French digital consultation firm Capgemini predicts AI offers a yet untapped $340 billion opportunity for the retail sector.
Retail is a major focus of AI but there’s debate over whether it will have a positive or negative on society, especially with regards to jobs. Some believe AI will assist existing jobs while others take a view it will replace workers.
Capgemini found just one percent of retailers have achieved the level of AI deployment needed to reach its full potential.
Kees Jacobs, VP of Global Consumer Products and Retail Sector at Capgemini, said:
“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.
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.”
Most retailers, according to the researchers, are focusing their efforts on using AI for sales and marketing purposes. The company notes AI has the potential to be used across the value chain.
“Our research shows a clear imbalance of organizations prioritizing cost, data and ROI when deploying AI, with only a small minority considering the customer pain points also,” comments Jacobs.
“These two factors need to be given equal weighting if long-term AI growth, with all of the benefits it brings, is to be achieved.”
400 global retailers who’ve implemented AI were studied for the research; accounting for 23 percent of the global retail market by revenue. Public data from the world’s largest 250 retailers by revenue was also included.
Over a quarter (28%) of retailers had deployed AI in 2018, up from just 17 percent in 2017.
As for the job loss fears, 71 percent of the retailers said AI was creating jobs. However, 68 percent of the roles were of a senior level which could be out the reach of lower-skilled retail workers AI may displace.
Currently, 75 percent report AI has not replaced any jobs in their organisation.
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