The Limits of AI and VR in Retail CX

A global study of 1,200 consumers and 400 retail executives across the U.S., U.K., and Australia finds a disconnect between shopper demands and what retailers deliver in areas spanning the overall retail environment, social media, personalization and the use of advanced technologies such as chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality (VR).  The new study was released by Oracle NetSuite.

Despite significant investments in enhancing the customer experience online and in-store, retailers are not able to keep up with rapidly changing customer expectations and this is creating a huge disconnect.

Despite almost half of consumers (42%) – and almost two-thirds of millennials (63%) noting that they would pay more for improved personalization, only 11% of retail executives fully believe that their staff has the tools and information needed to give consumers a personalized experience. The gap between consumer demand for improved personalization and retailers’ ability to deliver is damaging the customer experience.

While retailers are aware that they don’t have the tools and information needed to meet rapidly changing customer expectations, the study found that hyped technologies such as AI and VR are not yet the answer.  According to the research, 79% of retailer executives believe having AI and VR in stores will increase sales; only 14% of consumers believe the technologies will have a significant impact on their purchase decisions. In addition, almost all (98%) retail executives believe AI and VR will increase foot traffic; 48% of consumers do not think VR or AI would have any impact on how likely they are to go into a store.

“Consumer expectations are not only rapidly changing, but exactly what expectations look like vary from person to person and moment to moment. This makes it incredibly hard for retailers to keep up,” said Matthew Rhodus, director of retail, Oracle NetSuite. “The results of this survey show that while the retail industry is often considered to be at the forefront of consumer experience innovation, there’s still a long way to go to meet shopper expectations. What this means is the opportunity for retailers to improve the relationship with consumers is tremendous.”

To read more about NetSuite’s insights into the report’s findings visit the Netsuite blog.