AI navigation for retail

The joint project between gmvteam GmbH, the NRW Trade Association and the European EPC Competence Centre GmbH (EECC) makes artificial intelligence more accessible and applicable, particularly for small and medium-sized companies.

Launch of the project AI navigation for retail. From left: Frank Rehme (Managing Director of gmvteam), Claudia Lehmann (Managing Director of gmvteam), Frank Holland (Managing Director of NRW Trade Association), Mona Neubaur (Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia), Conrad von Bonin (Managing Director of European EPC Competence Center), Dr. Georg Schwering (Head of Scientific Research EECC), Dr. Christian Temath (Managing Director of KI.NRW) ©MWIKE NRW

Press release

The press release on the flagship project on the occasion of the presentation of the funding decision (6 Februrary 2024).

Retail experts from NRW identify, test and demonstrate customized AI applications and make them available as a “navigation system”.

AI is currently only used to a limited extent in the retail sector: This is set to change with the help of the new KI.NRW flagship “AI navigation for retail”. The four-year project will receive a total of around 2.2 million euros in funding from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The retail sector is currently facing significant challenges. The technological shift towards digital value creation, changing customer needs and reactions to external factors such as supply chain disruptions and a shortage of skilled labor are accelerating the changes. Artificial intelligence has considerable application potential in overcoming these challenges and is a suitable tool for recognizing the emergence and consequences of such upheavals at an early stage and taking entrepreneurial action. Sustainable success, efficient processes and the targeted activation of customers are no longer conceivable without the use of AI. The potential applications are very diverse across the areas of administration, logistics/transport and branches. Applications in the area of customer experience are becoming particularly relevant for retailers. The focus here is on the analysis of customer behavior and automated price and offer switching based on this. The implementation and use of artificial intelligence is particularly difficult for small and medium-sized companies due to a lack of AI expertise, technological access barriers, complexity and operating costs.

The objective of the project is to identify, test and demonstrate AI applications and make them available as a “navigation system” in line with requirements. The developed and demonstrated use cases and the presentation of information using suitable dashboards will remove access barriers and provide retailers with decision-making support. “AI navigators” based at the retail association also provide companies with direct support for questions and implementation projects. This accelerates the actual transfer of AI applications into practice which is crucial for the successful implementation and acceptance of artificial intelligence.

The consortium consists of gmvteam GmbH (consortium management), the NRW Trade Association and the European EPC Competence Centre GmbH.

Flagship updates

© KI-Navi Handel
Invitation to the flagship kick-off event on June 27
The “KI-Navi Handel” presents its project goals for the launch
© Zukunft des Einkaufens
Podcast with Frank Rehme from the KI.NRW flagship on the topic of “The future of shopping”
Special episode: AI Navi for retail
Article in TextilWirtschaft about “AI navigation for retail”
“New NRW project aims to bring artificial intelligence to retail”
© AKrasov/ & KI.NRW
Flagships powered by KI.NRW
Lernen Sie unsere KI.NRW-Flagshipprojekte kennen.

Voices on the project

Mona Neubaur

Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of NRW

The potential of artificial intelligence in the retail sector is enormous. Small and medium-sized enterprises can also benefit from this. We want to support retailers in North Rhine-Westphalia in realising this potential and thus ensuring their long-term competitiveness. The project gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to benefit directly from forward-looking, application-orientated results of AI research.”

© Land NRW/R. Sondermann

Frank Rehme

Managing Director gmvteam, consortium management

As the number one retail location in Germany, NRW has a new flagship project, the ‘AI navigation for retail’, which makes artificial intelligence more easily accessible and applicable for retailers. It not only provides orientation, but also low-threshold access to cutting-edge technologies for all retail companies – regardless of their size and digital maturity.”

Dr. Peter Achten

Managing Director Handelsverband NRW


We don’t just want to show where AI is already being used everywhere, but also how small and medium-sized companies can utilise it in their day-to-day business with manageable resources.”

Conrad von Bonin

Managing Director EECC


Supply chains of the future will be controlled more and more in real time and will be almost inconceivable without the use of AI. In turn, AI can play to its strengths wherever there is a strong data and expertise base, such as in NRW. The lighthouse project ‘AI navigation for retail’ aims to utilise these assets for the future of retail in NRW.”

Dr. Christian Temath

Managing Director KI.NRW


Artificial intelligence can help to make the retail sector fit for the future, for example by optimising the product range with intelligent demand planning and specific marketing measures. This is where the ‘AI navigation for retail’ project comes in, helping to accelerate the transfer of AI applications into practice and making it easier for small and medium-sized retail companies in particular to access these technologies. It is important for the project participants to involve all employees with the help of educational and training programmes. In our view, this is crucial for the successful implementation and acceptance of artificial intelligence.”

Flagships powered by KI.NRW 

Operating under the brand “Flagships powered by KI.NRW“, the Artificial Intelligence Competence Platform North Rhine-Westphalia supports projects funded by the state as AI lighthouse projects in order to support efficient technology transfer and close cooperation between SMEs, startups, universities, colleges and research institutions in NRW. Under the strategic auspices of KI.NRW, the competence platform provides communications support for the projects and positions NRW as an AI location by marketing the results at European level. One focus is on the sustainable transfer and further utilization of the project results.

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