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How Generative AI is Transforming Americans’ Online Shopping Experience

Julia Lackey

How Generative AI is Transforming Americans’ Online Shopping Experience

A recent survey conducted by Ipsos and iAdvize revealed that American consumers want generative AI to enhance their online shopping experience. With the proliferation of e-commerce and the growing use of technology in everyday life, many consumers recognize that obtaining accurate product information and personalized shopping assistance to make informed purchasing decisions is possible with AI-enhanced customer solutions. Read on to explore more insights from this unique perception study, including how customers expect AI to show up in their journey and where it tends to fall short.

The Current State of the E-Commerce Customer Experience

Before exploring the perception of generative AI, it’s important to focus on the role e-commerce plays in the lives of Americans. As we know, the global health crisis intensified digitalization. E-commerce has greatly benefited from this, as highlighted by a recent report from Insider Intelligence, which states global e-commerce sales are expected to reach $6.3 trillion in 2023, representing 33% growth from expectations in 2020.

This leads us to questions like: What’s the current situation? What are the motivations that push consumers to continue buying online? Are they satisfied with this experience?

Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans shop online several times each month.

E-commerce is a favored purchasing channel for Americans, and the study cites convenience, access to a broader product selection, and competitive prices as the primary reasons for this popularity. 

40% of American people shop online every week, and this figure only increases for Millennials and Gen Z, consumers who’ve fully embraced e-commerce in their purchasing habits. In addition, online shopping attracts customers with strong purchasing power: 52% of consumers who make more than $100,000 per year report making an online purchase weekly.

46% of 18 to 34 year olds buy online every week

Despite these numbers, only 55% of respondents reported being very satisfied with the online shopping experiences they’re having with online retailers. The major reason for this lack of enthusiasm is the difficulty consumers encounter when searching for product information. 

Lack of Information: A Significant Barrier to Purchase

The study revealed that 50% of American consumers have abandoned their online purchases due to unclear or missing product information. This indicates a significant obstacle in the online shopping journey that needs to be addressed. In a world where convenience and variety are essential for consumers, the lack of accessible product details can be a major turn-off.

When you choose not to buy online why not? Graph

So, where might generative AI play a role in bridging this gap?

"Most consumers can relate to the frustration of finding product information on the internet. Why does it have to be so complicated? Here's the good news: e-commerce companies are using generative AI to simplify online shopping. With this technology, buying feels as easy as having a chat. Shoppers can make decisions more quickly and confidently."

– Mike de la Cruz, President of iAdvize

Embracing Generative AI in the Digital Shopping Journey

In the context of e-commerce, generative AI is seen as a promising way to enhance the online shopping experience. An impressive 74% of Americans express their interest in using generative AI to obtain detailed information on products they're interested in. The main concerns surrounding this then become whether the answers they receive will be high-quality (36%), data protection, and the reliability of the information the AI produces.

74% of Americans express their interest in using generative AI to obtain detailed information on products they're interested in

The study reveals that 52% of Americans have a positive opinion of generative AI, and this percentage jumps to 68% among consumers aged 18-34. And regardless, this technology is widely accessible and understood by most, with only 8% of respondents claiming to not know how it works.

Key Findings From The Study

AI Chatbot Performance Can Make or Break The Sale

Because of the constant influx of content and information online, the consumer attention span is fickle, and the expectations of instant, personalized interactions with their favorite brands only continues to increase. This means that the performance of AI chatbots on an e-commerce website play a crucial role in visitors’ purchasing decisions. 

When a bot is able to provide an accurate and helpful response, 65% of shoppers complete their online purchase. When the bot can’t answer a question or provide a detailed and intuitive response, 46% of shoppers abandon their purchase. This highlights the need for more advanced AI customer solutions to offer meaningful assistance so brands can save the sale.

E-commerce is already a major part of US customers’ consumption habits, particularly among those under 35. They consider the quality of customer relations an important factor in the purchasing process. So, how do consumers prefer to contact these brands? 

Messaging: The Most Used Way to Contact E-Commerce Websites

Messaging platforms have become an integral part of online shopping, with 90% of American consumers using them, including social commerce channels like live chat and social media. Chatbots, in particular, are gaining popularity, with 4 out of 5 American shoppers seeing the benefits of their 24/7 availability and time-saving capabilities.

When you buy a product/service online, how do you usually contact the brand?

However, it's worth noting that many potential customers are unaware of the full potential of chatbots in the pre-sales shopping experience. Only 21% believe that a chatbot can provide specific advice, relay detailed product information (19%), or serve as a source of inspiration for good ideas (9%). Fortunately, advances in generative AI are improving the ability of chatbots to provide personalized responses, enhancing their value as shopping assistants.

American Consumers Want Conversational AI Chatbots in Their Digital Customer Experience

The study conducted by iAdvize and Ipsos underscores the desire of American consumers to have generative AI play a more significant role in their online shopping experiences. As e-commerce continues to evolve, technology-driven customer solutions, like Trusted Generative AI for E-Commerce, are poised to reshape the way we shop, making it more convenient and informative than ever. As consumers become more tech savvy, the future of online shopping looks promising with the integration of advanced AI support.

Download the report

[Webinar Replay] American Consumer Sentiment on Generative AI in E-Commerce

What a detail rundown of the study results? Watch the replay of our exclusive webinar we hosted with Ipsos to walk you through the key findings.