addition, retailers must ensure that the governance of their consumer-facing AI applications is in adherence to internal privacy, cybersecurity and other data governance policies.

It is further crucial for retailers to review AI applications that may have a direct effect on employees.

Lastly, retailers should publish a clear set of guidelines and expectations to provide details about AI tools, data sets and services.

NRF Retail technology and cybersecurity vice-president and NRF centre for digital risk and innovation executive director Christian Beckner said: “Retailers use AI to better serve their customers, improve the shopping experience and increase the efficiency of their operations.

“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.”

In the coming months, the NRF Centre for Digital Risk & Innovation Centre is planning to develop additional guidelines and reports for retailers to help them understand in detail these principles of using AI.