Study: Retailers see value in AI

Retailers increasingly view artificial intelligence (AI) as a competitive necessity, according to a new study.

Results from “Shopping For AI,” a study of 324 U.S. retail executives from financial services company Synchrony, indicate 80% of respondents believe that AI will change the online customer experience. Almost three-quarters (72%) believe AI will be a competitive necessity for business in the next five years (72%).

Nearly half of respondents expect to use AI in the next three years for inventory planning (43%), quality control (46%), forecasting market trends using data analytics (46%), and detecting fraud (45%).

Looking at current retail AI trends, the study finds that almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) are using AI to capture data and learn more from customers, and 40% say they are currently using this data to predict customer behavior.

To make AI investments pay off, Synchrony recommends that retail organizations must: develop an AI platform foundation, ideally on cloud for flexibility, select the right AI-enabled technology for given business needs, and build on innovation in a systematic way.

"AI is one of the most disruptive technologies for the retail industry — impacting supply chains, customer service, and payments," said Greg Simpson, CTO and AI leader at Synchrony. "Investing in AI technology is no longer optional for merchants, but some may struggle with leveraging the insights in the most effective way to glean true outcomes.”