How open are consumers to AI-driven shopping?
According to a study from The Integer Group, 78 percent of U.S. consumers feel “curious” about using artificial intelligence (AI) technology to shop, but 66 percent also said they were “cautious” about using it, as well.
One reason for the caution is the perceived threat to privacy. Asked to rank their top three concerns (from a list of seven) when it comes to AI in the future, 71 percent pointed to the protection of their personal information as being among their top three. That includes 41 percent who ranked it as their top concern, easily ahead of all other issues.
Only about half (52 percent) were open to sharing their past shopping history to power AI. That drops to about 25 percent for those willing to share social media page and profile information and slightly lower for sharing personal information (age, household income, etc.).
Integer Group wrote in the report, “It seems shoppers are inflexible or don’t realize that data fuels AI.”
Indeed, the report found many consumers remain confused about what AI is. The majority didn’t know online suggestions, search engine results and customized online ads were influenced by AI. Integer noted that, despite the privacy concerns, customers have widely accepted Google’s use of passive data collection for online browsing.
Beyond cost and accessibility, other primary concerns about using AI for shopping included its usefulness and effectiveness.
The study, for instance, found that respondents using virtual assistants such as Alexa and Siri only used them for a handful of simple tasks, like playing music or answering cooking questions. Using AI for tasks such as picking out clothing, automatically ordering dinner or purchasing groceries were seen to be “more of a hassle than a benefit.”
For mainstream shoppers, the study points to an opportunity to improve adoption by using AI to assist with the tasks seen as least enjoyable, such as shopping for everyday household items.
“However,” wrote Integer in the study, “the actual shopping decisions respondents said AI could do for them were quite personal and distinct. For instance, a shopper might say she would like AI to choose her produce, but not her shampoo.”
- Embracing The Machines Part 1 – The Integer Group
- Shoppers’ Biggest Concern With AI? Their Personal Info – MarketingCharts
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should retailers and brands focus most on privacy concerns, usefulness or effectiveness in efforts to spur mainstream adoption of AI for shopping? What conclusions do you draw from the findings that consumers are only using virtual assistants for simple commands?