New Study Finds 45 Percent of Retailers Plan to Integrate AI

Artificial intelligence is poised to become a more commonplace technology in retailing, according to a study released by Boston Retail Partners (BRP) this week.

In BRP’s 2017 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey, 45 percent of retailers polled said they plan to use artificial intelligence within three years to enhance their customer service.

Virtual reality doesn’t lag far behind—34 percent of respondents said they plan to use the immersive tech in the next three years.

None of this is surprising, of course. The retail store has long been moving toward a state of being that mixes human sales help with tech-bound assists: smart tools such as tablets, touch screens, and humanoid robots.

The report also revealed a factoid about the struggles retailers face on the road to omnichannel synergy: “Sixty-seven percent of retailers are offering a consistent product assortment across channels, however, many retailers are still struggling with manual processes, as 43 percent indicate the processes need improvement.”

Lastly, 89 percent of retailers are now using social media comments “as a critical customer satisfaction measurement,” up from 59 percent last year.

“Stores must now encompass both worlds—the sensory experience generally available in the physical world, such as touching and feeling merchandise and personally interacting with a knowledgeable associate…married with the unique and personalized shopping experience common in the digital world,” the authors of the report summarized. “The physical and digital worlds are forever intertwined as we look to the future.”

(Top: Image courtesy of Synergy Global Systems)

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JCK Senior Editor

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