Last year, artificial intelligence (AI) played a key role in MarTech and in enhancing the overall human experience through the analysis of big data.

But according to an article we came across in My Total Retail, marketing professionals will be contemplating what’s to come this year – and beyond – to identify the technologies that will have the biggest impact on the retail sector.

As this is a time of rapid innovation for retail, here are the three key AI themes guaranteed to make an impact this year.

AR transforms in-store experiences

Augmented reality (AR) is undoubtedly one of the most exciting technologies to enter the retail space. As AR is digital content viewed on top of ‘real world’ items and backgrounds, even a simple box on a shelf can ‘augment’ consumers’ experiences – provided brands make that content engaging.

This year more and more retailers, together with the agencies that support them, will look to add AR to their offering in a bid to impress in-store customers.

AI inspires marketing and personalisation

Today’s consumers zone out of ads that lack personalisation, particularly on platforms such as social media. Innovative retail brands are already creating their own proprietary data sets – or data lakes – to explore, perfect and evaluate the petabytes of data sent from multiple sources (for instance web, social, RFP, etc.).

When these data sets reach sufficient volume levels, they can be used internally to ‘train’ AI functions that cannot be copied by other brands. The result? Even more personalised experiences in stores as well as in ads. This year, more retail wins will be created by AI-generated personalised ad experiences because these technologies cross-pollinate with key advertising channels and mobile apps.

Adopting XR to make virtual – not real – mistakes

To cut the cost of employee development and training initiatives, retailers will begin to explore using extended reality (XR) technologies to mimic workplace scenarios more effectively, while ensuring quicker productivity results.

XR-compatible solutions embedded in products and web-based applications will become extremely valuable, enabling brands to learn in the flow of work and carry out training initiatives during off-peak hours. Similarly, virtual reality (VR) will be used in concepts such as helping staff visualise in-store layouts and holiday traffic flow.

It’s an exciting time for retail, with the sector evolving quicker than ever. The brands that will enjoy the most success this year and beyond will be the ones that embrace these technology-driven changes.

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