The use of artificial intelligence (AI) offers a cost-saving opportunity worth about $340 billion for retail companies able to scale and expand the scope of their existing deployments, according to a new global study from French technology services major Capgemini. However, just one per cent of retailers have achieved this level of deployment so far, showed the results from the study, titled "Building the Retail Superstar: How unleashing AI across functions offers a multi-billion dollar opportunity".
The researchers found that most retailers are focusing their artificial intelligence efforts on sales and marketing when there is a significant opportunity to unleash artificial intelligence use cases across the value chain.
"Our research shows a clear imbalance of organisations prioritizing cost, data and ROI (return on investment) when deploying AI, with only a small minority considering the customer pain points also," Kees Jacobs, vice president, global consumer products and retail sector at Capgemini, said in a statement.
"These two factors need to be given equal weighting if long-term artificial intelligence growth, with all of the benefits it brings, is to be achieved," Mr Jacobs added.
For the study, published by the Capgemini Research Institute, the researchers looked at 400 global retailers that are implementing artificial intelligence use cases at different stages of maturity. This group of retailers represents 23 per cent of the global retail market by revenue.
The study further included an extensive analysis of public data from the world's largest 250 retailers, by revenue.
The researchers found over a quarter (28 per cent) of retailers were deploying artificial intelligence in 2018, a significant increase of artificial intelligence deployments from 2017 (17 per cent), and a seven-fold increase from 2016 (four per cent).
Dispelling fears of major job losses due to artificial intelligence deployment, the results showed that 71 per cent of retailers said artificial intelligence was creating jobs today, with over two-thirds (68 per cent) of the jobs being at a senior level (coordinator level or above).
Meanwhile, 75 per cent declared that artificial intelligence has not replaced any jobs in their organisation so far, the study said.
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