Consumers starting to recognise the benefits of shopping with AI, but more education is needed

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British consumers are beginning to see the benefits of AI when shopping and interacting with brands online, but more education is needed by companies to highlight AI’s advantages – especially about how AI can reduce customer effort. This is according to new research by ContactEngine, a leading provider of proactive conversational AI technology.

A survey of 5,000 UK adults revealed that while 74 per cent of British consumers can recognise one of AI’s benefits – such as its fraud detection capability, its predictability when shopping, or how it can assist staff resources – only 44 per cent of consumers recognise multiple benefits of AI (i.e. at least 8) when shopping or interacting with brands online. However, the same survey found that increasing the understanding of how AI benefits consumers also increases their sense of comfort when interacting with AI. 

70 per cent of those who feel comfortable using AI, recognised at least one of eight benefits, including AI’s ability to create personalised interactions, deliver shopping on time, book delivery slots, and detect fraud. Other advantages included identifying and preventing problems with household services, as well as finding content to watch or read, suggesting products to buy, and lastly to free up staff resources.

As for the lesser-known benefits, these included booking a delivery slot for online shopping (40 per cent), ensuring that online shopping will be delivered on time in busy periods like Christmas (39 per cent), as well as making interactions with companies feel more personalised or relevant (40 per cent). It is these benefits that brands must be focusing on, sharing the positive success stories of how AI technology is being used to make the consumer experience effortless.

Prof. Mark K. Smith, CEO of ContactEngine, commented: “As millions shift to online shopping, consumer perceptions of the brands that they interact with online will inevitably be influenced by how easy people feel it is to shop with them – in other words, customer effort. Brands simply cannot ignore this and should be looking to do a lot more when it comes to educating consumers on the benefits of AI – especially when it comes to online shopping, with brick and mortar stores in transformation. If used in a transparent way, the integration of AI technology can make online shopping experiences more seamless and effortless for consumers, which in turn leads to increased loyalty.”

2020 has been a case of ‘needs must’ to shop online, with consumers unwilling, or unable, to get out to the shops because of local lockdowns or restrictions. In fact, 60 per cent of consumers stated that they intend to do all or most of their Christmas shopping online this year. This digital trend is likely to continue next year, if not become the future, which means making the need for an effortless consumer shopping experience is more important than ever for brands. 

ContactEngine and Delineate will be hosting a LinkedIn live session on 13 January at 4 pm GMT to discuss the research publicly. For more information about this and how ContactEngine’s technology can help, head to www.contactengine.com.  

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