Technology is fundamentally changing the way we shop, and artificial intelligence will play an increasingly important role in this transformation.
The advent of e-commerce has reduced the need to physically go to a store to shop, but that's just the beginning. The future of retail is the conversational commerce, where AI is used to deliver personalized and more efficient customer service. Second a study of Juniper Research, AI-powered chatbots will handle 70% of customer interactions by the end of next year. And this will change the way we buy and sell goods and services.
The era of conversational commerce
Imagine walking into a store where computer-based virtual assistantsartificial intelligence they are ready to take care of you. Assistants able to understand exactly what you are looking for, to offer you personalized advice on your past purchases. Able to help you complete the transaction easily and efficiently. A total revolution in the shopping experience.
In recent years, conversational AI has become increasingly advanced and within the reach of consumers. The companies have agreed to pull out too loss-making projects (such as Amazon Alexa) to collect data and perfect the technology. Natural language processing and machine learning will make chatbots ever more sophisticated and able to improve the customer experience, increasing the return on investment for companies.
We are only at the beginning of an era in which AI is becoming more and more present in daily life and in commerce.
More experiences than things
Consumers are increasingly looking for unique and engaging experiences, and in-store is no longer the only option. This means there will be increased investment in contact centers and e-commerce to optimize these experiences with the help of artificial intelligence.
A purchasing model based on conversational commerce?
Instead of browsing different websites to search for the right product, customers will simply ask the chatbot (with voice assistant at home or on their smartphone) to show them appropriate options, saving time and reducing frustration.
Once you have identified the desired products, the customer will be able to add them to the cart directly via the chatbot, which will also provide information on availability, prices and shipping options.
Finally, at checkout the chatbot will securely store the customer's payment information and handle any problems such as incorrect billing or shipping addresses, providing personalized assistance. The entire purchasing process can be completed without having to navigate to multiple websites or speak to human customer service representatives, making for a faster and more seamless shopping experience.
New habits will overwrite the old ones
The use of conversational artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming mainstream (also thanks to the exploit of Chat GPT and similar). AI traders will be like friends who know us well, suggesting things that work for us.
And it is a transition that is taking place in a "natural" way, already today people spend 70% of their time online on messaging systems, and not on websites.
It will be like having a personal shopper assisting the end-to-end shopping experience as in department stores, but on a virtual scale.
Each stage of the conversation reveals more details about the customer's interest, allowing for deep personalization today impossible with current marketing tools (including the most advanced e-commerce, which can only be based on a few parameters such as purchase history or interactions with the user interface).
Talk to advertising
Imagine a future where advertisements become so interactive that consumers can "talk" to them.
This is exactly what AI-powered conversational commerce is going to bring. With this technology, retailers will be able to interact with consumers through messaging and offer them personalized offers, thus radically changing the way products are marketed and advertised.
Instead of simple passive ads, merchants will be able to design interactive ads that invite customers to inquire about specific products or explore interesting alternatives. The customer, in turn, will be able to easily "ask the advertiser" and complete the transaction without even having to leave the chat.
This means brands no longer have to guess about customer preferences – they can simply ask and personalize the offer in real time.
Conversational Commerce: What Comes Next?
Conversational commerce powered by AI will become the primary way to interact with brands.
Then? Let's imagine the next step. Retailers will increasingly look to advanced technological solutions, pushing natural language understanding and the ability to "pace" the customer to the maximum. The "conversational" merchant (shudder) will be able to speak to the customer by imitating in some way his tone, or his dialectal extraction, or quoting his idioms.
Companies will work to create chatbots with unique personalities, representative of their brand: they will be part mascot and part salesman.
A little further on, conversational artificial intelligence will combine with virtual reality technologies (or mixed) to offer immersive shopping experiences, always with a virtual assistant as a reference (perhaps with the look of a celebrity: imagine buying a perfume made with the testimonial appearing in the spot).
We will see this and more: the concept of shopping will be significantly enriched. It should be said: we'll talk about it.