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Use of AI soars as retailers grapple with its benefits and challenges

Published
today Dec 18, 2018
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A recent study from Capgemini found that artificial intelligence (AI) is on the rise in retail, with 28% of retailers now saying they are deploying it, a significant increase from 17% in 2017 and 4% in 2016.


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Furthermore, 71% of retailers deploying AI surveyed by Capgemini claimed that the technology has been creating jobs in their organizations, with 68% of these new positions being at a senior level.
 
In its report, Capgemini predicted that companies who manage to effectively scale their AI capabilities could see a benefit of over $300 billion. It does not, however, predict that the process will be an easy one.

Indeed, as more retailers have been getting to grips with AI, confidence in its successful implementation has slipped among companies that are clearly coming to terms with the technology’s challenges.
 
53% of retailers, for example, said that they have the necessary skills to undertake the successful implementation of AI, down from 78% in 2017, when eight out of ten retailers also thought their data system was up to the task – a figure which has now dropped to 55%.
 
In 2017, 81% of retail companies also said that they had a roadmap for AI implementation, but this number has now plummeted to 36%.
 
“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,” Kees Jacobs, vice president for the global consumer products & retail sector division at Capgemini, told Essential Retail. “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.”
 
Capgemini’s report, entitled “Building the Retail Superstar: How unleashing AI across functions offers a multi-billion dollar opportunity”, was based on a survey of 400 global retailers implementing AI programs at different stages of maturity, as well as on public data concerning the 250 largest retailers by revenue worldwide.

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