Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly becoming an integral part of the shopping experience. Together with intelligent packaging solutions AI enables better customer understanding, more personalisation and smarter supply chains for retailers.

According to recent study by marketing performance agency OMD EMEA (November 2017), AI bots will power 85 % of customer service interactions by 2020. Global revenue from AI will skyrocket from 643.7 million dollars to 36.8 billion dollars by 2025.

AI is helping retailers to develop intelligent supply chains capable of processing and analysing vast amounts of real-time data and making decisions quicker than any human being. Shopping itself too becomes faster and easier: Amazon has piloted with Amazon Go grab-and-go store. Walk in, walk out – your purchases are automatically charged to your Amazon account and the receipt is sent to your smartphone.

Retailers use different forms of AI

Retail Wire, an online forum for the retailing industry, reports that 54 percent of mid-size retailers are using or plan to use artificial intelligence (AI) as an online tool in the next 12 months. The most popular applications are expected to be personalized product recommendations, customer service requests and chatbots.

The online survey of 234 e-commerce professionals primarily in the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand showed that 56 percent are either using or planning to use AI for personalized product recommendations. That was followed by customer service requests, 41 percent; chatbots, 35 percent; and visual search, 32 percent. VR/AR, voice-activated apps and virtual buying assistants scored lower.

How do you plan to use AI in the next 12 months?

Customers expect transparency and human touch from AI solutions

According to the OMD EMEA study, people are more willing to share their data for better service than they are willing to pay for it (43 % vs 29 %). However, over a third of consumers don’t perceive AI’s ‘improved service value’ to be worth either their money or personal data.

In AI interactions, the most strongly valued elements are the reassurance of personal control, usage of clarity and an opportunity to connect with a human. Consumers are most willing to embrace AI via device-based digital assistants and retail brand apps. Friendly human sounding assistants are preferred. Half of Europeans have used a digital assistant. The most used are Siri and Google Now.

3 ways AI makes retail smarter with intelligent packaging

  • Personalisation: more intelligent customer understanding by analysing vast amounts of customer data.
  • Keeping ahead of the customer needs and wants: what RFID tagged products are being viewed most at smart brick-and-mortar stores or what products at e-commerce.
  • Competitive pricing: optimizing pricing based on various factors like inventory, competitor´s stock or discounts. Smart packaging solutions enable real-time visibility in stock and inventory tracking.