Retailers Struggling on How to Effectively Adopt Generative AI, Says New Study


A recent report jointly conducted by Salesforce and the Retail AI Council sheds light on the evolving landscape of generative AI adoption among global retailers.

The study, based on a survey of 1,300 retailers, highlights both the excitement and challenges faced by retailers as they embrace this transformative technology.

The findings underscore a growing trend among retailers towards leveraging generative AI for personalization and enhancing customer service.

Notably, 93 percent of surveyed retailers are already utilizing generative AI for personalization purposes, with a strong emphasis on prioritizing customer service as a key area for implementation.

Despite the enthusiasm for AI innovation, the study reveals a significant gap in retailers’ data strategies.

Only 17percent of respondents reported having a complete, unified view of customer data, indicating a widespread challenge in harnessing data effectively to drive AI initiatives.

This lack of data integration can lead to ineffective or inaccurate AI outputs, impacting the overall customer experience.

Linda Saunders, Director of Solutions Engineering Africa at Salesforce, emphasizes the importance of a unified data strategy in unlocking the full potential of generative AI.

“The AI revolution is about data, trust, and customer experience. This research aims to help retailers understand the need for a unified data strategy and practical applications of generative AI to enhance customer relationships,” said Saunders.

The study also highlights the growing emphasis on trust and ethics in AI adoption. Half of the surveyed retailers expressed concerns about bias in AI outputs, highlighting the need for ethical guidelines and transparency in AI implementation.

Looking ahead, retailers are optimistic about the transformative impact of generative AI on the retail sector, with an estimated $9.2 trillion impact by 2029.

However, addressing data challenges and ensuring ethical AI practices will be critical for retailers to fully harness the potential of this technology and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

“AI is now the imperative for anticipating needs, tailoring experiences, and transforming shopping into a personalized adventure,” added Jenna Posner, Chief Digital Officer of Solo Brands and Vice Chair of Retail AI Council

As retailers navigate the complexities of AI adoption, the study serves as a roadmap for leveraging generative AI effectively while addressing key challenges to drive innovation and customer-centric strategies in the retail industry.

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