Study reveals mixed retailer view of AI

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Retailers see high potential value in artificial intelligence (AI), but also a number of challenges.

According to retailer-specific findings of the “Living in an AI World 2020 Report,” a KPMG survey of 751 executives across industries including retail, 85% of respondents believe AI has the potential to significantly improve organizational efficiencies. However, only slightly more than half (52%) say AI adoption is at least moderately functional in their organization, while 51% say retail is ahead of the curve in AI adoption.

Although about two-thirds (64%) of respondents say the use of AI to help business is more hype than reality right now, 80% say AI technology such as chatbots and self-checkout is regularly being used to alleviate customer service issues.

Looking ahead to what benefits respondents think AI will deliver in retail within the next two years, the most popular response was customer intelligence (56%), followed by self-checkout (55%), chatbots (45%), supply chain planning (44%), and marketing/advertising (43%).

Respondents also see a number of challenges and issues that must be overcome before retail can fully realize the advantages of AI. These include:

•    Lack of employee support for AI adoption (74%).
•    Workforce concerns over AI taking away jobs (62%).
•    Executive concerns over AI taking away jobs (54%).
•    Lack of AI training (48%).
•    Lack of employee preparation for AI adoption (57%).