An IBM Institute for Business Value 2024 Consumer Study indicates artificial intelligence can play a valuable role in improving shopper satisfaction across retailing.
IBM reported its survey of 20,000 consumers across 26 countries indicated only 9% of consumers are satisfied with the in-store shopping experience, and only 14% are satisfied with what they encounter online. Consumers must often spend hours searching for goods that satisfy them, scouring product recommendations and reviews, comparing prices and assessing sustainability contributions. To take time and effort out of the process, three in five consumers would like to use AI applications in their shopping, IBM observed. When it comes to specific functions, 55% of survey respondents said they would use bots or virtual assistants and 55% said they would employ augmented or virtual reality as they shop. Just about four in five consumers who haven’t yet used artificial intelligence for shopping would like to see how it could help them when shopping with 86% seeking support in researching products or getting product information, 79% looking for help finding deals and promotions and 82% seeking aid in getting service/asking questions/resolving issues.
According to IBM, consumers want shopping convenience and recognition of their preferences so they can get the most accomplished with the least effort. For example, the company noted, almost two-thirds of Gen Zers and Millennials want to shop for products from multiple brands on a marketplace with a single checkout. As for available functions, only about one-third of consumers who have used chatbots and virtual assistants were satisfied with the experience, and about 20% were so disappointed that they have written them off.
Sustainability remains an issue and trust is critical when it comes to environmental claims. Overall, 78% of consumers said sustainability is important to them when choosing a brand, and 61% said they’re willing to alter their habits to help reduce negative environmental impacts. Then, 73% of consumers who care about environmental issues said they are willing to pay more for sustainable products, up from 50% in 2022, IBM noted. Still, just 41% of consumers said they have sufficient information to shop sustainably, and many want to see how companies measure up in the areas they most care about. IBM suggested that generative AI solutions can address such issues by putting real-time data within the reach of consumers. Artificial intelligence can create end-to-end visibility across an enterprise and its entire supply chain ecosystem to offer nearly instant insights consumers want, IBM stated.
As for physical retail, 73% of survey respondents said they rely on physical stores to purchase goods, and two-thirds of consumers learn about new products online, according to the IBM survey. Retailers can anticipate what people will want in store, curating featured products while making personalized recommendations online using AI to help them identify what items will get the most response, IBM stated.