How Retailers are Embracing the AI Hype - Retail Innovation Conference & Expo

How Retailers are Embracing the AI Hype

The artificial intelligence (AI) hype machine hasn’t slowed down. At Shoptalk this week, it’s central to many sessions and conversations. And of course, retailers across categories are running new tests and implementing new solutions to help them keep pace. In fact, retail executives estimate that 36% of their employees already are using generative AI today, with that figure projected to rise to 45% by 2025, according to a new survey conducted by Salesforce and the Retail AI Council. Moreover, a staggering 93% of these retailers say they’re already using generative AI to personalize emails, product recommendations and other customer-facing tactics.

Retail TouchPoints editor Adam Blair got the scoop on the research from Michelle Grant, Director of Strategy and Insights for Retail at Salesforce, and what a significant impact generative AI has already made on the industry. (If you want to dig into the reporting further, you can check out his awesome article here.)

“Generative AI has only been publicly available as a friendly user interface since November 2022, and it’s already being embedded in retail operations such as customer service, marketing and even new shopping experiences,” Grant said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.

In the survey of 1,390 retail decision-makers from Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and Australia, Salesforce also found that 81% of respondents already have a dedicated AI budget, with about half of that budget assigned to generative AI initiatives.

From Theory to Reality: How #RICE24 Will Explore AI Benefits

The Salesforce and Retail AI Council research identified three key areas where retailers plan to use generative AI: customer service, marketing and store operations. While respondents are eager to capitalize on the benefits, they also are being increasingly mindful of the pitfalls and risks, which include:

  • Bias, or when AI algorithms produce prejudiced results or responses (50%);
  • Hallucinations (38%); and
  • Toxicity (35%).

During the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo, we will have AI as an integrated topic across our three content tracks: Content, Community and Commerce. After all, we are seeing that AI can be effectively embedded into the entire customer journey and, ultimately, the entire retail organization.

The most direct and obvious session will be in the Content track, focused on “A Practical Guide to AI: Use Cases and Lessons Learned.” Executives from Crocs, Zenni Optical and Adore Me will delve into how their organizations are currently using AI to support content, marketing and personalization at scale, and what they’ve learned in their organizational journeys.

Then, in the Commerce track executives from Rebag, Shop Premium Outlets and Sune, will explore the technologies driving next-gen commerce experiences. All companies are digitally led, which means they’re investing heavily in solutions and systems elevating online shopping experiences. From live shopping to content-driven commerce and advanced CRM, they’ll explore how AI and other technology capabilities are helping them drive brand engagement and full-blown immersion across the entire customer lifecycle. The Commerce track also will host a dynamic discussion on loss prevention strategies, which will undoubtedly touch on computer vision and how AI can enhance video surveillance technology to mitigate theft.

Finally, in the Community track, executives from Michaels, KIKI World, Monica + Andy, and other compelling brands, will share how they’re building and nurturing communities online and in stores. AI will undoubtedly be discussed as they explore how to develop these communities at scale and constantly adapt to new consumer behaviors and expectations.

Register for the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo to get a front-row seat to these deep-dive conversations. AI is undoubtedly shaping the modern retail organization, helping drive efficiency, scale and optimization. By joining your retail peers in Chicago, you’ll get to explore what opportunities exist for your business and, of course, your customers. Get your ticket now while you can still capitalize on Early Bird pricing!

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