The use of AI within the retail industry has seen a rise in recent years, with the main goals of improving retention, efficiency and ROI.
There is now a focus on the practical applications of AI to solve challenges in retail, especially in light of the competitive edge lost by many retail businesses during the pandemic. New trends have been emerging throughout 2022 and the tail-end of 2021, such as price optimization.
Ahead of the AI in Retail Summit 2022 in London, we asked four of our expert speakers from Specsavers, Co-op, Shopify and HomeChoice International to give us their predictions for the future of AI in the retail industry. Find out what Marion Riffaud, Rob McKendrik, Stephen Jordan and Dino Bernicchi think we should expect to see in the next 3-5 years:
Marion Riffaud, Data Scientist – Specsavers
I don’t believe there are going to be radical changes in the next five years. The COVID-19 pandemic has been pivotal and encouraged businesses to invest in AI since it has the potential to not only increase revenues but also reduce costs, I can only imagine that we will continue to see the shift toward data-led decision making.
Technical progress might become more and more integrated into our customer journey, I’m thinking of augmented reality for online retailers and ship-to-shop business models where AI predicts which products a customer may want to buy and then allow them to return the ones they do not want. 3D printing could represent a great shift in the way we shop long term, where we buy product templates and print them directly from home. We are just at the beginning of AI integration into our customer journey, and it is well on its way to redefining the shopping experience.
“I’m thinking of augmented reality for online retailers and ship-to-shop business models where AI predicts which products a customer may want to buy and then allow them to return the ones they do not want”
Stephen Jordan, Senior Data Scientist – Shopify
I expect there will be stronger adoption of automated AI-driven tools, like residual modeling, to detect new trends and new signals. This will allow companies to take a more proactive stance when it comes to detecting changes in customer behavior, finding new signals more quickly and more systematically. This is especially important for areas like fraud or cybersecurity where the dynamics are constantly evolving.AI PREDICTIONS FOR 2022 AND BEYOND
Dino Bernicchi, Head of ML – HomeChoice International
Significant disruption and transformation at every step of the value chain. Retailers are seriously looking to build in-house AI teams, as-well-as fast track their AI journey with off-the-shelf products and platforms. The use of specialist consultants is also helping to change the tide.
In the next 3-5 years, Retail should be knee-deep in the successful use of AI, including next-generation recommender systems, warehouse and delivery optimizations, predictive and preventative AI-powered customer engagements. Some retailers will have invented exciting new customer experiences and achieved a significant competitive advantage. The retailers who ignore AI might not be around in 3-5 years.
“In the next 3-5 years, Retail should be knee-deep in the successful use of AI, including next-generation recommender systems, warehouse and delivery optimizations, predictive and preventative AI-powered customer engagements”
Rob McKendrick, Head of Data – Co-op
I’m hoping that we are able to stop thinking about AI as something special. We need to be able to inject AI smarts into all of our business processes and be able to quickly switch between our own models and partner models without massive amounts of data engineering.