Survey finds 70% of AI projects in digital commerce successful

Use of artificial intelligence (AI) in digital commerce is generally considered a success, according to a survey by analyst firm Gartner.

About 70 percent of digital commerce organizations surveyed reported that their AI projects are very or extremely successful.

Gartner conducted a survey of 307 digital commerce organizations that are currently using or piloting AI to understand the adoption, value, success and challenges of AI in digital commerce.

Three-quarters of respondents said they are seeing double-digit improvements in the outcomes they measure. The most common metrics used to measure the business impact of AI are customer satisfaction, revenue and cost reduction. For customer satisfaction, revenue and cost reduction specifically, respondents cited improvements of 19, 15 and 15 percent, respectively.

Gartner predicts that by 2020, AI will be used by at least 60 percent of digital commerce organizations and that 30 percent of digital commerce revenue growth will be attributable to AI technologies.

“Digital commerce is fertile ground for AI technologies, thanks to an abundance of multidimensional data in both customer-facing and back-office operations,” said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner.

Despite early success, digital commerce organizations face significant challenges implementing AI. The survey showed that a lack of quality training data (29 percent) and in-house skills (27 percent) are the top challenges in deploying AI in digital commerce.

AI skills are scarce and many organizations don’t have such skills in-house and will have to hire from outside or seek help from external partners.

On average, 43 percent of respondents chose to custom-build the solutions developed in-house or by a service provider. In comparison, 63 percent of the more successful organizations are leveraging a commercial AI solution.

“Solutions of proven performance can give you higher assurance as those have been tested in multiple deployments, and there is a dedicated team maintaining and improving the model,” said Shen.

“Organizations looking to implement AI in digital commerce need to start simple,” said Shen. “Many have high expectations for AI and set multiple business objectives for a single project, making it too complex to deliver high performance. Many also run AI projects for more than 12 months, meaning they are unable to quickly apply lessons learned from one project to another.”

On average, respondents spent $1.3 million in development for an AI project in digital commerce. However, of the more successful organizations, 52 percent spent less than $1 million on development, 20 percent spent between $1 to 2 million, and 9 percent spent more than $5 million.

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