If there’s one key takeaway that came out of our recent trip to Shoptalk Europe, it’s that the buzz around AI in retail continues to grow.
It is not just innovative tech companies like Blue Yonder that are actively exploring how AI will change our industry; everyone from the media to leading analysts are discovering more about the power of AI.
In fact, if you look at some of the headlines and statements from these retail experts, it makes a compelling call to retailers: AI isn’t a futuristic concept; it’s a present day reality. We’ve put some of the most interesting comments into a new video, Retail and the Power of AI: What the Experts Say.
So, where do leaders and industry commentators see AI making the greatest impact within retail, and how quickly will it separate the innovators from the onlookers? Let’s look at some of their viewpoints…
AI is primed and ready to change retail
“AI and its related technologies are very real and ready-for-prime time,” says Brian Kilcourse, Managing Partner at RSR Research.
We’d actually go one step further and say that, in fact, AI is already being used by a number of forward-thinking retailers to make fundamental business improvements. It’s only a matter of (very short) time before others in the market follow suit.
This is just the tip of the iceberg
“We are only just beginning to comprehend the potential AI has to transform both the customer experience and the way retailers do business,” notes The BRC’s Insight & Analytics team.
This is certainly true, judging by the numerous AI use cases we’re already witnessing across many retail sectors. For example, retailers are deploying AI to reduce out of stocks, optimize price elasticity for every SKU, increase supply chain efficiency, and reduced waste.
The result of this is: greater productivity and profitability at both ends of the business, tighter operations, and more satisfied customers.
It’s the CIO’s job to spearhead AI’s potential
“CIOs should evaluate business processes to identify where AI could be beneficial for each enterprise,” urges Gartner in its report, The Disruptive Power of Artificial Intelligence, launched earlier this year.
Certainly, innovators within retailers have a duty to evaluate which technologies can benefit their organization, but it’s also the CIO’s role to show other senior stakeholders the business-wide value that AI can deliver.
One of the most powerful investment points for AI – which the CEO and board aren’t always aware of – is that AI isn’t a replacement for current technologies. It can be applied rapidly and works with any legacy system, to deliver results very quickly. And the CIO needs to make them aware of this.
AI is the key to a smarter store
“Robotics and Artificial Intelligence will make the store of the future more efficient,” concludes IGD’s EMEA Region Manager, John Wright, in the analyst’s latest report, The Evolution of the Physical Store.
This is not to say that machine will replace man in bricks-and-mortar; quite the opposite. AI enhances productivity by enabling smarter working, as menial tasks can be automated, liberating staff to focus on serving the consumer, to provide the best possible experience.
For a round-up of retail AI innovation visit our AI in Leadership page – where you can read the latest articles from The Daily AI.