Nov 18, 2021

Amido: AI technology will shape the future of retail

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Research by cloud-native consultancy, Amido, shows 88% of retail technology decision-makers see the potential of AI, AR and VR as a driver for the industry

This new research by Amido has revealed that technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will play a vital role as the retail industry continues to rebuild from the pandemic.

88% of the retail technology decision-makers (TDMs) surveyed said intelligent technology, such as AI, AR and VR, will be crucial when retailers look to increase their advantage over competitors.

Commenting on the research, Amido’s Chief Technology Officer, Simon Evans said: “Often, it is all too easy to focus on emerging technology and how it can provide innovation to a sector like retail. But the real battle in retail is often in nailing the basics at scale. Being good at omnichannel is hard and most retailers need to fix this before they invest in technology that is additive to that core. At every turn, business value is dependent on the technologies that will convert potential chaos into a sense of control.”

The survey was conducted with 500 TDMs and just over 2,000 consumers in the UK. It highlighted the importance for retailers in using these tools to gain and retain the loyalty of the future big spenders.

Challenges with adopting intelligent technology in retail

Interestingly, the survey found that the younger generation of consumers was more receptive to emerging technologies in retail.

It found among the 16-24 consumers surveyed, 84% confirmed that they would find at least one, if not several, emerging technologies useful as part of their shopping experiences.

Despite this desire for technologies among the younger generation, the survey also highlighted that retailers must still keep the older demographic in mind; 50% of 55+-year-olds listed the ability to try products as a reason why they may prefer to shop with retailers that have bricks and mortar offerings.

As with adopting any form of technology in any industry, the adoption of intelligent technology in retail does not come without its challenges for omnichannel businesses

An omnichannel retail business takes a multichannel approach to sales that focus on providing a seamless customer experience. This approach is applied regardless of whether the client is shopping online from a mobile device, a laptop or in a brick-and-mortar store. 

TDMs have earmarked the need to find technology to improve and speed up deliveries as their number one challenge (58%). Fulfilment networks (47%) and customer demand (45%) are listed as the top two limitations to increasing the use of new innovations. Emphasising the scale of the challenge, almost half (47%) of TDMs currently fear that they’ll be unable to ship products post-purchase.

Prioritising data and analytics to secure the future of retail

It goes without saying that to successfully implement intelligent technologies, retailers must utilise their existing data and find a way to generate more in order to create sound, comprehensive algorithms.

Promisingly for the future of the sector, almost half (46%) of 16-24 year olds consumers surveyed revealed they would be happy to part with more of their personal data if it led to new offerings from the retailer. 

More than one quarter (27%) of respondents overall are also ‘floating voters,’ as they are still undecided on sharing more data. If the benefits were outlined in a successful way, these voters could be swayed to share their data by the promise of an improved service.

The survey did also highlight that retailers are aware of the need to create more data from their operations; data insights proved to be a foremost priority for TDMs when deliberating customer retention strategies.

Evans concluded: “For those still in any doubt, the solutions are all in the stats – consumers have never been more vigilant to how brands are striving to meet the future of retail. An omnichannel future of retail. To ignore their calls now could be to miss out on this future altogether."

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