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Consumers turn to AI-driven shopping — IBM study

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More consumers are expressing interest in artificial intelligence (AI)-driven retail, saying they are unsatisfied with the current retail methods, according to a study.

IBM Institute for Business Value’s 2024 consumer study, “Revolutionize retail with AI everywhere: Customers won’t wait,” revealed only 9% of the 20,000 consumers polled said they were happy with their in-store shopping experience, while 14% of online shoppers said the same.

The study was conducted in 26 countries.

Luq Niazi, Global Managing Director at IBM, said the multitude of choices given to today’s consumers presents them with more options than ever before.

“We are seeing that today’s consumers, faced with more choices and channels than ever, are increasingly making their purchasing decisions based on the cost and the quality of experiences that retailers provide,” he said in a statement.

Instead of being discouraged by the results of the study, Mr. Naziq said retailers should view it as an opportunity.

“Leveraging advances in AI technologies, retailers can forge ahead into a new era of commerce and fulfilment, leading with innovation to create shopping experiences that are as intuitive, unified, personalized and efficient,” he added.

Additionally, consumers are aware that brands and retailers are capable of delivering the services their clients need, but that they need to step up and do so.

Around 80% of consumers who have yet to encounter AI in their shopping activities say they want to use the technology for researching products and look for deals, among other concerns.

“More than half say they would like to use virtual assistants (55%), augmented or virtual reality (55%), and AI applications (59%) as they shop,” the study said.

Adapting these changes would benefit consumers, as 23% use technology and are open to try new digital shopping experiences.

Among the other takeaways from the study include that over half (52%) of respondents want to receive information and offers from stores that pique their interest, but 40% are concerned and want more control over the data they share with companies.

Customers want digital integration, said the study.

“Consumers surveyed showed a strong interest in using AI technology to enhance various aspects of their shopping. Most consumers (59%) said they would like to use AI applications as they shop and 4 in 5 consumers who haven’t used the technology for shopping reported an interest in trying it,” said the IBM study, but those polled said they want the experience to be personalized for a more satisfying result.

The study also showed that consumers want more flexible payment options, owing to economic challenges.

“Consumers surveyed are seeking flexible payment options, with 55% desiring more varied payment options and 46% reporting they would like to pay for their purchase in installments,” it said. — P. D. Garcia

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