Microsoft gives Marks & Spencer an AI facelift

(Image credit: Wikimedia)

One of the UK's oldest shops is set for a technology makeover after Marks and Spencer announced a new partnership with Microsoft.

The computing giant will be working with M&S to bring its AI technologies into the company's stores and customer experiences, helping transform the 134-year-old institution into a "Digital First" retailer.

A team of specialist Microsoft AI engineers will be working with M&S's Retail Labs group in order to help speed up the store's digital transformation efforts, as M&S looks to become one of the UK's most tech-friendly retailers.

Smart shopping

“We firmly believe that AI has the power to amplify human ingenuity,” says Cindy Rose, CEO, Microsoft UK. “The retail sector is one of the most challenging landscapes in the UK right now and we are thrilled to be working with M&S to explore how AI can help such an iconic brand transform the customer experience and improve wider operations.”

Marks and Spencer revealed a five year transformation programme last November, with technology forming a key part of this evolution. 

As part of of the company's new Technology Transformation Programme, M&S has created a new operating model to help it utilise new technology, including industry agile methods, hopefully saving around £30m a year.

“M&S is transforming into a Digital First retailer, at a time when the sector is undergoing a customer-led revolution," said Steve Rowe, M&S CEO. 

"We want to be at the forefront of driving value into the customer experience using the power of technology. Working together with Microsoft to understand the full potential of how technology and artificial intelligence can improve the in-store experience for our customers and the efficiencies of our wider operations could be a game changer for M&S – and for retail.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.