Artificial intelligence will continue to reinvent retail in 2019. In fact, AI is expected to be the most impactful technological advancement for businesses in the next five years. (Credit: Getty Royalty Free)
One of the most pervasive commerce trends is the reinvention of the shopper journey. Purchases in the past were more transactional in nature. Now, shopping is a journey, with more emphasis placed on relationship building, not just buying. The ideal journey weaves a brand into the entire experience, providing value before, during and after the purchase, converting a transaction into a relationship.
Technology is woven into almost every step, with the smartphone keeping today’s shopper forever tethered to companies. Commerce is in the middle of a head-to-toe makeover thanks to the plethora of available technologies. The following three tech-driven trends will have the most impact on commerce in the year ahead.
Repositioning artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI), which refers to technologies capable of performing tasks normally requiring human intelligence, goes back centuries. Now, three powerful drivers – exponential data growth, more sophisticated distributed networks and smarter algorithms – have propelled artificial intelligence front and center for end-user applications, making it one of the most popular technologies today.
Artificial intelligence is expected to be the most impactful technological advancement for businesses in the next five years. Nearly 59% of 602 industry professionals surveyed by Euromonitor International in September 2018 ranked AI ahead of other buzzworthy technologies. AI moved ahead of the Internet of Things, which respondents in a February survey ranked as being the most impactful technology in the next five years.
At this year’s Money20/20 USA, industry leaders, though, appeared to be repositioning the role of artificial intelligence. Instead of replacing workers, for example, this technology was positioned as instead providing an additional layer of knowledge. In a real-life example, online personalized styling service Stitch Fix leverages artificial intelligence to create outfit recommendations, but a personal stylist signs off on the final selections sent to its consumers. In this sense, AI is augmented with human intelligence.