Consumer Survey Reveals Where Americans Believe AI Holds the Most Value in Retail

As the retail industry increases the use and adoption of artificial intelligence at rapid speed, U.S. shoppers have taken note and congruently increased expectations for the shopping journey, according to consumer survey results from global retail technology partner, Intellias.

“There’s little doubt that the hype curve surrounding GenAI will continue to accelerate in 2024,” said Alexander Goncharuk, vice president of retail at Intellias. “And this will be driven both by the consumer who will become even more used to AI interfaces in their day-to-day lives, as well as by the retailers innovating and exploring different use cases that drive efficiencies and enhance customer experience across the value chain.”

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In its report, which included a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. shoppers, the company found that 33 percent of consumers — including 60 percent of Millennials and 49 percent of Gen Z — already use Generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, in their daily lives. Moreover, these consumers recognize when they encounter AI along the shopping journey and how retailers can leverage the technology’s capabilities for a better experience.

When prompted, consumers told Intellias that the area they see the most potential benefit for AI adoption in the shopping experience is to encourage pricing and promotion-sensitive shopping behavior (28 percent), which the authors of the report said mirrors the current cost-of-living pressures being felt across the world. Other key areas cited by survey respondents include loyalty, real-time personalized rewards (23 percent), product discovery when searching online (23 percent), product validation (19 percent) and product recommendations personalized by AI (19 percent).

However, not all consumers agreed and some said AI interaction had even created a negative experience. Nearly 20 percent of survey respondents report feeling that AI chatbots and virtual assistants proved the most disruptive AI application in their shopping experiences. Moreover, another 20 percent of consumers said that interacting with AI chatbots would be most likely to cause cart abandonment.

Coming across AI in their shopping experiences has also created some distrust for consumers. According to Intellias’ survey, 44 percent of consumers are mistrustful of brands and retailers using AI in their shopping experiences while 66 percent are concerned about how their data is used after an AI interaction. Sixty-five percent also shared concern that retailers and brands “hadn’t put in place sufficient compliance/data procedures when using AI.”

In contrast, 57 percent of consumers said they “didn’t mind retailers using AI in their buying journeys as long as they were transparent about it.” This sentiment rises to 66 percent from Millennials specifically.

Looking ahead, said Goncharuk “the key to delivering AI-powered value to the shopper will rely on transparency of use, and seamless and intuitive integration as part of the omnichannel shopping experience, as well as building out robust and secure compliance procedures in the back-end.”

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