AI Chatbot – Can Future Shopping PA’s Trigger A Shift In Consumer Behaviour?
“Can you tell me how is the weather tomorrow?”
“How many meetings do I have for today?”
“What is the closest sneaker store to my location?”
These are just some of the most common requests made by users to artificial intelligence chatbots. Designed by Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon, the AI chatbot has become a part of any common smartphone or smart device.
From an evolutionary perspective, if right now the AI chatbot has the role of helping users with simple tasks or, to the kindest extent complement a human personal assistant, let’s not forget that the above-mentioned AI development companies are first and foremost online marketplaces. That is why, Alexa, Siri, and Google Duplex AI chatbots are now ‘shifting jobs’, from ad-hoc DJ’s and meteorologists to smart sales associates that know you, your needs and wants, inside-out.
AI Chatbot – Conversational Commerce
While shopping via voice commands is already possible, it is still used to a modest extent. However, experts predict a considerable growth in the AI chatbot sector in the next three years. Following an OC&C Strategy Consultants survey on 1,500 US users of voice shopping technology, it appears that the American market is adopting AI chatbots fast, predicted to increase from its current value of $2 billion to $40 billion, in the next five years.
As of now, 66 per cent of adult US citizens use the AI chatbots on their smart devices. From that percentage, 21 per cent use the AI chatbot as personal shopping assistants in various e-commerce activities, to accelerate their online banking activities, and even paying bills online, as found in a 2018 January study run by Mastercard and the global retailer Mercator on 3,000 US citizens, regarding the use of ‘conversational commerce’.
AI Chatbot – Amazon Chatbots
But there is more to come for the AI chatbot now that the e-commerce is well established and continues to grow at an accelerated rate. For example, according to the German Industry Association HDE, Amazon accounts for 40 per cent of all orders placed online in Germany alone. Couple that trend with Amazon’s latest investments in AI chatbot technology, and its intention to reach human-like shopping personal assistants and you’ll see where we are heading.
For the AI chatbot to reach the level of human PA assistant level of understanding and power of interaction, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon have developed over 15,000 AI chatbot ‘skills’ that can be accessed by users via smart voice commands. Only through such complex shopping ‘skills’ can the AI chatbot ‘evolve’ from answering basic weather questions to comprehend and deliver on powerful requests, reaching an unmatched level of user (read consumer) behavioural understanding.
The process of understanding relies on a concoction of data, algorithmically processed, as it is extracted from the users’ previous consumption habits, social media likes, dislikes, preferred pricing tiers and the expressed preferences for certain products, in a given sector.
AI Chatbot – Fintech Catches Up Fast
But the AI chatbot technology doesn’t stop at sales assistants and online shopping activities. Banks and financial institutions are also investing in AI chatbot technology, seeking to provide their clientele with personalised services that make payments more comfortable, faster, and more convenient. For that, American Express, Capital One, and US Bank have developed their own custom ‘skills’ for Alexa, while Barclays, ICICI, ING and OCBC are working on similar skills but with the help of Siri.
Nevertheless, while the main reason to use AI chatbots as shopping personal assistants lies in the creation of faster and more convenient consumer shopping experiences, it remains to see how well such technology fares in the realm of the luxury consumer. While reducing the amount of typing and number of clicks with the help of the AI chatbot might appeal to the general consumer, little is know of how high demand consumers will react when human sales assistants will be replaced by robots powered by AI.
AI Chatbot – Omnichannel Or What?
But that does not stop developers to think that the AI chatbot is on the track to become the ideal sales assistant, as long as it is personalised to each consumer’s specific profile.
Moreover, AI experts insist that in the future, thanks to the chatbot technology brands will be able to deliver seamless omnichannel shopping experiences by allowing buyers to engage on one platform and finalise the transactions on another, all with the help of the same AI chatbot assistant.
What is your take on the AI chatbot of the future? Can the AI chatbot affect consumers’ purchasing behaviour and if yes, to what extent? What about luxury market, where human personal assistants are critical? Can the AI chatbot replace humans in the years to come? Would love to know your thoughts in the comments section below.