PYMNTS – Gone are the days of mom-and-pop stores where the owner behind the counter knew what the customer wanted before he or she even spoke. Rather than having one-on-one relationships with regular customers at standard brick-and-mortar locations, eCommerce has globally widened the sales interaction.
With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), retailers and merchants have the capability to reach a much larger array of consumers on an extremely tailored and personal level. As such, it should come as no surprise that many retailers are using AI to help boost both their products and services.
In an effort to raise the bar on the consumer experience, many in the retail industry have slowly begun integrating more aspects of AI, including machine learning and natural language processing. What AI essentially does for retailers is help them to improve customer service. AI enables retailers to learn more about consumer preferences by having technology perform tasks that would typically require some level of human intelligence.
While retailers and merchants began using AI to help deal with the massive scale of global consumers — and to help stay competitive with others in the space — consumer behavior, and subsequently consumer expectations, have started to see a shift toward a true digital transformation. In the past two years alone, there have been 650 venture capital investments for artificial intelligence technologies — totaling more than $5 billion — and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is predicting that figure will reach a market value of $70 billion by the year 2020.
From the way consumers shop for groceries to clothes, books and almost any other conceivable item, there does not seem to be an area of retail unimpacted by AI in some fashion. With PwC’s projected significant increase in the AI market over the next two-and-a-half years — alongside Boston Retail Partners’ research showing 45 percent of retailers ramping up AI use in the next three years — it’s no wonder consumer behaviors have begun to change as well.
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