Nearly six in 10 retailers plan to adopt artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and computer vision (CV) technologies over the next year to boost the shopping experience offered within stores and online worldwide, a new report said on Monday.
According to the consumer technology company Honeywell, retailers see this new technology as complementing and enhancing their workforce rather than eliminating jobs.
“New technologies like AI, ML and CV have the potential to enable retailers to deliver personalised experiences, optimise operations, improve inventory management and prevent fraud — all of which enhance customer satisfaction and can lead to increased sales and profitability,” said George Koutsaftes, president and CEO of Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions.
The report involved some 1,000 retail directors across the US, Europe, the Middle East and Africa in leadership roles, including IT, operations, and customer experience.
The report found that 38 per cent of retailers are using these technologies for select use cases or regions, 35 per cent are using them on a larger scale, 24 per cent are in a pilot phase or in discussions, and only 3 per cent said they were not using these technologies at all.
Almost half (48 per cent) of respondents identified AI, ML and CV as the top technologies expected to have a significant impact on the retail industry over the next three to five years.
Moreover, the respondents predicted that AI, ML and CV will bring the greatest value to four key functions in retail — automating and supporting day-to-day tasks, such as picking and scheduling; supporting customer service, including live chat, for digital channels; creating targeted customer marketing campaigns and improving inventory management.
Most retailers said they see AI, ML and CV primarily as tools to augment and maximise their workforce, rather than to replace employees, while only 7 per cent said their primary purpose for these solutions would be to reduce human labour.