Artificial intelligence is $300 billion cost-saving opportunity

The use of artificial intelligence in the retail sector is a $300 billion cost-saving opportunity for retailers which are able to scale and expand the technology, though just 1 per cent of retailers have achieved the necessary level of development, according to research from Capgemini Research Institute.

The study looked at 400 global retailers, and how they are implementing the burgeoning technology at different stages of maturity, and found that over a quarter of retailers are deploying AI in their businesses – a seven-fold increase from 2016.

“For global retailers, it appears reality has kicked in regarding AI, both in terms of what the technology can achieve and what they need to do to get there,” Capgemini vice president global consumer products and retail sector Kees Jacobs said.

“Of course, deploying and scaling will be the next big objective, but retailers should be wary not to chase ROI figures without also considering the customer experience.”

According to the research, retailers deploying AI systems were eight times more likely to be working on high-complexity projects rather than smaller projects which are easier to scale, and generally lack a focus on customer usability.

Only 10 per cent of such retailers noted customer experience as a driving factor of these developments, and only 7 per cent noted customer pain points as a priority. Meanwhile, cost (62 per cent) and ROI (59 per cent) are driving most investment into the space.

Despite this, 98 per cent of retailers surveyed expect customer complaints to decrease, while 99 expect to see an increase in sales, as a result of investment into AI – far ahead of the more contrasted expectations noted in 2017.

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