Shopping up a virtual storm
AI is going to change the way we shop forever
BY 2020, THREE OUT OF EVERY FOUR OF YOUR CONSUMER INTERACTIONS will not be face to face with another human. Instead, the majority of your shopping will be self-service – using chatbots and VR – according to new research by computer technology company Oracle.
The Oracle report, “Can virtual experiences replace reality?” polled 800 senior marketing and sales professionals in France, the Netherlands, South Africa and the UK. Undertaken with Coleman Parkes Research, it targeted the areas of manufacturing and high-tech, online retail and telecommunications.
It revealed how the use of emerging technologies is set to surge by 2020. Seventy-seven percent of brands expect to provide customer experiences through virtual reality in the next four years, while 79 percent expect to serve customers through chatbots.
It comes as no surprise, given our increasing preference for online and mobile commerce. In response, companies are moving further away from reallife, human interactions into an age of advanced self-service. However, the report also shows that many brands still struggle to manage one of the most fundamental channels for digital consumer activity – social media – indicating that they may be trying to run before they can walk by investing in even more advanced data-centric technologies.
Shopper, serve thyself In South Africa, by 2020, 77 per cent of brands expect to be providing customer experiences through virtual reality and 79 per cent will be serving customers through chatbots (30 percent have done so already). A significant proportion of sales and marketing leaders admit that digital and mobile technologies have caused the greatest change to how their customers and prospects interact with them. Most notably, 40 percent of brands agree that people now do more research on their own before making a purchase. In fact, more than one in three brands say customers and prospects prefer to complete a purchase or resolve service issues without speaking to a human associate, if possible. Even more say customers want to initiate sales discussions themselves rather than be approached by a brand, regardless of how
“More than one in three brands say customers and prospects prefer to complete a purchase or resolve service issues without speaking to a human associate, if possible”