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Blue Yonder Survey: Retailers Overestimate Their AI Knowledge, Miss Key Opportunities

New report exposes critical gaps in retail’s understanding and use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in supply chain and omni-channel execution

A new survey from Blue Yonder, a leader in supply chain solutions, shows that almost all retail executives feel confident in their command of artificial intelligence (AI). The findings from the “Are Retailers Prepared for the AI Era?” report, released today, also suggest that retailers are overconfident in AI use, and, ultimately, are missing crucial opportunities relating to optimizing inventories and estimating accurate shipping dates, to name a few.

“Today, there is a proliferation of AI solutions available to retailers, but understanding general technology concepts is not the same thing as knowing which AI enabled product or service is best suited for individual retailing needs,” said Srinivas Pujari, corporate vice president, Blue Yonder. “Retailers who are innovating with AI will leave their competitors behind, especially those who deploy the most efficient solutions that best meet their customer needs. Retail executives cannot afford to be overconfident in their AI strategy.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • 85% of executives say they are extremely or very knowledgeable about AI.
  • 85% say they have no hesitations about applying AI to their business operations.
  • 95% say they are already using AI technology in at least one application.
  • 96% have made further AI adoption a priority going forward.

Executives surveyed say they are very knowledgeable about AI, but lack understanding about the different types of AI, or ways to utilize existing tools. While many retail executives are using AI to enhance supply chain and logistics, the survey found that not many are using it to enhance omni-channel execution.

As an example, retailers surveyed are also not using AI to its full potential when it comes to inventory and fulfillment:

  • 26% use AI for markdown predictions and avoidance.
  • 18% use AI to optimize their inventory by keeping their dynamic safety stock up to date.
  • 16% apply AI to improve the accuracy of their estimated ship dates.
  • 7% use AI to improve order picking accuracy.

Additionally, the survey showed that retail executives cite inaccurate inventory counts as the number one cause of poor customer experience. However, fewer than half apply AI to fulfillment optimization (48%), labor scheduling and workforce optimization (45%), demand forecasting (42%), or inventory placement (42%).

“The costs of these missed opportunities will prove painful for many retail businesses,” said Pujari. “The top 10% of retailers already create 70% of the sector’s profit, and those large retailers stand at the leading edge of the AI revolution, so companies that don’t embrace AI will almost certainly fall behind. Blue Yonder can help retailers use AI and ML to make proactive business decisions using powerful insights from deep volumes of data.”

The biggest barriers to AI adoption in their organizations according to the retail executives surveyed include:

  • 45%: Security risks
  • 42%: Budget limitations
  • 41%: Lack of trust in output or recommendations
  • 39%: Talent limitations (skill, availability, etc.)
  • 37%: Lack of organizational strategy or clear use case
  • 26%: Lack of clean unified data/complex data environments
  • 25%: Lack of organizational knowledge

For more findings and insights download the full Blue Yonder report: “Are Retailers Prepared for the AI Era?”

Survey Methodology:

The survey, conducted in partnership with a third-party company, polled 150 retail executives in August 2023 through an online, invitation-only survey. Among respondents, 2% work in companies with annual revenue of $250 million to $500 million; 22%, $500 million to $1 billion; 67%, $1 billion to $10 billion; and 9%, more than $10 billion. Respondents were Director level and above, with 22% being C-suite level. And about half were grocery retailers (49%), with the rest being hardline retailers (36%) and softline retailers (15%).

About Blue Yonder

Blue Yonder is the world leader in digital supply chain transformations and omni-channel commerce fulfillment. Our end-to-end, cognitive business platform enables retailers, manufacturers and logistics providers to best fulfill customer demand from planning through delivery. With Blue Yonder, you'll unify your data, supply chain and retail commerce operations to unlock new business opportunities and drive automation, control and orchestration to enable more profitable, sustainable business decisions. Blue Yonder - Fulfill your Potential

“Blue Yonder” is a trademark or registered trademark of Blue Yonder Group, Inc. Any trade, product or service name referenced in this document using the name “Blue Yonder” is a trademark and/or property of Blue Yonder Group, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks, registered trademarks or service marks of the companies with which they are associated.


Blue Yonder Public Relations Contacts:

Marina Renneke, APR, Senior Corporate Communications Director

Tel: +1 480-308-3037,

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