Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be critical to delivering on customer experience expectations in the future. 

That’s the prediction from former House of Fraser chief customer officer Andy Harding and Schuh director of ecommerce and customer experience Sean McKee.

And it comes with a warning too – retailers that fail to invest in the systems, people and processes to make data work smarter will find themselves rapidly falling by the wayside.

But with a myriad of potential retail game-changers being pioneered, in what areas should retailers be hedging their bets?

Harding, now chief executive of photo and video agency Alamy, says retailers are struggling to get to grips with implementing and leveraging AI capabilities.

“That is a clear and present danger for some retailers because the businesses that are able to embrace that technology and really use that to help with their insight and learning and how they tailor their products and services towards customers, will accelerate their performance much quicker as a result,” he says.

“Those businesses that are really stuck to legacy systems and processes and are playing catch-up on today’s technologies will find themselves falling further and further behind.”

McKee, however, says AI must always be secondary to, and combined with, the human touch where possible.

In the fourth and final episode of Retail Week’s four-part podcast, The future of customer experience: what every retailer needs to know, produced in association with Oracle, Harding and McKee are joined by former Jigsaw chief executive Peter Ruis and Oracle retail solutions director, EMEA, James Geller, to discuss where retailers should be focusing investment.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Why current economic conditions mean retailers must invest wisely
  • How Schuh has seen a healthy return on click-and-collect
  • Ways in which data and artificial intelligence will become increasingly key
  • Why systems investment will be required to make it work

Register to listen to this episode for free, today.