Survey: 45% of retailers plan to use AI in next 3 years

Dive Brief:

  • About 45% of retailers plan to use artificial intelligence technology within the next three years to improve customer experiences, according to the Boston Retail Partners 2017 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey.

  • The survey results also found that 55% of retailers are refining mobile shopping and unified commerce experiences with an eye toward increasing customer loyalty and improving the overall customer experience.

  • Meanwhile. Also on the mobile front, about 59% of retailers said they will use Wi-Fi and 63% said they will use mobile apps to identify customers while they are shopping in their stores. 

Dive Insight:

AI emerged as one of the hottest technologies of 2016, and though there was a lot of activity last year, retail was just getting started. It was used in everything from the AI-based navigation and information apps at the Mall of America and Fashion Island mall to efforts by payments companies to deploy AI to fight fraud.

The best thing about this evolution is that it is not just retailers looking at a new technology and trying to figure out how to use it. AI’s ability to automate and learn from customer interactions, and then predict in many cases how those interactions could play out make it a very practical technology tool for retailers to have in their tool chests. If 2016 was some sort of proving ground year for AI in retail, when we saw a few companies trying to take AI for a spin after seeing Amazon succeed with Alexa, than the next few years could see AI become commonplace in the industry.

On the mobile front, the notion that more than half of retailers are planning to optimize their mobile shopping and unified commerce experiences in the next three years is surprising only in that 55% almost seems too small a number. If retailers aren’t working to improve mobile shopping…

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