The 5 Ways Mobile Will Impact Retail

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Retailers Are Also Increasing Artificial Intelligence Adoption 

As retailers look to optimize the customer experience, artificial intelligence will play a much more significant role, with 45 percent of store operators saying in a recent Boston Retail Partners (BRP) report that they plan to increase their use of AI within the next three years.

The goal, according to the report, is to create a unified experience that brings together the sensory experiences customers get in the physical world, such as touching and feeling merchandise and personally interacting with sales associates, with the unique and personalized shopping experience common in the digital world. 

These are the key customer experience capabilities:

• Educate. One of the areas of greatest improvement is offering social media as a research option for customers to learn more about companies and their products. Overall use is up from 73 percent last year to 92 percent this year; however, many retailers indicate that their current social media offerings need improvement.

• Engage. Most retailers have plans to implement new technologies to identify customers via their smartphones, mobile applications, and other emerging technologies. Within three years, 59 percent of retailers plan to use Wi-Fi, and 63 percent plan to use mobile apps to identify customers in their stores.

• Execute. Sixty-seven percent of retailers are offering a consistent product assortment across channels; however, many retailers are still struggling with manual processes, as 43 percent indicate the processes need improvement.

• Enhance. Enhanced networks are a critical requirement for a unified commerce environment, and 76 percent of retailers plan to enhance or replace their networks within the next three years.

• Enable. Retailers realize the importance of customer insights gathered from social media, as 89 percent are now using social media comments as a critical customer satisfaction measurement, up from 59 percent last year.

“The customer experience in a unified commerce world is much more complex than it is in a pure-play e-commerce or brick-and-mortar retail environment, and we are seeing retailers map out the entire customer journey to design the optimal customer experience,” Perry Kramer, vice president and practice lead at BRP, said in a statement. “This complexity expands exponentially as the proliferation of social media, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and machine learning influence the retail world and, more specifically, the customer journey.” —S.D.R.

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