Retailers Place Technology Bets for 2018

Many plan to spend more on location-based marketing and AI

Author: Rimma Kats

January 9, 2018

A survey of retailers in North America found that many plan to increase their spending on a range of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and location-based marketing.

Overall, the October 2017 study from IHL Group and RIS News found that retailers expect to spend more in 2018 on select emerging technologies compared to what they spent in 2017—although growth in spending did vary by technology.

For example, respondents said they are likely to spend more on technologies like location-based marketing and predictive analytics than augmented and virtual reality, or radio frequency identification (RFID). 

On average, retailers in the survey expected to increase their spending on AI and machine learning by 7.0% over the amount they spent the year prior. Similarly, they planned to spend 7.3% more on proximity and location-based marketing. By contrast, respondents said they expect to increase their spending on the internet of things (IoT) by just 3.5%, and another 1.3% for RFID technology.

The line between retail and technology continues to blur. Many retailers have already incorporated various technologies into their efforts to provide consumers with a better experience, such as experimenting with AI to help resolve customer-facing issues, or by using location data to understand shopper behavior.