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Retailers Embrace AI and Machine Learning to Reinvent Shopping Experience, Reveals Honeywell Survey

Honeywell (Nasdaq: HON) unveiled a new survey, illustrating a powerful shift in the retail landscape. A significant 58% of retailers are gearing up to integrate artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and computer vision (CV) in the coming year to revolutionize both in-store and online shopping experiences.

Honeywell’s comprehensive study involved over 1,000 retail directors spanning the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, specializing in areas such as IT, operations, and customer experience. The key takeaways were:

  • 38% are currently utilizing AI, ML, and CV for specific applications or regions.
  • 35% have implemented them on an expansive scale.
  • A budding 24% are testing waters with pilot projects or are in the discussion phase.
  • A minimal 3% have not integrated these technologies.

A noteworthy 48% of the participants earmarked AI, ML, and CV as the game-changers for the retail sector in the impending three to five years.

George Koutsaftes, president and CEO of Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions, remarked, “In the fast-evolving retail space, the focus is now on elevating customer experiences and innovating to stand out. Emerging technologies like AI, ML, and CV promise a future where personalization, seamless operations, advanced inventory handling, and fraud prevention converge to boost customer satisfaction, sales, and profitability.”

Driving Factors for AI Adoption

Online shopping convenience combined with personalized in-store experiences has reshaped consumer anticipations. Retailers are more inclined than ever to embrace technologies that align with their objectives. The primary motives cited were:

  • Uplifting customer experience (59%)
  • Enhancing productivity (49%)
  • Attaining cost efficiencies and ROI (44%)

AI and its counterparts are projected to revolutionize daily retail tasks, support digital channels’ customer service, craft tailored marketing campaigns, and refine inventory management.

AI: A Tool to Augment, Not Replace

The narrative around AI replacing the human workforce is debunked by the survey, showing most retailers perceive these technologies as enhancers rather than substitutes. A mere 7% considered workforce reduction as their main goal for deploying AI, ML, and CV. Predictive analytics offered by these technologies can potentially elevate job satisfaction, allowing employees to concentrate on more value-driven tasks.

However, challenges lie ahead for this tech revolution:

  • Budget constraints (39%)
  • Proving business value (29%)
  • In-house expertise shortage for tech upkeep (21%)

Koutsaftes concluded, “The retail ecosystem’s dynamics are shifting rapidly. With AI’s continual progression, we’re on the brink of a transformative era marked by enhanced efficiency and unparalleled customer and employee satisfaction.”

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