2020 in Retail: AI Hits the Mainstream for Big Wins
As we begin a new year, it’s important to reflect on how far we’ve come in the past year — and the past decade, for that matter — to determine where we’re going in the next year (or 10). It’s without question that artificial intelligence (AI) has played an integral role in the MarTech industry and improving the overall human experience through big data analysis in 2019. With the dawn of a new decade is upon us, marketing experts are beginning to infer what’s to come in 2020 — and beyond — to determine what technologies will be impactful to the retail industry moving forward. Since this is a time of rapid innovation in the retail industry, here are three key themes we're sure to see make an impact in 2020.
Creating Amazing In-Store Experiences With AR
One of the most exciting new technologies entering the retail setting is augmented reality (AR). Since AR is digital content viewed on top of a real-world target, even a simple box on a retail shelf can “augment” a shopper's experience if a retailer adds engaging content on top of it. In 2020, AR is going to become mainstream with more and more retailers (and the agencies that support them) adding it to their regular tool set to entertain and engage consumers.
AI Influences Marketing and Personalization
Modern consumers are quite adept at tuning out ads that lack personalization, especially in channels like social media. Cutting-edge retailers are quietly building their own proprietary data sets, or data lakes, to explore, refine and analyze the petabytes of data coming in from multiple sources (e.g., web, social, RFP, etc.). As these data sets reach sufficient volume they'll be used to internally “train” AI functions that can’t be duplicated by other retail organizations. The result will be even greater personalized experiences in-store as well as in ads. In 2020, there will be an increase in retail wins produced by AI-generated personalized ad experiences as these technologies cross-pollinate with major advertising platforms, mobile apps and traditional studies.
Adopting XR to Make Virtual Mistakes, Not Real-World Ones
To reduce the cost of employee development and training programs, the retail industry will look to leverage extended reality (XR) technologies in 2020 to simulate workplace scenarios more efficiently while ensuring faster productivity results. XR-compatible solutions embedded in products and web-based applications will become a valuable tool, allowing retail employees to learn in the flow of work and complete training programs during off-peak hours. Likewise, virtual reality will make the jump to retail in concepts ranging from helping employees visualize in-store layouts to holiday traffic flow.
As 2020 gets started, it will be exciting see what the future of the retail industry holds and how close (or far off) these predictions are. Whatever the case, retail is continuing to evolve, especially for brands that take advantage of trends that are dominating across all industries.
Rusty Bishop is senior vice president of marketing at Bigtincan, a leading provider of sales enablement automation software that's used by hundreds of global organizations.
Related story: 4 Ways AI Will Impact Retailers in 2020