• March 1, 2024

Chatbots Seen As Online Shopping Experience Disruptors

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U.S. shoppers consider artificial intelligence-powered chatbots to be most disruptive, causing friction in their online shopping experiences, according to the latest research from Intellias, a software engineering and consulting company.

Consumers see AI chatbots as the most likely cause of friction when buying online, with 19 percent agreeing that chatbots are where AI most disrupts their shopping experiences.

While 44 percent said AI helped create more personalized shopping experiences, 20 percent said that interactions with AI chatbots were where they were most likely to abandon their online purchases. This follows separate research by Talkdesk that found that 68 percent of U.S. shoppers would lose trust in a company if its AI chatbots gave them poor recommendations, and 53 percent said poor AI chatbot experiences would stop them from shopping with the retailer again.

However, almost half (46 percent) of the shoppers polled by Intellias said they didn't mind retailers using AI in their buying journeys as long as it's not clunky. In comparison, two-thirds (66 percent) aren't averse to retailers using AI to automate repetitive or monotonous tasks, but they don't want it to replace human interactions either.

Going further, 71 percent agreed that a blended experience of both automation delivered through AI and human interaction would always be needed in retail, regardless of how good the AI technology becomes in the future.

"There's little doubt that AI, and in particular [generative AI], has had its watershed moment, as the intersection between rapid consumer and business adoption really came to the fore last year. While there's no denying the hype curve, AI mustn't become a go-to catch-all for plugging gaps in shopping experiences," warned Alexander Goncharuk, vice president of global retail at Intellias.

"Each application of the technology needs to be considered in the context of the entire value chain and only deployed where it can deliver value in a friction-free manner. And that requires both orchestrating the tech stack in the right way to extract value, as well as looking at the application of AI in the shopper journey as a whole. Only then will it deliver both the business benefits to the retailer while enhancing experiences for consumers," he concluded.

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