How will AI change retail?

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There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love shopping and those who would rather watch paint dry than step foot into a mall. 

The process usually goes something like the table below.

New and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cognitive computing – underpinned by big data and advanced data analytics – could completely transform the shopping experience as we know it. While still in its infancy in South Africa, a handful of retailers are testing some pretty cool technologies in an attempt to improve the shopping experience and better serve their customers.

Research by World Wide Worx found that online shopping in South Africa is expected to reach just 1% of overall retail spend in 2016, constrained by challenges such as high data costs, a lack of trust in e-commerce and a large unbanked population who do not have the means to transact online.

The adage that online is killing the brick-and-mortar store might be true for more developed markets but, for now, South Africans still flock to the more than 2000 shopping malls across the country, limiting their online activities to window shopping and price comparison.

If this trend continues, then…


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Read this article by David Cosgrave as well as a host of other topical management articles written by professionals, consultants and academics in the June/July 2017 edition of BusinessBrief.


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