On Ad Age by Adrianne Pasquarelli

“We often tend to see AIs as bots to replace people,” says Eric Gervet, partner in the retail and digital transformation practices of A.T. Kearney, a global strategy and management consulting firm. “It’s also very much about fuelling people with insights so they can do their jobs better.”

AI is one of the top five tech priorities of retailers, according to analysis reported this year by Forrester Research, which found that some 28 percent of global data and analytics decision-makers are interested in or have implemented AI and believe it could increase operational efficiency. Yet brands are grappling with how best to incorporate such initiatives into the store format without alienating consumers with, say, a clunky robot that won’t compute a “no thanks” response

A few years ago, robots were shaking out to be the AI trend overtaking the retail floor. Brands like Lowe’s and Uniqlo rolled out (literally) cute little bots reminiscent of R2-D2. But such innovation has now taken a backseat to the technology implemented by brands such as Rebecca Minkoff that are catering to customers who crave a balance between personalized service and an easy and efficient shopping experience. Rather than replace staffers, this new tech uses AI to help store employees improve their work.

Enjoy the full article here.