Commentary

16% Of Retailers Using AI, 20% Plan To Add In Next Year

Online retailers are moving into some advanced artificial intelligence technologies while holding back on others.

Many retailers have concrete plans for using artificial intelligence for various customer-facing activities, but they don’t have plans for virtual reality or even voice-activated apps.

Using augmented reality also is near the bottom of the list, based a new survey of 234 mid-size online retail merchants globally conducted by SLI Systems, an ecommerce company.

The top planned retailer use for AI over the next year is for personalized product recommendations. Here are the uses of AI by retailers including, those already in use and those planned in the next 12 months:

  • 56% -- Personalized product recommendations
  • 41% -- Customer service requests
  • 35% -- Chatbots
  • 32% -- Visual search
  • 18% -- Virtual buying assistants
  • 11% -- Augmented reality
  • 8% -- Voice-activated apps
  • 7% -- Virtual reality

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Most (90%) of online retailers have no plans to us AI for virtual reality or voice-activated apps, at least over the next year.

The majority (54%) of retailers plan to at least eventually use AI, almost half (46%) have no plans to add it to their commerce strategy.

Some (16%) retailers already use some form of AI, with 20% planning to add it in the next 12 months and another 18% planning to add it more than a year from now.

Like many technologies relatively new to a market, learning what it can do is key.

Almost a quarter (24%) of retailers said they don’t understand how AI can be applied to commerce and while more than a third (39%) said they understand AI’s commerce applications, they weren’t sure how it applied to their businesses. 

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