SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced that the number of UK consumers who will consider using their in-home assistant for Christmas shopping this year has doubled since 2016.
Nearly a third of UK shoppers who own an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered smart device are planning to use them to purchase gifts and other Christmas purchases (20%) as well as to research bargains (11%). For the majority of this new breed of shopper, convenience and speed (29%) and the search for deals (12%) inform the decision to rely on in-home assistants.
With an estimated 2.7 million UK homes (Kantar WorldPanel) already owning voice-enabled devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple Home Pod, the SAP commissioned research of 1000 UK consumers sets out to define consumer attitudes to AI-powered smart devices for Christmas shopping.
Shift in attitudes to AI-enabled devices
As sales of devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Sonos continue to rise, the survey found that 31% of consumers today, trust AI-enabled technology to help make important decisions like gift research and purchases during the busy, expensive Christmas season - compared to just 15%, 12 months ago. The speed of last minute purchases, honing in on the best deals and the convenience these devices offer were all cited as major incentives for commerce activity.
“Our research demonstrates a notable shift in the awareness of the benefits that Artificial Intelligence brings to the more traditional shopping experience,” said John Heald, global vice president of market development for SAP Hybris solutions at SAP. “Consumers now expect their needs to be anticipated at every step of the shopping journey and brands are now able to meet these demands, providing insight at the moments that matter. The ever-evolving sophistication of voice-enabled assistants brings hands-free convenience that delivers richer, frictionless, customer experiences all powered by data-led insight.”
Trust is key to AI adoption
The survey also revealed that for the majority of sceptical or inactive owners of in-home assistants, the primary reason to not use their device during the Christmas season is a basic lack of trust.
The findings point to trust-based barriers that occur at a number of points in the buyer journey:
• Respondents felt that their device did not know them well enough to be trusted to make a purchase recommendation for themselves or others (68%)
• Concern at not being able to determine the visual quality of the purchase they wanted to make (19%) - while this is a typical concern for online shopping, clearly regardless of the technology, consumers continue to seek reassurance on the buyer journey
• The assumption that the device needed too much guidance to help make purchase decisions (16%) - consumers expect a responsive, personalised and frictionless shopping experience
Heald added: “Despite the many advantages of AI-powered shopping assistants, it’s clear that there remain barriers to UK customers’ uptake of the technology. Businesses must continue to think beyond the technology and focus on building consumer trust, to bridge the gap between intent, voice-activated search and purchase. Our research highlights the need for businesses to keep these barriers front of mind when devising their omni-channel strategy.”
SAP® Hybris® solutions are being developed with a commitment to furthering AI and machine learning (ML) innovation and helping organisations overcome barriers to adoption. A ML co-innovation program has been launched with the goal of partnering with customers to embed new capabilities into SAP Hybris Sales Cloud and SAP Hybris Service Cloud solutions. Additionally, SAP Hybris solutions offer components or features with embedded ML today, including advanced personalisation, contextual merchandising, customer experience, shopping assistant bot, best product, best offer, best channel, best sending time, best audience, affinity scoring, sentiment analysis, imaging intelligence, service ticket text analysis, and customer service bot.