20190913_AI_Retail_IBT This chart shows AI use by retail organizations worldwide in 2018, by operating model. Photo: Statista / IBT

When it comes to artificial intelligence, machine learning is retailers go-to AI use across all business types, according to Capgemini. Artificial intelligence is an umbrella term, encompassing a wide variety of automated technologies. Machine learning refers to the process of building a system where a user can feed it new information and it can process that information based on previous data the machine has received, making decisions and taking actions without being explicitly programmed to do so.

The study also found that retailers are primarily using AI for consumer-facing projects. Seventy-four percent of AI use cases are for customer-facing projects, while only 16 percent are dedicated to operations. Other types of artificial intelligence, like natural language generation and image and video analytics, aren’t as fully developed or advanced for widespread commercial use as a result. For retailers across all business types, only around 5 percent are using those two operation models. By primarily using AI for consumers, some of the newer operations models are not part of retailers’ AI diets.

Overall, artificial intelligence is still undeveloped within the retail space. Out of the top 250 global retailers that are integrating AI into their organizations, only 1 percent of AI initiatives have reached full-scale deployment. Additionally, retail organizations are getting a better idea about the gaps in their AI development. In 2017, over eight in ten retailers felt confident that they had the data tools and systems to implement AI across their organization. Within a year that number dropped to 55 percent.