A new study from IDC predicts retailers will spend $5.9 billion this year alone on artificial intelligence (AI) tools like automated customer service and product recommendations. Furthermore, 79 percent of retail and consumer products companies expect to use intelligent automation to learn more about their customers by 2021. Yes, retailers are making big investments in machine learning and automation, and the returns so far are strong — but they're unevenly distributed. The biggest beneficiaries of these trends are the already powerful retail giants like Amazon.com, Walmart or Target. That’s because these powerhouses have one, the largest pools of consumer data to feed their models and, two, the resources to build, test and deploy AI at scale. Click Read More below for additional information.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) may change how retailers and consumers interact, according to data from Gartner.
By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop using AR technology online and in-store, according to Gartner data. A 2018 Gartner also survey indicated that, by 2020, 46% of retailers planned to deploy either AR or VR solutions to meet customer service experience requirements. Gartner analysis indicates that AR and VR technology have the potential to let retailers individualize offers and enable customers to visualize products in different settings.
In addition, Gartner says that using VR’s immersive interfaces, retailers can create task efficiencies or reduce the costs associated with designing new products. They can also enhance the understanding of information through advanced graphical visualization and simulation technologies.
“Retailers are under increasing pressure to explain the purpose of physical stores, and take control of the fulfillment and return process for cross-channel execution,” said Hanna Karki, principal research analyst at Gartner. “At the same time, consumers are progressively defining the value provided by the experiences they receive from retailers. As a result of these pressures, retailers are turning to AR and VR to offer customers a unified retail experience inside and outside retail stores.”
Gartner data further suggests that 5G mobile network technology represents an opportunity to accelerate the adoption of AR and VR in stores. Gartner’s recent 5G enterprise survey indicated that AR/VR applications running on 5G attract the highest expectations for becoming drivers of new revenue, across all use cases and respondents.
According to Gartner, 5G capabilities can support multiple uses cases, such as real-time rendering for immersive video, shorter download and set-up times, and extension of brands and shopping experiences beyond stores.