As the direct-to-consumer surge slowed down and tech deals and financing decreased in 2019, CB Insights says funding to store technologies is continuing to grow as e-commerce platforms mature. In the company’s first state of retail tech report results showed that financing decreased to retail tech companies by 31 percent in 2019.

The report also pointed to retail tech shifting toward later stages in the last year. “Funding is gradually moving beyond early-stage deals and toward growth, driven by maturing e-commerce platforms,” CB Insights said in its report. And among the “unicorns” launched in 2019, 31 were retail tech companies, though only one has a true brick-and-mortar location.

Funding for artificial intelligence companies working in retail tech also saw an acceleration in 2019. According to this report, AI retail tech deals experienced an increased annual rate of 13 percent and an increase of 65 percent in funding. “AI is driving personalization for consumers in stores as well as online,” noted CB Insights in the report. “Meanwhile, retailers are turning to machine learning and computer vision to help boost efficiency.”

Stores are becoming smarter than ever.

Looking ahead, the company says retailers should expect to see AI enabling more personalized product recommendations and that some brands will even develop on-demand manufacturing. These experiences, the company notes, will lead consumers to continue to expect increased relevancy in experiences.

The company also predicts “retailers will deploy augmented and virtual reality across platforms to enable try-on, product interaction and customer service.” AI and computer vision will also “fuel better shopper and inventory tracking, as well as [enable] more cashier-less checkouts.”

As previously reported by WWD, artificial intelligence has been predicted to reach $12 billion by the year 2023 in global spending by retailers, including beauty.

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