Artificial intelligence, through the use of software and robotics, is entering the customer service space across many retail locations. As of 2018, 28% of retailers are utilizing AI in some form, a 600% increase compared to 2016. Retailers in food/grocery, multi-category department stores, apparel, footwear, and home improvement stores have all embraced the adoption of AI.
About 26% of AI technology in retail directly interacts with customers – the remaining 74% is being used for operations tasks – working in the back to boost operational efficiencies with existing workers or replacing the “dull tasks”.
The future of customer service appears to be an increase in chatbots and virtual assistants. For example, H&M is using AI to style outfits for their customers upon them sending a link to their favorite item. Several retailers are using robots to roam store aisles and take inventory in order to make sure products are available for customers. Some locations are trialing the use of customer-service robots, while others are using AI to make personalized recommendations for consumers. In a recent survey, 73% of consumers said they prefer brands that use their personal data to improve the shopping experience.
By 2023, an estimated 95% of supply chain vendors will rely on AI learning. This is predicted to improve day-to-day, bottom line operations by forecasting error rates, structuring planning for productivity, and reducing cost by tracking shipment data.
The infographic below can paint a better picture of how AI will be used in retail.