Cadillac Fairview to develop retail solutions with Scale AI

From the Tech newsletter: The Ravel by CF innovation division is pursuing ways to offer more personalization within physical retail.
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Ravel by CF has been selected by Scale AI to co-fund a digital project pursuing artificial intelligence solutions for bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Established earlier this year, Ravel by CF is the innovation division of property company and shopping mall operator Cadillac Fairview, tasked with finding new opportunities within the physical retail environment. Many of its initiatives are tech-based – such as a new CF Browse app that allows shoppers to search for products across a mall’s retailers and give more consumer insights to those retailers – though some are “disruptive” in other ways, such as a content studio for visiting podcasters and video creators.

Based in Montreal, Scale AI is one of Canada’s five innovation-focused superclusters, focusing on funding and accelerating industry-led projects that involve incorporating AI into the supply chain.

Exact details of the project were not shared, but Ravel by CF will use the co-funding from Scale AI to pursue AI-focused solutions in both operational areas, such as supply chain and delivery optimization, as well as consumer-facing areas like intelligent search, product recommendation and wayfinding inside properties. The solutions developed through the program will not be limited to CF properties – president and CEO John Sullivan said in a release that it will help retailers both in Canada and around the globe adapt to the future of retail.

Jose Ribau, EVP of digital and innovation at Cadillac Fairview, said in a release that AI and supply chain data offered an opportunity to create more personalized shopping experiences, and working with Scale AI will help it build a more “robust and intuitive ecosystem.” Cadillac Fairview is in a bit of a different position compared to other companies when it comes to utilizing AI and data for personalization, as significant portions of the data on CF customers is spread across the dozens and sometimes hundreds of retailers in a property, who may all be at very different levels when it comes to their data and AI capabilities.

The CF Browse app is one way the company has begun testing to address this, as it uses products and brands consumers have searched for to string together insights on products they look for and how they shop, but also provide more robust insights for retailers who did not have their own rich sources of data, such as a loyalty program. Providing these kinds of capabilities to retailers is part of the project with Scale AI as well, as AI technology will offer both its properties and partners to ability to provide an omni-channel approach to customers.