Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are reinventing the retail landscape globally. The technology today is turning data into insights and in turn guiding actions that improve business results. According to a new survey sponsored by Rackspace Technology, most (65%) of IT decision-makers at retail companies and organizations said Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are technologies that are most mission-critical to their business strategy.
With AI/ML technologies, there is an opportunity to enhance customer experiences, improve revenue growth potential, undertake rapid innovation and create smart operations- all of which can help businesses to stand out from the competition.
Key findings from the research include:
- 58% of respondents in the retail space said AI/ML technologies are a high priority for their industry
- 69% reported AI/ML has had a positive impact of on brand awareness and on brand reputation (67%), as well as on revenue generation (72%) and on expense reduction (72%)
- 75% of respondents in retail say they are employing AI/ML as part of their business strategy, IT strategy or both
- While 68% of retail respondents are allocating between 6% and 10% of their budget to AI/ML projects.
- The technology is being used by retailers in an increasingly wide variety of contexts, including improving the speed and efficiency of processes (47%), personalizing content and understanding customers (43%), increasing revenue (41%), gaining competitive edge (42%) and predicting performance (32%), and understanding marketing effectiveness (42%)
- In an indication of the increasing maturity of the technologies, 66% of retail respondents said their AI/ML projects have gone past the experimentation stage and are now either in the “optimizing/innovating” or “formalizing” states of implementation
- There are however challenges when it comes to AI/ML adoption. 34% of retail respondents cite difficulties aligning AI/ML strategies to the business.
- From a talent perspective, more than half 61% of retail respondents said they have necessary AI/ML skills within their organization.
- At the same time, more than half of all respondents say that bolstering internal skills/hired talent and improving both internal and external training are on their agenda.
- Comparing departments, 69% of retail respondents say IT staff grasp AI/ML benefits while 46% in sales, 45% in R&D, 44% in senior management and boards, 41% in customer service and operations and only 34% in marketing departments understand the benefits of these technologies.