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7 Jul 2023

Is AI retail’s friend or foe?

Generative AI is the latest buzzword to trend its way across the globe. Supercharged by the popularity of the ChatGPT tool released in November 2022, the world’s largest companies have all accelerated their development and adoption of AI into their products and services. It is clear, amidst the hype, that we have reached a real milestone in its development amidst rocketing use.

While not necessarily a completely new technology, the traction we are now seeing is undeniable and won’t be slowing down for a while yet. Amid all the discussions, from efficiency boosts to apocalyptic scare-stories, will AI be a friend or foe to the retail world?

Retailers and brands have been investing heavily in digital transformation projects for the past decade, recognising that being at the forefront of relevant technologies improves brand perception, the customer experience, and brings tangible benefits to the bottom line.

Retail has been an early adopter of AI

As a result of this, retail is historically no stranger to AI, with some of the first uses being in interactive chatbots that have been able to help streamline customer service. Although initial uses may have been relatively small scale in stature, the momentum is building and globally the market for AI in retail is expected to grow from the $4.8bn it was last year to $31.2bn by 2028, highlighting just how impressive the forecasts are.

The current economic turbulence and high inflation has hit consumer demand, meaning that competition within retail for both sales and share of voice is fierce. Businesses will, and should, be looking to AI in order to increase their effectiveness both in-store and online.

Being at this cutting edge does require an investment and the costs required to develop AI have been a barrier to entry for many in retail. However not taking action could prove most costly in the long run. There are clear tangible benefits in efficiency, customer satisfaction and future profits. All of this means brands who take the leap can be in a hugely advantageous position to succeed if the technology is implemented successfully.

To read the full article by Tom Harwood, Data and Insight Manager please visit Retail Sector

Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels

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