Forrester study finds retailers struggling to adopt AI despite enthusiasm

A new study by Forrester Research reveals that retailers are enthusiastic about adopting artificial intelligence to improve operations and boost revenue, but many lack the data management practices and technical expertise needed to implement AI successfully.

The study, commissioned by enterprise software provider Epicor, found that 70% of retailers view an AI-powered retail management system as critical. However, widespread adoption of AI is still in the early stages. “Processes like receiving and sales and operation planning see the lowest usage with less than 20% of respondents leveraging advanced AI,” the study states.

Data issues a major barrier to AI implementation

A key barrier holding retailers back is poor data quality and management. “77% of respondents noted that their organization struggles to gain actionable insights from the data it collects, and 67% report they’re unable to collect any usable data to help gain better business insights,” according to the study. Overcoming data silos was cited as a top implementation challenge.

Image Credit: Forrester

Many retailers also lack the technical skills to keep pace with rapid advances in AI. “70% said their organization needs more education around AI retail solutions; and 65% stated they struggle to keep up with new AI technologies,” the study found.

“The first step for retailers in realizing the value of AI is gaining a better understanding of the available landscape and beginning to tackle any underlying data quality and collection issues,” said Marco de Vries, Vice President of Product Marketing at Epicor, in a statement.

The study highlights the need for retailers to invest in proper data infrastructure, governance and internal education to capitalize on AI’s potential.

With the right foundation in place, AI-powered retail management systems can provide retailers with data-driven insights to boost efficiency, forecast demand, and deliver a superior customer experience. To learn more about the study, download it here.

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