Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming several sectors of the economy, including automotive, marketing and healthcare. Retail could be next.
According to an August 2018 survey of 400 retail executives worldwide by Capgemini, AI could save retailers as much as $340 billion annually by 2022. Capgemini estimates that 80% of the savings would come from AI enabling more efficient processes for supply chains and returns.
Roughly 10% of respondents said customer-facing AI functions, such as chatbots and self-checkout services, will benefit retailers by enhancing customer satisfaction.
A similar number of respondents in Capgemini's survey said that AI will increase promotion efficiency and reduce customer complaints. The study also found that AI can boost promotion efficiency by enabling automated ad buying, personalizing customers' online experiences and serving users targeted recommendations. Retail and payment firms have used AI to spot fraudulent charges and give high churning customers a more personalized online experience in an attempt to improve customer satisfaction and reduce complaints.
eMarketer spoke with several retail industry insiders about AI. Here's what they said:
Frank Beard, Convenience Store and Retail Analyst, GasBuddy: AI has opened a world of possibilities for physical retail. The next few years will see continued enhancements to both customer experience and operations, especially with developments in checkout-free technology.
Andrew Scarbrough, Co-Founder, COO, PriceWaiter: AI in image recognition is now here to stay in ecommerce, and it blows away barcode scanning, which seemed like the future just a few years ago. It reminds us of the rapid digitization of DVDs to Blu-rays to [digital streaming]—where at each stage people thought we might be done, at least for a while.