Retail convention features AI technology at center stage

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Many retailers continue to struggle to keep up with the disruptions that digital natives have brought to the industry. Companies such as Amazon introduced recommendation engines and rating systems. And in the last decade, the iPhone and Android mobile devices have put even more power into consumers’ pockets. Shoppers can be in one physical retail location and search for a better deal elsewhere using their smart phones.

The world is shifting underneath retailers’ feet. And more is yet to come. At the National Retail Federation event in New York (January 15 through 17) technology vendors showcased some of the most cutting edge technologies for retailers, including chatbots, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and more. Are retailers ready?

It depends. There’s really a range of experiences across companies. Analytics can offer retailers value across many aspects of their businesses, from supply chain optimization to workforce management to understanding consumer behavior.

Yet many retailers are still struggling to get their siloed data integrated. It’s one thing to offer a retail app to your customers if you’ve been a brick-and-mortar retailer. It is a more daunting challenge to integrate customer data from mobile apps, the web, physical stores, catalogs, social media, and any other channels to create a comprehensive picture of consumer behavior that can inform your own business decisions.

What’s more, digital native retailers have changed the competitive playing field, leaving older brands struggling to keep up with the challenges of just getting up to speed with advanced analytics, according to Brian Kilcourse, managing partner at RSR Research, a technology consultancy for retailers and the former CIO of retailer Longs Drugs.

“Most retailers continue to implement the last wave,” Kilcourse told InformationWeek in an interview.

Read the source article at informationweek.com.