A global study conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value has shed light on the growing interest among retail consumers in incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into their shopping experiences. The report, titled ‘Revolutionize retail with AI everywhere: Customers won’t wait,’ highlights the significant gap between consumer expectations and the current state of retail affairs, emphasizing the need for retailers to adapt to evolving consumer demands.
Consumer desire for AI integration
According to the IBM study, nearly 60% of retail consumers expressed a desire to have integrated AI applications while shopping. Furthermore, the report revealed that four out of five consumers who have not yet used AI for shopping are interested in trying it, indicating a substantial appetite for AI-driven solutions.
Among the AI enhancements sought by consumers, virtual assistants and AI applications were the most popular choices, with 55% and 59% of respondents expressing interest in them, respectively. These findings underscore the consumer preference for technology-driven solutions that can enhance the overall shopping experience.
Retailer dissatisfaction with current shopping experiences
IBM’s report also highlights the dissatisfaction of consumers with traditional shopping experiences. Only 9% of consumers reported satisfaction with in-store experiences, while just 14% expressed contentment with online shopping. This stark contrast between consumer expectations and reality calls for retailers to reassess their strategies to meet evolving consumer demands effectively.
AI as a solution
Amidst growing discontent with traditional shopping experiences, AI emerges as a primary solution. Over half of the surveyed consumers are eager for AI enhancements, suggesting that technology can play a pivotal role in revolutionizing the retail industry.
Economic uncertainties influence shopping behavior
Economic uncertainties, particularly the impact of inflation, have a significant influence on consumer behavior. A notable 62% of respondents acknowledged that inflation has affected how they shop, with price being the top reason (62%) for consumers considering switching between stores or brands.
Challenges in the in-store experience
Despite the preference of 73% of consumers for in-store shopping, the actual experience falls short of expectations. Only 9% express satisfaction, revealing a clear discrepancy between consumer preference and the reality of in-store shopping. Desired improvements include a more extensive product variety, better product information, and faster checkout processes, emphasizing the urgent need for retailers to enhance in-store offerings to align with consumer expectations.
Consumer preference for AI-enhanced shopping
The IBM study indicates that consumers who desire change express a strong interest in utilizing AI technology to enhance their shopping experiences. While 59% are willing to use AI applications while shopping, personalization and targeted offerings also take center stage, with 52% expressing interest in receiving information, advertisements, and offerings tailored to their specific interests.
Misalignment between offerings and expectations
However, there is a noticeable mismatch between current AI offerings and consumer expectations. Only about one-third of virtual assistant users reported satisfaction, while nearly 20% expressed disappointment to the extent of avoiding such technologies altogether. This highlights the need for aligning technological advancements with genuine consumer needs and expectations.
A call to action for retailers
In light of these challenges and opportunities, the IBM study serves as more than just a diagnostic tool; it is a call to action for retailers. The report urges retailers to innovate and integrate advanced technologies, particularly AI, into both digital and physical shopping experiences. The actionable strategies outlined in the study provide a roadmap for retailers looking to navigate this evolving landscape and meet the changing demands of today’s discerning consumers.
As consumer demand for AI integration in the shopping journey continues to surge, retailers must recognize the need to adapt and innovate to meet evolving expectations. The IBM Institute for Business Value’s global study highlights the pressing importance of incorporating AI technology to enhance the overall shopping experience. Economic uncertainties and dissatisfaction with current shopping experiences further underscore the urgency for retailers to align their strategies with consumer demands. In the face of these challenges and opportunities, retailers are encouraged to embrace AI and advanced technologies to remain competitive in the ever-evolving retail landscape.