AI in Retail: Key Considerations Before Starting the Journey

Brian Gallagher

In today’s world where customers expect personalized products and services, artificial intelligence (AI) solutions are helping retailers meet their customers’ expectations. The impact of AI in retail can be compared to the evolution of mobile device solutions in retail 15 years ago. As a retailer, the AI journey cannot be ignored just as mobile engagement could not be ignored. AI can impact the entire retail enterprise. The decision that needs to be made is: What will provide the most value to your brand?  

Retailers need to consider AI from two vantage points to create an effective implementation roadmap: designed business impact and your organizational readiness.

What Business Impact Should I Focus On?

Consider your current pain points and future customer experience requirements. Do your own research and find experienced partners to help ensure your organization is able to consider the full impact AI can have on your current and future state of the business. Retailers can leverage AI for a host of opportunities:

  • Personalized Customer Experiences: Technologies such as facial recognition can identify customers revisiting a store and remember their likes and dislikes. Cameravision solutions can identify customers by family unit, likely age group, or even specific items like what type of phone they are carrying. The ability to then customize marketing, employee engagement, and offers can drive enormous increases in revenue and customer satisfaction.
  • Chatbot Support for Customers and Employees: Chatbots are becoming smarter every day. AI allows these solutions to consume enormous amounts of data to deliver amazing experiences. Chatbots can lead training, product information, suggestive selling, and more.
  • Employee Productivity Optimization: Employees in retail have an incredibly complex role from customer engagement to stocking to staffing and other operational functions. An AI solution can streamline workloads and optimize scheduling to improve productivity and job satisfaction.
  • Price Adjustment Flexibility: The ability to react to even the smallest changes in global, national, regional, and local spending trends can maximize the pricing and sell through of your products. Maximization of sales provides customers the best price while maximizing your inventory turn.
  • Improved Supply Chain Management: Maximize your inventory performance by allowing AI solutions to consume millions more data points than even the brightest planning minds could ever consider. By considering historical data and current trends, you can improve both inventory turns and customer experience.

How Ready Is Your Organization?

Business transformations all follow a similar journey. While the AI journey is no different on the surface, the processes require each organization to honestly explore the following:

Foundational Readiness: AI solutions require unique combinations of data management, device connectivity, edge computing devices, and software working in unison to create desired outcomes. AI cannot deliver maximum results without the systems and data to feed the AI engine.

Operational Readiness: AI solutions require unique skillsets from planners, marketers, and DevOps teams. Organizations needs to prepare by combining the best of traditional workforces and AI-specific workforces to reap the maximum benefits of the AI solution. AI is not simply a new tool for the existing workforce. It requires a workforce able to understand and interpret the outputs aligned with a new thinking and vision. Never walk away from traditional success matrices, but rather maximize them with new team models.

Transformational Readiness: AI solutions require the entire enterprise to be open and aligned to results of the solutions. AI transformations are not a program that can be driven from traditional top-down management. AI solutions require incredible amounts of organizational communication and transparency to succeed. AI outputs often call for immense changes in procedures, inventory engagement, and customer experiences. Transformation readiness is the key to maximizing any AI benefits. 

Remember, AI is a must for your business. It is just as critical as mobility solutions, omnichannel operations, and brand development. To better understand your organization’s AI readiness, visit our Power of Two partners to take a brief assessment and receive a complimentary customized report. You can also visit

Brian is the Retail Strategy & Business Development Director at Connection. Brian joined Connection in 2016 as the Retail subject matter expert (SME) after leading National Store Operations teams for more than 20 years. Brian has a deep understanding of today’s Store Experience and Customer Engagement solutions requirements and works collaboratively with customers and partners to create complete business solutions to drive customer engagement and revenues. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling with his wife and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.