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The Pros and Cons of AI Adoption in Retail

January 31, 2024

The retail industry is increasingly looking at how adopting artificial intelligence (AI) can enhance their top business priorities, business operations, and the customer experience. However, retailers should be cautious of the difficulties and pitfalls that may arise from an AI implementation. These difficulties may include resistance from the workforce, skill shortages, and data quality issues. A study commissioned by Epicor and conducted by Forrester Consulting reveals the challenges and drivers for AI implementation in retail.

Key Challenges for Retailers Implementing AI

Data quality and management are the biggest barriers for retailers looking to implement AI. Collecting quality data is the first, and arguably most, crucial step in AI implementation, but it’s also one of the most challenging to overcome. Many retailers today find that they have a lot of data but don’t use it to its full potential—or they have a hard time collecting data in the first place. Specifically, 77% of respondents noted that their organization struggles to gain actionable insights from the data it collects, and 67% found they’re unable to collect any usable data to help gain better business insights. Additionally, respondents said data quality issues and overcoming data silos were their top challenges for AI implementation.

Education is another key challenge for retailers looking to implement AI. While the biggest technical challenge of AI implementation is data quality, many respondents also feel that education about AI is a significant obstacle. Specifically, 70% said their organization needs more education around AI retail solutions, and 65% found they struggle to keep up with new AI technologies. Nearly 60% of respondents noted that investing in these new technologies is simply too complicated due to issues with training for new AI technology offerings, managing opposition from the workforce, and overcoming organizational resistance to change.

Top Drivers for Investing in AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming a tool for bringing about change within organizations and propelling businesses forward. The retail industry can benefit by driving substantial improvements and helping businesses achieve their top priorities. The study delved into these complexities and revealed the following top drivers for investing in AI.

Improve Customer Experience (CX)

At the forefront of the AI adoption drive, 41% of decision-makers view the improvement of customer experience as a key driver. AI has the potential to personalize customer interactions, streamline customer service, and offer predictive shopping experiences.

Increase Revenue

Following closely, 40% of decision-makers see the potential for AI to increase revenue as a significant driver. AI can provide retailers with valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, enabling them to make data-driven decisions that can increase sales and revenue.

Improve Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness

AI can dramatically improve operational efficiency and effectiveness, a driver identified by 33% of decision-makers. By automating routine tasks, AI can free up resources to focus on complex planning and strategic innovation.

Improve Employee Productivity

32% of decision-makers identified the improvement of employee productivity as a driver for AI adoption. Through automation and intelligent task management, AI can help employees work more efficiently and productively.

Improve the Accuracy of Demand Forecasting

30% of decision-makers see improving the accuracy of demand forecasting as a key driver for AI investment. By analyzing historical sales data and market trends, AI can predict future demand with greater accuracy.

Reduce Operating Costs

Finally, 30% of decision-makers identified the reduction of operating costs as a driver for AI investment. By automating tasks and improving efficiency, AI can help reduce costs in various areas of operations.

The Epicor Approach to AI

Every technology solution for retail should be enabled with end-to-end, retail-focused applications that are designed to solve industry-specific problems. The technology should always be about empowering people in a way that drives ROI.

Epicor uses technology to solve customer challenges pragmatically, responsibly—with a focus on creating value so that our customers have the best tools to compete effectively and profitably.

We believe innovation happens everywhere, and we will work tirelessly to empower our retail customers with the best technology for their business.

You can rely on Epicor as your trusted technology partner to responsibly innovate with AI, delivering greater efficiency now and compelling value in the future.


The Value of Partnership

Choosing the right partner for any technological investment is the key to a smooth implementation. With more than 50 years of experience providing technology solutions in the retail market, Epicor empowers businesses with POS and retail management solutions, including cloud-based platforms. Our retail management tools integrate data from various sources, including POS, CRM, and e-commerce—generating insights and recommendations that can help you drive results:

Retail business insights

Dashboards help provide retailers with a holistic view of their business performance, including sales, inventory, margins, and customer satisfaction.

Retail personalization

Selected features show retailers how to deliver personalized and relevant experiences to their customers, such as product recommendations, offers, and content based on preferences, needs, and context.

Retail business optimization

Tools that enable retailers to optimize their pricing, promotions, and merchandising can also help determine demand and enhance sales performance.

Staffing insights

With the right data, retailers can plan their staffing needs based on peak times, customer traffic, and sales volume.

With Epicor retail management solutions, retailers can transform their business while achieving their top business goals. Learn more about how Epicor can help you lean into the future of retail by contacting us at or visiting

Base: 205 business and IT decision-makers with knowledge of/responsibility for technology decisions at their company Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Epicor, October 2023