Customers want personalisation and AI in their online experiences

Customers appreciate online retailers that offer personalised customer experiences, and they are generally welcoming to AI if it provides benefits such as relevant search and product recommendations.

That is according to IMRG’s latest research on ‘The Power of Personalisation and AI in Ecommerce’, supported by Adobe Commerce. The data is representative of 1000 respondents in the UK, aged 18-54+, who were asked their opinions and perspectives on personalisation and AI in ecommerce today. At a time when customer acquisition and loyalty are difficult, this study showcases the best ways for retailers to use personalisation and AI for growth.

A significant 61.7% of customers view personalised content as an important part of their customer experience and, including those who view it as somewhat important, 86.2% see its value. Not only this, 74.7% of customers 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.

“The research in partnership with IMRG shows that 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,” says Alex Shepherd, Sales Director UK/I at Adobe Commerce.

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 customers are growing used to hyper-personalised experiences, it is no wonder that automated live chats (32.8%) and virtual try-ons and augmented reality (32.6%) are also considered helpful among customers.

However, the research also points to 18% of customers who find personalisation and AI ‘a bit intrusive/creepy.’ – This is a good explanation for why most customers feel sceptical 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.

“The consistent thread that comes out of research such as this is that, generally speaking, 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,” says Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director at IMRG.

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