Brits dismiss AI fears as long as they see the benefits

shopping 1UK consumers appear to be ditching their concerns about the rise of artificial intelligence, as long as it provides personalised customer experiences and benefits such as relevant product recommendations – and is not too “creepy”.

So says a new report from IMRG, “The Power of Personalisation and AI in Ecommerce’, in partnership with Adobe Commerce, based on a representative sample of 1,000 UK shoppers, aged 18 to 54-plus. At a time when customer acquisition and loyalty are proving difficult, the study claims to showcase the best ways for retailers to use personalisation and AI for growth.

Three-fifths (61.7%) of consumers view personalised content as an important part of their customer experience and, including those who view it as somewhat important, over four-fifths (86.2%) see its value.

Not only this, three-quarters (74.7%) are more loyal to brands that are strongly personalised to them and their interests. Most customers also revealed that it makes them trust the retailer more, it makes online shopping less overwhelming, and it makes them feel understood.

Personalised live search experiences are what customers (42%) favour, and many (35.7%) also like automated product recommendations to make their purchasing decisions easier.

As technology develops and consumers are growing more accustomed to hyper-personalised experiences, automated live chats (32.8%) and virtual try-ons and augmented reality (32.6%) are also considered helpful among customers, the study shows.

However, the research also points to 18% of customers who find personalisation and AI “a bit creepy”, with scepticism about online retail chatbots becoming as advanced as Chat GPT. Also, 50.6% of customers are uncomfortable with their gadgets listening to their voice or conversations to make product recommendations.

Adobe Commerce sales director UK/I Alex Shepherd said: “Today’s consumer has really high expectations for every experience, brand, and channel. They expect us to know their needs and to deliver highly relevant experiences in real-time.

“In the past, it has been difficult to deliver this level of personalisation, but today, AI allows retailers to do more with less, providing their customers with a personalised and differentiated experience with fewer resources.”

IMRG strategy and insight director Andy Mulcahy added: “How comfortable people are with AI correlates with the extent to which it enhances the quality of the experience they get.

“It follows, then, that the anxieties that people may have over how sophisticated and potentially intrusive technology is becoming can be managed by really focusing on the benefits it brings to them and by avoiding the trap of ‘doing AI’ for the sake of it, which many businesses seem sure to fall into.”

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